The serenity and beauty of nature are immeasurable, so it’s no wonder that we do our best to go camping in many of Australia’s natural parks or caravanning spaces across the country. Personally, I’d like to see every notable landmark and place. But the activities of camping and caravanning aren’t just leisure. There’s a lot of hard work and preparation in terms of thorough planning and getting the right equipment. One absolute necessity is electricity. For all your appliances to function, you can’t go without it.
Now, while there might be many options to how you can do this, there’s one option that people commonly overlook. Its efficiency is undeniable as it’s spread everywhere. The alternative option is the power of solar energy. And you might think of solar energy as those huge, bulky panels that look immovable. However, that is not the case anymore. There are optimised off grid solar kit solutions that you can put on your vehicle and produce electricity on the go. But what exactly are these kits, and what do they include?
Parts and Technicalities
While solar power might be strongly efficient for many purposes, the process of buying the right system is not simple. Before I go into any of the technical details and the nature of each part, the first thing to do is estimate your power needs. After all, you don’t want to overproduce or underproduce. Your goal should be to be more or less exact with your choice of an off grid solar system kit.
Watts and Appliances
For example, one TV needs about 120 Watts, while fans need 80. But, to be on the safe side, it’s best if you measure in kiloWatts. If you plan on bringing along lights, phones, a fridge and a TV, even <1kW might be enough. With up to 2kW, you can already be sure that you can power every luxury appliance possible. As you go up to 4kW or even 8kW, you’ll be well-equipped to have an efficient home with enough power to survive for a long time. But, most off grid kits produce 1kW, as that is enough.
A vital and recognisable part of any solar off grid kit is, of course, the solar panels. They are an integral part of any system as they convert the sun’s light to electricity. But not all solar panels are the same, and they do require controlled motion and angle to absorb the sun well. Panels can be made out of two types of material. One is photovoltaic (PV for short), and the other is crystalline with the distinction of mono and polycrystalline types. Out of all of these, mono-crystalline panels are the most expensive, but they’re also the most efficient. If you want to have a guarantee that you never run out of power, they’re your best choice. Furthermore, if you want more power, you can get more solar panels.
The solar panels only produce DC power, which isn’t usable by most of your equipment and appliances. If you want it to be usable, you need a solar inverter to change the DC current that panels produce to an AC one. This inverter then stores the electricity into solar batteries.
Solar Batteries and Solar Charge Controllers
As the off-grid system isn’t directly connected to the electricity grid, it requires battery storage. The need for this part is simple, it stores the unused electricity for later use. This is especially helpful if there’s no sunny day or when you need electricity during night-time. That said, you should make sure that the one you get also has a battery monitor that can display information like current in and out, battery voltage, etc.
On the other hand, solar charge controllers are in charge of controlling the flow of electricity from the panels to the battery. It allows you to control the voltage of the panel’s cells, therefore ensuring that the batteries don’t overload. If you use them well, they can bring many benefits like reducing system maintenance and longer battery life.
There are many long-term and short-term advantages that come with this type of off grid solar system kit. Let’s go into some of the more important ones.
The most important benefit is that you’ll be completely energy-independent. You won’t have to depend on a utility company or having to find a place to stay with a built-in electrical grid. You’ll produce your own power for everything you need. This benefit, in turn, leads to other benefits, such as:
While the installation process and buying the equipment might be an investment, it’s a worthwhile one. You’ll be saving money in the long-term as you won’t have to pay any bills to the electricity companies or grids you use at camping sites. Instead of worrying about how much they’ll charge you, you’ll be producing your own power free of charge.
Probably the biggest reason to get an off grid kit is the guarantee of always having electricity. Instead of worrying about getting stuck without power in the wilderness or somewhere you’re camping, you can rest assured you’ll always have reliable solar energy. This can be a great help in both the hotter and the colder seasons. When it’s warm, you won’t have to worry about all the things you keep in your fridge or that you’ll get a heatstroke. And when it’s cold, it can keep you warm for hours until you get help.
Clean and Green
The final benefit is that it’s better for the environment. If you want to contribute to preserving the planet, renewable energy does just that. You’ll be off fossil fuels, and as such, you’ll minimise the damage to the environment. If you enjoy the many natural sights of our country, why not also try to preserve them in the process?