Generating renewable energy off-grid

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Renewable Energy Off Grid

Increased dependence on the grid over the years to provide people, houses, and other infrastructure with an uninterrupted electricity supply has put it under a lot of strain.

With advanced technologies and more awareness when it comes to conserving the environment, the world is now shifting to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy to provide electricity to the masses.

The UK has one of the most ambitious climate change targets to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 and eventually reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

On the way to reach those targets, the UK government has put more focus on clean energy, with most of the energy supplied to you by the grid probably coming from solar panels or wind turbines.

If you are someone who wishes to reduce their carbon emissions and are thinking about generating your own renewable energy, you must have wondered about living off-grid.

Living off-grid means functioning independently and not relying on power utilities to provide you with basic amenities such as electricity, water, and gas.

When talking about generating renewable electricity off-grid, it refers to using wind, water, or solar power to generate electricity to power a property.

You can either live fully or partially off-grid depending on where you are and the level of energy consumption you have.

This way of life appeals to people who care about the environment, wish to be self-sufficient, and want to save on energy bills.

Read on to find out all about generating renewable energy off-grid and what to do to get the most out of it:


Renewable energy is energy generated using natural resources such as the sun and wind, all of which are 100% clean and naturally replenished.

It is also often referred to as clean or green energy since the process of generating energy from them emits no, or hardly any, greenhouse gases, as opposed to using fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas that release toxins into the air.

Switching from traditional energy sources to cleaner and greener alternatives is a key step in combating climate change to ensure clean air for us and our future generations.

Two of the most common renewable energy sources in the UK are sun and wind energy, both of which are plenty.

If you wish to generate renewable energy off-grid you can either install solar panels or wind turbines on your property, depending on what your area receives adequate of.

Solar power

This refers to using the sun to generate electricity for your home or business premises through solar PV (photovoltaic) panels that are installed on the roof.

These panels take the sun’s rays and convert them into electricity that you can use to power your property and its appliances and devices.

Generating your own renewable energy off-grid allows you to improve your home’s sustainability, helps you become independent of the grid, and cuts down on your electricity bills.

One drawback of solar panels is that they only generate electricity during the day when the sun is shining. It doesn’t have to be very sunny for the system to work, although it does produce more power on sunnier days.

Wind energy

When it comes to wind energy, the UK is Europe’s windiest country with approximately 40% of all the wind energy blowing over it. This gives it an edge in using and harnessing wind energy to produce clean and green energy.

It has a few of the biggest wind farms in the world and is in the final phases of completing the world’s biggest one yet.

However, as is usually perceived, wind turbines are not just for commercial use in big wind farms in wide-open spaces. They are just as common for homes and business premises either as roof-mounted or standalone systems.

They generate electricity by using wind energy to turn the blades on the wind turbines to create electricity.

Similar to solar panels that are dependent on sunlight, wind turbines are dependent on the wind and are unable to produce enough energy when there is no wind.


If you wish to generate renewable energy and to not rely on the grid even at times when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing, you must install battery storage systems.

What are battery storage systems? These are devices that store energy for later use and are the heart of most off-grid systems.

When used in conjunction with solar panels or wind turbines, they can store the excess energy produced during the day or when it is windy to be used at the night or whenever you need it.

Battery storage systems help you store the clean and green energy produced by renewable energy sources so that you don’t have to rely on the grid to step in.

What’s great about these systems is that in addition to being completely independent and 100% off-grid, you can make money by selling the clean energy stored in these batteries to the grid as part of the Government’s Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).


There are 3 types of battery storage systems: DC (direct current), AC (alternating current), and hybrid battery systems. Let’s look at each one in detail:

DC battery systems

DC (direct current) batteries are directly connected to solar panels or wind turbines and do not require an inverter in between.

They are cost-effective and easy to install into existing systems, and they save on unnecessary conversions by storing the power in the batteries before it is converted into AC.

While this makes the system more efficient, it makes charging and discharging less efficient and could affect your feed-in tariffs.

The downside of these batteries is that, if you are partially off-grid, they can’t draw power from the grid to charge and can’t be configured to provide electricity in the event of a power outage.

AC battery systems

AC (alternating current) batteries are the most common battery storage system that, instead of being directly connected to the solar panels or wind turbines, are connected to an inverter that converts the electricity being generated into AC so that it can be used by the appliances in your property.

For partial off-grid systems, AC batteries can draw power directly from the grid and can also be used as a backup system in the event of a power outage. They are, however, more expensive than DC-coupled batteries.

Hybrid battery systems

Hybrid batteries are DC and AC coupled solutions providing the best of both worlds where you can store power in the battery before it is converted into AC, do so during cheaper times, and also use them as a backup power source during power outages.

Hybrid battery systems are a great fit for both residential and commercial properties and are becoming more popular as people are getting more aware of the technology.


If you wish to be completely off-grid and save the excess energy produced by your solar panels or wind turbines, you need to invest in a good battery storage system that will guarantee uninterrupted electricity supply even at times when the energy isn’t being generated.

Since these systems do not come cheap, you must choose the best battery storage system for your property. Here are a few important considerations to help you choose the right one:

The capacity of the battery

A battery’s capacity is measured in terms of its total capacity and its usable capacity, both of which are measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

The total capacity is the total amount of energy the battery can store, whereas the usable capacity is the amount of capacity that can be used since a battery should never be discharged completely.

The higher the capacity, the more energy it can store, and the more energy you can use to run your house or business.

The power output of the battery

The power output, measured in kilowatts (kW) is the amount of energy you can draw from the battery. This is a very important feature and must not be confused with capacity.

The capacity is how much energy the battery can hold whereas the power output refers to how much energy you can take out at a given time.

For instance, if your battery storage system has a large capacity but its power output rate is low, it may not be powerful enough to run your appliances.

Cost of the battery

In addition to the initial cost of the battery storage system, you need to consider the installation costs as well as the potential savings you could be making on your electricity bills.

The typical cost of a battery is at least £2000, plus installation, and if your solar panel or wind turbine system isn’t big enough to generate enough electricity to store the excess into the battery and make it worthwhile, there’s no point in investing in one.

Make sure you have all of this figured out because if used efficiently and chosen smartly, a battery storage system will be a long-term investment that will last you around 5 to 15 years depending on the type of battery and your use.

The lifespan of the battery

The lifespan of the battery refers to how long it will last and is a very important aspect when investing in one.

There is no point in investing in a battery storage system that will start underperforming after only a few months or years.

Cycles are the number of times a battery can be fully recharged from empty. The higher the number of cycles, the longer the battery storage can perform efficiently.

It is usually recommended to look for one with over 5000 cycles or one that will perform efficiently for at least 10 years.

Chemistry of the battery

There are several types of batteries available in the market, out of which two of the most common ones are lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are usually considered to be the better option since they are more efficient than lead-acid batteries while being only one-third of their weight.

They also have a longer life cycle and are generally cleaner and safer for the environment. Though they have a higher upfront cost than lead-acid batteries, their lifespan and performance make up for it and pays back in the long run.


When setting up an off-grid renewable energy system, one of the first steps is to minimise your energy consumption since you are relying solely on energy produced by your solar panels and wind turbines and of course, the excess energy stored in the batteries.

To reduce your energy consumption, you need to make a few lifestyle adjustments and try to be as energy-efficient as possible.

Here are a few ways you can minimise your energy use:

Switching off appliances when not in use

You’d be surprised at how much energy you can save by doing something as basic as switching off your appliances when not in use.

People have a habit of leaving their electrical appliances on, especially in the workplace. On average, offices waste £6,000 every year by leaving appliances on during the night and on the weekends and bank holidays.

If every office gets into the habit of switching the equipment off when it is not in use, businesses could easily save up to 20% of their energy costs.

Whether it is a residential property or a business premises, you need to make sure to not leave electrical appliances on unnecessarily and when not in use.

Switching to LED lights

Upgrading from traditional bulbs to LED lighting can help homes and businesses become more energy-efficient and save around 80% on their electricity bills. For people looking to go off-grid and generating their own renewable energy, switching to LED bulbs must be one of the first steps.

In addition to being considerably cheaper than conventional light bulbs, LED (Light-Emitting Diode) bulbs are also more durable and last much longer.

They have a low operating temperature that not only keeps them from heating up but also influences the ambient temperature.

Installing smart meters and smart heating controls

Smart meters and smart heating controls help you keep a close eye on your energy consumption and help you become more energy-efficient for generating energy off-grid.

They help you monitor your energy usage and consumption and help you assess which practices are having the most impact and whether you should refine your approach for better results.

Smart heating controls can make use of motion sensors and detectors to pick up when people are around and adjust the settings accordingly.

Many systems also have a learning feature that, in combination with the motion sensors, can be trained to know when people are present and when the heating needs to be turned on or off.

Carrying out regular electrical inspections

Having your electrical wiring and installations inspected is one of the most important parts of being energy-efficient since they help identify faults that may lead to unnecessary energy wastage.

You may do certain checks yourself and, for a detailed and thorough inspection, you may bring in a professional to carry it out around the property.

Faulty wiring and problematic electrical installations cause electricity leakage which means that there is power flowing towards your property but it isn’t fully reaching your electronics, resulting in you consuming more electricity than you actually need.

In addition to that, damaged wiring, fixtures, and outlets may cause appliances to heat up, causing the energy consumption to unnecessarily go up even more.

It is recommended in the wiring regulations BS 7671 that a domestic property must be regularly inspected and tested every 5 to 10 years, or if you are buying/selling the property.

Similarly, the Electricity of Work Act 1989 states that as a business or commercial space, you must carry out electrical inspections at regular intervals, which can range from 3 to 5 years.

For rented properties, an electrical inspection must be carried out every 5 years or whenever there is a change in occupancy, and a Landlords Safety Certificate must be issued.

For appliances that are not part of the fixed wiring and do not fall under the electrical testing of the premises, a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) must be carried out between 3 to 12 months depending on the type and use of the appliances.


Calder Electrical provides a comprehensive range of solutions from battery storage systems to other energy-saving services such as LED installation and upgrades, smart heating controls, and electrical inspections and testing.

We have experienced and fully qualified electrical engineers on hand to deliver a professional and high-quality service that is fully insured and certified, for both your residential and commercial properties.

Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 3001 to talk to our experts right away!

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