Going off grid

In light of the imminent nonsense in regards to PV installations, I am seriously considering going off the grid completely instead of getting entangled in all the paperwork and bureaucracy not to mention the unnecessary cost associated with staying on the grid.

This is my current consumption on the VRM portal.

As you can see, I am very close to being off grid already. I am busy investigating the best solution for the roughly 30 to 50kWh a month that I currently use from the grid.

I would consider installing another PV string or PylonTech but that wont help much on the odd cloudy day.

Alternatively I already have a LPG gas geyser and a gas hob installed so I am very interested in plumbing in a gas generator for those odd cloudy and rainy days.

Does anyone have experience with the gas generators or any thoughts on how else to generate the extra power I need at times?

I’ve just been thinking exactly that… My solution would be to buy a small 3kva generator to use for cloudy days… more than enough amps to partially charge a battery bank if needed. And add another battery or 2!

Very interested in the feedback you receive, as I am in a similar situation.

I have enough batteries to last me through the night, in summer.
Wintertime or with cloudy weather, I may draw a little bit from the grid, which I would like to eliminate altogether.

When going off-grid, I’d assume that the bigger problem isn’t the total consumption from the grid, but rather your peak consumption over a few minutes. You’ll need to closely monitor things like hairdryers, tumbledryers, things that make heat.

This is really easy if it is only you in the house, but add another person or two, things start to get less easy to predict…

For example, if I’m to go off-grid, I’d need a 10kVA inverter to be safe. My 5kVA would trip every now and then when my wife gets going full steam in the kitchen. And with a baby, it is difficult to tell her to be “less efficient” by first waiting for the kettle to finish boiling before using the microwave before using the oven, etc…

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Those problems are manageable, the biggest one with off-grid, is bad weather days/week …

Financially going off grid just does not add up.

Also I don’t think you should jump the gun on this from the rumor mills. It takes a long time to implements changes, if they get it approved, and if everyone complies (just think e tolls… ).

Manageable if you can manage everyone in your household… Personally, I think I’ll struggle…

The bad weather - Again, personally I’ll just live very austere for a few days. Shower cold, don’t do washing etc. Even on rainy days I have had enough (this far) for my batteries and electronics. But getting my wife to do it… I’d rather not try.


SWAMBO - Wife and I came to this conclusion:
Happy Husband Happy Wife … Happy Wife Happy Life.

So get to work on that. :laughing:

Also following this with interest. I know I’ll manage to go off grid now with my small system and permanently camp at home.

I alone that is. Hairdryers and hair straightners is where the problem lies…

I have a 2 Kva generator which will assist the batteries during clouded and rainy days and then will only be used to power the fridges, internet, lights and a TV.

Cooking is on gas and we have gas showers as well. Use them like you would camping in the bundus in terms of water and gas usage, and they will take you far pound wise.

I would love to do this, but the whole family needs to be onboard, else its not gonna happen.

In my mind, one should look at “demand side” management as well as “supply side” management.

One thought comes to mind is to use smart switches to automatically switch off devices when loads get high – especially ones that you know can push it over the edge. For example, have a smart plug on the kettle, hair blower, toaster, microwave, swimming pool pump, aircon etc.

If the load is already high, then switch off those plugs before they are turned on. It will take a bit logic (e.g. if the kettle is on then switch off the rest but only if it isn’t in use already) but should be doable me thinks. Of course, you can switch the kettle plug back on again after the load falls again.

This does assume that the devices stay plugged into the smart-plug, or you should put it behind the wall-sockets.

I don’t do quite this on my system, but I do manage demand when my batteries start getting really low (by switching off non-essential devices like my barfridge, microwave, washing machine and finally fridges/freezers.

The plugs are cheap anough these days – cheaper than a second inverter. Then again, it might just be too much hassle!

I do have limited experience on them, they work well and I like them, I wanted to quote on them a while back, but after talking to a few guys who have them I decided not to. The only thing that they complain about is the fact that they really struggle to find someone capable of servicing / repairing them. Spares with the one make was also hard to find. If I look at the hassle some people have to go through to get a gas geyser fixed or serviced, I can relate to the complaint of the gas generator owners.

At that time, I could not find a company that claim they can fix them and even the supplier I received the quotes from could not point me to a registered/affiliated repair/service center.

Thankfully my wife is used to not using more than one heavy appliance at a time as we have had solar for more than five years now. Also, the heavy appliances have sonoff smart switches on all controlled by my home assistant installation so they switch off automatically should someone forget.

I have no intention of rushing into finding an eskom replacement but half the fun is doing the research. I also prefer to have a clear plan well before the muck hits the fan.

Thanks @JacoDeJongh I have also considered the maintenance and I see there are conversion kits available to convert a petrol generator carb to LPG. That would be much cheaper if more difficult to source.