Off-grid energy systems present a great opportunity for self-sufficient generation, storage and consumption of renewable energy, particularly in remote areas.
An off-grid project is defined as one requiring a power supply of more than 10 kW that is not connected to one of Australia’s large-scale electricity grids: the National Electricity Market, the South West Interconnected System or the North West Interconnected System.
Off-grid energy systems generate electricity for homes, businesses, communities and towns. They can be standalone or mini-grids.
Standalone systems usually generate electricity from solar photovoltaic panels, wind turbines or diesel generators and store it using battery or fuel cell technology. Mini-grids, also called micro-grids, comprise a set of electricity generators and may include energy storage systems connected to a distribution network. The energy is provided to a local group of consumers.
Off-grid energy systems enable households, businesses, communities and towns to become self-sufficient. They are particularly valuable in remote areas where establishing a mini-grid may be cheaper than connecting to a large-scale grid.
In South Australia, most off-grid power is provided by diesel generators. However, the high costs of diesel fuel and transportation are making renewable energy options appealing. The South Australian Government supports off-grid renewable energy systems in areas such as Coober Pedy and the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, and at remote mine sites.
For further information about off-grid renewables, including opportunities for investors or project developers, visit the Clean Energy Council.