Powering a modern autonomous house
Living off-grid essentially means living independently without being reliant on public utilities including the electrical grid, water, gas, and sewer systems. At iOhouse we have created an autonomous dwelling called the Space, that works autonomously – it has its own power station, that is a base for everything in the house to work from cooling, and heating to IT systems. To guarantee the best living experience in Space, there has to be a permanent power regardless of the weather.
HOW TO ENSURE CONTINUOUS ELECTRICAL CONNECTION
There are 3 main components to ensure this- Solar panels, a battery bank, and a generator– they all have to work together and are controlled by a computer. We call it our mini power station, and its central computer system is the most important component of it. Successful cooperation between different parts of the power station guarantees electricity supply 24/7. If it’s night, the house runs from the battery bank. If there is no sun at all, e.g. in wintertime, or if the homeowner has used all the power before dark, the generator will start to work automatically to charge the batteries again. All this works seamlessly and in the background. The owner can monitor the process from his/her mobile phone or computer through our smart house system app. To build the power station, every homeowner needs to know their house’s energy consumption in kW per day. At IOhouse, we have the best professionals working, who can calculate the energy consumption of each house, based on the information given by a customer. According to this information, we modify the power station settings for an off-grid house. There is no so-called rule of thumb – how big and powerful the power plant should be, depends on the person and their energy consumption, e.g. living habits.
IS SOLAR POWER FOR FREE?
It is and at the same time, it isn’t. Building a personal power station costs money, but also gives independence. After a personal power station has been built, solar power is for free. People who live in sunny areas can rely on solar power 100% all year round. It is possible to check the intensity and productivity of solar power for example from Global Solar Atlas.
However, if You´d like to build a solar system in the Nordic countries, where there is very little sun in winter, You must add a generator to the power plant, or even better, if possible – an external power supply with a cable. This would assure You have the power constantly all year round.
To sum up. Your own power station gives You independence, a reduction in the cost of energy, and your carbon footprint. There are options available for you to generate and store electricity that can later be used to power your appliances and everything in the house (all the utilities) while you are living off-grid. Solar panels, battery bank, generator, central computer – all this must fit together and work according to the nature of the family’s consumption.