As we get our first taste of winter-like weather conditions for 2018, it’s a good time for off-grid system owners and operators to prepare and be aware of the expected system operation over this period.
As the daylight solar hours shorten and the weather conditions deteriorate, you will have less solar power available to directly power loads and charge your battery bank. This has a number of implications to be mindful of:
- Heavier battery cycling; as you use more of its capacity at night time
- Greater demand and reliance on your generator; as low battery trigger points are likely to be hit more often.
- Less frequent full charges via solar power; leading to the need for special maintenance charges via the generator.
The most common cause of trouble for off-grid systems is the fuel-powered generator (if you have one), so please give it special attention before winter sets in. We recommend:
- Completing a comprehensive service before winter (Changing oil, filters, checks, etc).
- Ensure there is a ready supply of fuel, and the generator fuel tank is regularly checked.
- Ensuring the generator is syncing and connecting successfully with the inverter charger.
- For Auto-Start generators: Checking the auto-start feature is working by testing via the inverter charger.
For added peace of mind, please make sure that you are prepared in case of an unlikely power outage. This should include having a power action plan in place, knowing how to reboot your system correctly and safely, and how to get temporary power directly from your generator if all else fails.