Off-Grid System in Aberdeen

The beginning

Instant system!

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This is how it started out. A PV (photovoltaic) panel propped on a chair (picture 1), charging a battery underneath (picture 2)!

In June 2016, we went off grid. In a flat in the middle of Aberdeen in Scotland. Disconnecting the mains electricity supply and starting to generate all our own electricity in the back garden. We had to do so in a bit of a hurry, due to a long-running dispute with our energy supplier, which had just come to a head.

What you see in the pictures is essentially Off-Grid-System (OGS) mark 1. A solar PV module propped on an old plastic chair that we found in one of the sheds that went with the flat when we moved in years earlier. The module is charging a deep cycle (leisure) battery via a small PWM charge controller sitting on the top. Needless to say, this is not the safest of systems and is not to be encouraged! But we had half a freezer full of food that we didn't want to waste!

You are probably wondering how the electricity got from that battery to the freezer. Well, that involved carrying the battery into an outbuilding at the end of every day, and carrying the discharged one from the previous day out to the lawn to charge up, the following morning. We carried on like this for several weeks while working on OGS mark 2. Deep cycle batteries have much thicker lead plates than regular car starting batteries, and believe me, these things are heavy!

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