Off-Grid Solar Systems We Had Experience Installing in the Ballarat Region

G’day mates! We’re gonna have a yarn about some top-notch gear we’ve been installing around Ballarat for off-grid setups. These all-in-one units are the bee’s knees – you just hook up your solar panels and batteries, and Bob’s your uncle!

  • Deye: She’s a beauty, available from 5 to 10 kW for single-phase and up to a whopping 25 kW for three-phase. Deye’s making waves for being a breeze to install, with a solid 10-year warranty, and letting you chuck on solar panels up to 50% more than the usual. Plus, it’s got separate inputs for your generator and grid, an IP65 rating to keep the dust and water at bay, and can handle a full-on surge for 10 seconds. Some of the models even work with 48V battery systems and high-voltage batteries up to 600V. We’ve already got 5 off-grid systems operating in the Ballarat area using Deye inverters.
  • Sungrow: Another ripper option, coming in 5, 6, and 10 kW sizes. The 10 kW model is a real flexible friend with 4 MPPTs, letting you connect your solar panels in all sorts of ways. It’s a breeze to set up with high-voltage batteries, and it’s IP65 rated too. Just a heads up, though – it can’t run in parallel when you’re off-grid.
  • Sigenergy: This one’s a bit of a game-changer. It’s like the smartest kid on the block, with a system that’s IP65 rated and as easy to put together as Lego. You can even hook up multiple systems in parallel. If one inverter throws a wobbly, the others just keep on trucking. Plus, it’s got some brainy tech with AI running the show.
  • Victron: They’ve got a few models that are all-in-one, but you can’t link them up in parallel. They stick to a 48V battery system.
  • Growatt: If you’re watching your pennies, Growatt’s got you covered with a simple and wallet-friendly inverter. It’s got a 2-year warranty, and the 5 kW model can be paralleled. Just remember, it’s for indoor use with an IP20 rating.
  • Steca: On the lookout for a bargain? Steca’s got a 5 kW option that’ll hook up to a 48V battery. But you can only connect 3 panel strings, so you’ll need to wire 4 strings in parallel to hit that 5 kW mark. Despite being a budget-friendly choice, around 50 systems are working around Ballarat, and they haven’t been causing much trouble.

Now, for the old-school off-grid inverters, you’ve got:

  • Selectronic: These Aussie-made beauties are a hit with the old-school crowd. They’re a bit tricky to install since you need extra gear to connect the solar panels. Pairing them up with a Fronius grid inverter is a popular move. They’re built tough but will set you back a few bucks. They are an indoor unit and heavy. One feature is their surge capacity, allowing surge power to be held for 30 to 10 minutes depending on power, compared to other systems that only allow 5-10 second surges. We haven’t installed many of them, but we did encounter some warranty problems with the ones we did install.
  • Victron: They’ve got a smorgasbord of gear, perfect for the DIY crowd. But, be prepared for a bit of a head-scratch during setup. They come with a 5-year warranty.
  • Latronics: Mainly known for smaller battery inverters, it’s a bit of a mystery who’s using them.
  • SMA: You’ll need a pair of inverters for this setup – the Sunny Island for the battery and the Sunny Boy for the grid. They’re reliable but on the pricey side and a bit of a challenge to install.
  • Schneider Electric: Known for their IP20 rated systems, they’re not the most popular choice due to their hefty price tag.
  • Outback Power: They used to be the go-to for off-grid inverters, but they haven’t kept up with the times.

In our humble opinion, Sigenergy is the top dog. It’s like having a smartphone for your solar setup – cutting-edge and super smart. But don’t stress, we’re happy to install whatever floats your boat.

As for batteries, we’re all about lithium tech. There aren’t heaps of options made in Australia since most of the guts of the batteries, like the lithium cells and electronics, are made overseas.

But here’s a look at some of the top-notch options we’ve worked with:

  • Pylontech: These champs are leading the pack globally for home battery systems. They’ve got 48V and high-voltage options, a 10-year warranty, and a sweet price point. The life expectancy of the batteries is 15 years, and they’ve aced tests at the Australian Lithium Battery Test Center​​.
  • BYD: Big players in batteries for both solar and electric cars. They’re solid and come with a 10-year warranty. We don’t have much hands-on experience with BYD batteries, but they’re known for being reliable​​.
  • Sigenergy: Just like their inverters, their batteries are top-notch. They’ve got a nifty system where the batteries and inverter are one, and they can be used together like Lego blocks. The technology allows each battery in a stack to be used individually based on its charge or health state, which is pretty impressive.
  • Growatt Battery: Often rebranded and sold as Jinko battery. Growatt offers an affordable solution, but the battery only allows for 5kW power, basically not really designed for larger off-grid applications.
  • Sungrow: They’ve got a high-voltage battery system that’s easy to install and works seamlessly with their inverters. The system is IP65 rated and comes in 3.5kWh blocks, making it a solid choice​​.
  • Victron: Known for their robust off-grid technology and complete range for all challenges. They offer a 5-year warranty on hardware, with an option to upgrade to 10 years. Victron’s technology is designed for peace of mind, even in the harshest of climates, and they provide complete control from anywhere with their remote monitoring solutions​​.

When it comes to solar panels for off-grid systems, most panels available in Australia are of decent quality and come with warranties ranging from 12 to 25 years. We reckon just go for whatever’s best priced at the moment. We often use Jinko 475W panels as they have a good price point and come with a 25-year warranty. But honestly, all the other brands are pretty good too.

So, there you have it! That’s a bit of a rundown on the gear we’ve been installing around Ballarat. If you’ve got any more questions or need a hand with your setup, just give us a holler!

Check our solar and battery systems here