Empowering Remote Sites with Off-Grid Power Systems

off-grid power system supplied to Network Rail

Why Off-Grid ?

The requirement for off-grid power systems is growing as businesses & end clients have an ever-increasing demand for data collection, telemetry, monitoring and control in locations far away from the closest grid supply.

An independent power system is particularly viable for remote locations where access to grid power is limited or unavailable. Stand-alone systems can be more cost-effective than extending a power line to the electricity grid (the cost of which can range from £10,000 to £40,000 per mile).

Off-grid power systems offer standalone and independent energy solutions using renewable sources such as solar pv modules for electricity generation and batteries for storage. These remote power systems can be located almost anywhere on the planet.

Understanding Off-Grid Power Systems

Off-grid power systems are standalone power systems that are not connected to the electrical grid. They typically harness the energy of the sun & wind  to generate electricity. The power produced is stored in deep-cycle batteries for use on demand.

In particularly critical systems - such as railway applications, the solar power system is often backed-up by a fuel cell or diesel generator. This provides exceptional reliability, essential for mission-critical commercial and industrial projects.

The Basics of Off-Grid Energy

Off-grid power systems typically consist of a power source, such as solar panels or wind turbines, a solar charge controller and a battery storage system.

For larger power systems, an inverter is often used to convert the stored electricity into usable AC power. Smaller off-grid power systems often use low voltage DC, typically 24 or 48V DC, to avoid the power conversion losses of an inverter.

The battery bank is the heart of an off-grid energy setup - acting as a backup power supply when the renewable energy source is not generating electricity, such as during night-time or low sunlight conditions.

Off-grid battery banks can be either lead acid or lithium technologies. Sizing the battery bank correctly is vital to ensure a reliable system, and in the UK the battery would typically have 10 days or more autonomy, depending on the importance of the supply.

For maximum return on investment and highest reliability, it is vital to ensure that the devices (loads) to be powered are carefully selected for high efficiency, as this can significantly reduce the size, and therefore the cost of the power system.

off-grid battery bank using 2V gel cells

Types of Off-Grid Power Systems

There are various types of off-grid power systems, each harnessing different power sources and technologies. The choice of the system depends on factors such as the location, energy needs, and budget.

  • Solar PV System: uses solar pv panels to capture sunlight and convert it into electricity. It is the most common and widely used off-grid power system.
  • Wind Turbine System: uses wind turbines to convert wind energy into electricity. It is ideal for areas with high wind speeds.
  • Hybrid Power System: This system combines multiple power sources, such as solar panels, wind turbines, and backup generators, to ensure a continuous power supply.
  • Backup Power System: This system includes a backup generator or fuel cell, to provide electricity when the renewable energy sources are not generating enough power.

Off-grid power systems can be customized and scaled to meet the specific energy needs of your project.

At the EDC, we specialise in designing & supplying remote power systems for a wide variety of applications. Our system design engineers are available to help you establish the most viable solution to your remote energy needs.

Planning Your Off-Grid Power System

Planning is crucial when it comes to setting up an off-grid power system. Proper planning ensures that the system meets your energy needs and operates efficiently. Here are the key steps :

  • Assessing Energy Needs: Determine the energy requirements of your application by evaluating the power consumption of your electrical devices and appliances. This will help you determine the size of the off-grid power system needed.

  • Site Evaluation: Conduct a site evaluation to assess the location, available sunlight or wind resources, and space requirements for the solar panels.

  • System Design: To get a free customised system design for your application and site location by our experienced off-grid engineers, see the links at the bottom of this page.

Assessing Energy Needs for Your Application

Assessing the energy needs of your devices is a crucial step in planning an off-grid power system. By understanding your power requirements, you can determine the size and capacity of the off-grid system needed to meet your energy needs. Here are some factors to consider when assessing your energy needs:

  • Power Requirements: Determine the power consumption of your electrical devices and appliances. This will help you calculate the total energy load, which is needed to size any off-grid power system accurately.

  • Reliable Power: Consider the reliability of the power supply required for your application. Determine whether you need a continuous power supply or if occasional interruptions are acceptable.

  • Long-Term Planning: Anticipate any future changes or expansions in your application that may increase your energy needs. It is essential to plan for scalability to accommodate future growth.

Site Evaluation and System Design

A thorough site evaluation is essential for designing an effective off-grid power system for your business. Here are the key factors to consider:

  • Location: Assess the location of your remote site to determine the available sunlight or wind resources. This will help determine the feasibility of using solar panels or wind turbines as the primary power source.

  • Space Requirements: Evaluate the available space for installing the solar panels or wind turbines. Consider factors such as shading or obstructions that may affect the energy production - especially during the winter months when the sun is low on the horizon.

  • Grid Connection: Determine the availability of a grid connection and the option for using the grid as a backup power source.

At the EDC, we offer a free off-grid system design service for prospective clients. See the link on the following page for details :

Off-grid Power System Design Service 

Implementation of Off-Grid Power Systems

Implementing an off-grid power system requires careful planning and execution. Here are some key considerations for the installation, maintenance, and monitoring of off-grid power systems:

  • Solar Panel Installation: Ensure that the solar panels are installed in a location that receives maximum sunlight exposure and is completely free from shading or obstructions. Properly mount and secure the panels to optimize energy production. Consider adding bird spikes in coastal or locations with high bird populations.

  • Energy Storage: Install the battery storage system in a cool and dry location, away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Carefully follow manufacturer guidelines for charging voltages, recommended torque settings for the connections and maintenance schedule to ensure maximum life and long term performance.
  • Maintenance and Monitoring: Regular maintenance and monitoring of the off-grid power system are essential to ensure its optimal performance. This includes monitoring energy production, battery health, and system efficiency.


Off-grid power systems offer significant businesses opportunities to provide power for remote applications, at a far lower cost than connecting to the power grid. In today's digital and IoT world, being able to supply power even in the remotest of locations allows for remote networking, monitoring, data collection, analysis and control.

Modern off-grid power systems are often connected to the internet to be able to provide real-time monitoring of the power system and control of the devices being powered. Monitoring can be done remotely via Victron's free online VRM portal and allows users to see the system status and be warned of any potential problems before they escalate.

At the EDC we have over 25 years experience of designing and supplying high quality, reliable off-grid power systems. If you have any questions or would like some advice, please contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the First Steps When Considering an Off-Grid System ?

The first steps to take when considering an off-grid system are planning and assessment. Understand your energy needs, assess the feasibility of off-grid power systems in your location, and conduct a site evaluation to determine the system design.

How Do I Calculate the Size of the Off-Grid System Required ?

At the EDC we offer a free system design service by our highly experienced solar engineers. To calculate the size of the off-grid system required, we need to know how much energy is needed for your application, as well as full details of the installation site.

For more details on this service, please see the following page :

Off-grid Power - System Design Service

off-grid power control panel
Free off-grid system design
Complete off-grid power kits
Outstanding support for off-grid clients