With an expert's eye: photovoltaics for the plot and beyond

Summer is in full swing. It is a pleasure to enjoy the outdoors and spend our free time in nature - in backyard gardens and on the still very popular ROD plots. With the slow life trend, many people are investing in a piece of land outside the city. And this is where the problem of lack of access to electricity often arises, which we discuss with Łukasz Sabat, Product Manager at GreenCell.


I am renting a ROD plot. I have dreamt of having a small summer house on it, but the plot has no electricity connection. What can you advise me?

In Poland and beyond, there is a huge boom in allotment gardens. Even the most neglected ones or those without any utility connections are finding new owners. And then the problem arises: how to do renovations, garden work or even charge the phone without electricity. A few years ago, we would not have found a solution. Today, we have photovoltaic technologies available with different properties and applications. And we are not talking about an expensive PV (photovoltaic) installation or intrusive telemarketers, but an affordable solution for every pocket and for the easy provision of free energy. PV installations that are not connected to the power grid are called 'island' or off-grid. They are completely self-contained. Green Cell has developed a number of proven solutions and kits that can be used for this purpose and build your own inexpensive PV installation. Even with energy storage.

Is an off-grid installation only for houses on allotments or far away in the mountains?

When we talk about an off-grid or island installation, we immediately think of a 'desert island', a house somewhere far away in the mountain forests. And indeed - in places where we do not have the possibility of connecting electricity or the costs of such an investment are very high, an off-grid PV installation is the best solution. However, this is not the only application. Let me share a personal story here. I live in Krakow and recently had the unpleasant duty of renewing my electricity contract. The new price list means an increase of more than two and a half times the previous electricity bill. What's more, according to experts from the Institute of Renewable Energy and the 2023 report, energy prices in Poland will keep rising until 2035. Fasten your seatbelts because we are facing 12 years of rises. That doesn't sound very pleasant. Fortunately, at Green Cell we have a way to make sure that your wallet can catch its breath and that a kilowatt is not at a premium. We need to change the way we think about energy. In the city, it's hard to put PV panels on the roof and forget about the bills. Nor does everyone want to invest in a large photovoltaic power plant. Meanwhile, even with small steps it is possible to achieve a satisfying effect. In this case, smaller off-grid power plants, which do not even have to be connected to the grid, come to our aid. The production from a few panels and a Green Cell inverter is enough to power a second electrical circuit in the house - let's call it an EKO-installation. From this EKO-installation, we can power, for example, household appliances - washing machine, dryer, dishwasher or air conditioner. That is, everything that can relieve our expensive consumption from the grid and that can be switched to an eco-installation, from which we have electricity for free. A specially adapted Green Cell PowerNest energy store can easily be connected to such an installation to store surplus energy or to use it when the PV panels are no longer producing electricity, e.g. at night. This will further increase our savings and self-consumption of the energy produced.

Do I have to have photovoltaics to install PowerNest - OFF-Grid?

Interesting question. By convention, energy storage, of which PowerNest is an example, is used to store surplus production from PV. At Green Cell, on the other hand, we think more flexibly. Our inverter and PowerNest can also be configured in such a way that, even without a PV installation, it will serve us as emergency power for the most important appliances in the house. Using a plug-in with a programmable timer switch, we can build a set-up that turns on the electricity to the inverter during a cheap tariff and turns it off during an expensive one. This requires a bit of work, creativity in the power supply approach and technical hints, but it is theoretically possible and the components to build such a solution are available.

What do I gain by installing PowerNest - OFF-Grid in the house I live in every day or the grocery shop I run?

With PowerNest from Green Cell, you not only gain savings, but also energy security and prevention of the losses that power shortages can cause in a business. By choosing one of the inverters in our range, everyone can start saving money and have access to free energy. This is very important in times of price rises, plus without having to spend a lot of money on a complex photovoltaic power plant. Just the extra 2 or 3 kWh produced and stored gives a huge saving for the household budget. We also do not have to bother with complicated billing with the power plant, such as net billing, when the installation is connected to the grid. We do not sell it to the operator and then buy it back. We simply store our energy in PowerNest and use it when we need it, powering energy-intensive equipment. Green Cell solutions not only save money for homes, but also for shops or businesses. Such an Eco-Installation can power an air conditioner in a shop, which we use completely free of charge in summer. In addition, where the electricity grid is overloaded and outages occur, we can use an off-grid installation with PowerNest and supported only by 203V mains power to protect refrigerators or coolers in the event of an outage or failure. It then acts as our emergency power supply.

In a word, it is worth making friends not only with PowerNest

In conclusion, we face new challenges, not only ecological but also economic. As consumers, we need to change our thinking about energy and power. This flexible understanding also means being open to new solutions, such as the use of eco-assisted off-grid power for energy-hungry household appliances or air conditioning. It also means proactively protecting businesses with a back-up power supply for critical equipment such as cash registers, computers or cold stores in the event of outages and power cuts. All of this is available at the scale of smaller PV installations geared to specific tasks - not necessarily powering an entire house.

#photovoltaics #off-grid #PV #PowerNest
back to top