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Can a Solar Generator Power a Space Heater. Off grid solar heater

Can a Solar Generator Power a Space Heater. Off grid solar heater

    Save Up To 100% on Heating/Cooling Costs!!

    Keep the inside cool all day for next to nothing in energy costs. Preventing daytime heat build-up also cuts evening cooling costs. Cool or heat up to 750 Sq. Ft. (69m²).

    ACDC12C Solar Air Conditioner Heat Pump

    The HotSpot engineering team created the world’s first DC solar air conditioner in 2007 and has led the world in solar AC design and quality manufacturing for more than 10 years. The ACDC12C blends solar DC power directly with AC power (optional) to deliver a seamless cooling or heating experience while making the best use of free DC solar power. But unlike previous versions, the ACDC12C does not require an AC backup connection to operate during good sunlight conditions. During the day it can operate on 100% solar power.

    ACDC12C Solar Air Conditioner Overview

    The ACDC12C solar air conditioner requires no grid connection, no batteries, no inverter, no charge controller – just plug in the solar panels and start saving up to 100% on daytime cooling or heating costs. A grid connection can be added to automatically allow operation at night, as well as to provide higher daytime capacity uninterrupted operation during cloudy or low sunlight conditions.

    How the ACDC12C Solar Air Conditioner Works

    Compatible with all types of solar panels 50Hz and 60Hz power, use it anywhere in the world.

    The system is designed for hybrid operation with solar providing most or all of the energy needed during daylight hours, supplemented by AC power (optional) at night or during times of Cloud cover.

    During the day the ACDC12C can run exclusively on solar power with no AC power or grid connection when solar is strong enough. The maximum speed/capacity will be based on the level of available solar power available. If also connected to AC power source, the unit can run at full speed whenever needed, and will add in just enough AC power, if/as needed, while still primarily using available solar DC power.

    When connected to both solar and an optional AC power source, the ACDC12C only uses small amounts of power from the utility company, if and as needed. Hybrid operation eliminates the need for batteries and allows use of the system 24 hours per day.

    The system primarily uses solar power, and mixes it with normal AC power, if available, at times when solar availability is reduced due to clouds, overcast sky, or at night. If the sun conditions are poor and no AC connection is available, the ACDC12C calculates the amount of solar power available in real time and reduces its speed to match the available solar power. Of course, the unit will not run without an AC connection in very low sunlight conditions, or at night.

    The unit can be connected with up to six panels for running on 100% solar power even when the sun is not at full strength

    The ACDC12C includes a digital power display so you can get an idea of how much AC and/or DC power is being used in the system.

    The ACDC12C Solar Air Conditioner SAVES MONEY

    Your air conditioner needs the most power when the sun is shining, a coincidence you can take advantage of with our ACDC12C solar air conditioner. It can keep an indoor area cool during the day for free, or for just pennies, at times when solar power is not sufficient to carry 100% of the load.

    In addition to cooling, the ACDC12C solar heat pump will provide solar powered heating, operating all the way down to an outside ambient temperature of 5 ⁰ F. No matter how far north or south you are, this is the right system for you. No net metering needed. Single indoor unit.

    Use this system to cool a small area or to augment a larger system. Connect three (up to six) solar panels (290-360w per panel) in series. The unit can also connect to 220v (208v-240v) AC power for extra power during overcast conditions, transient clouds, or at night.

    No need for batteries. Even when the sun is not shining at all, with an AC connection this ultra high-efficiency (SEER 22 without solar) heat pump will keep you comfortable and save you money using far less electricity than a normal AC or heat pump unit of the same capacity. Calculated using only paid-for energy, the ACDC12C produces an equivalent SEER above SEER 75.

    This solar mini-split air conditioner design allows you to put solar cooling into the area where it’s needed the most and avoid the security issues of an unsightly and noisy window unit.

    If your location needs heat during the winter, take a full 1-ton of the daytime heating load off of your main heating system for free and get a head start on evening heating requirements.

    Since the ACDC12C is a ductless system, it allows 100% of your heating or cooling to be delivered where it’s needed without the loss that occurs in a ducted system.

    Note – this is not an “off-grid battery powered” unit, although adding batteries is possible, it is not the recommended use. If you have no AC power and need a 24×7 off grid solar air conditioner, contact us.

    Solar Air Conditioning Cooling Heating Augmentation

    Augmenting a space heating or cooling system with solar makes perfect sense. In addition to heating or cooling a small area, it allows you to add capacity to an existing system, or reduce the load on an existing system, either or both of which can save you money and add comfort.

    Solar augmentation also allows offsetting of higher daytime electricity rates and reduces the amount of early evening catch-up required by the normal system. The ACDC12C hybrid solar air conditioner allows you to add comfort without adding energy cost, and can sharply cut your daytime heating and cooling bills.

    Get up to 100% of your daytime cooling (or heating) free from the sun. Plug-N-Play solar connections make installation simple. Over SEER 22 on normal AC power. Calculated SEER equivalent net of DC power is SEER 75. Requires min. 4x solar PV panels.


    The ACDC12C installs just like a normal mini-split air conditioner, then you connect the solar panels using industry-standard MC4 connectors. You can use 3 or more normal solar panels (recommended 72 cell panels) of 290w-375w each and wired in series. You can order the panels, etc. from us or purchase them locally; note the panels should be minimum 36vmp rated, please review the specifications.

    If you use 60 cell panels (30vmp), use a minimum of four 60 cell panels. For off-grid operation during the day with no AC connection, with either type solar panel you may wish to add at least one additional panel.

    The ACDC12C is shipped pre-charged with R410a, an ozone-friendly refrigerant and we recommend hiring a professional HVAC installer. If self-installing, you will need a licensed HVAC technician with a vacuum pump to do the final commissioning and to comply with US federal law. The units include a 3M lineset, if a longer one is needed, you may use a standard lineset which can easily and quickly be made onsite by the installer. You can also order various length linesets (1/2″ x 1/4″) from various online sellers such as Home Depot, Amazon, etc.

    Product Specifications

    Indoor Unit:

    solar, generator, power, space, heater
    Packing (WDH) mm 36.2×14.6×21.3
    Gross weight Lb. 16.4

    Outdoor Unit:

    Packing (WDH) inch 36.2×15.6×23.8
    Gross weight lbs. 79.3

    Please Note, PV wire, etc., is not included by default, it must be added on above.


    For a larger 18000 BTU unit check out the ACDC18C

    Can a Solar Generator Power a Space Heater?

    Browse our collection of complete solar generator kits.

    Browse the off-grid solar power systems available today.

    See our 2021 Holiday Specials here!

    If you are camping, living off-grid, or in an RV, you know how important it is to stay warm in the great outdoors – that is where space heaters come in.

    But can you power a space heater with a solar generator? Absolutely, and we want to tell you all about them and their nifty uses.

    We want to explain what size generators you need, and the safety precautions to follow when using one to power a space heater.

    We also answer some common questions. Can you use a space heater and other devices simultaneously? What do you need to run a space heater with solar power?

    Finally, you will find out what else solar generators can be used for, and their various advantages.

    Can you run a Space Heater off a Solar Generator?

    Solar generators are sustainable power solutions that use the power of the sun to produce clean and emission-free energy.

    Their versatility and convenience are only a few of the reasons causing them to grow in popularity.

    Space heaters are great devices to heat a single area of small or medium size. They are compact and versatile, which makes them convenient for camping and off-grid living.

    Can you power your space heater with a solar generator? Absolutely.

    solar, generator, power, space, heater

    To run a space heater with a generator, you need solar panels to collect energy that is then stored in a battery. From there, inverters are used to convert the stored power into electrical current that you can use to power your appliances.

    What Size Generator Do You Need to Run a Space Heater?

    Space heaters consume a lot of energy, so your solar setup must have the required power output to handle one.

    A safe estimate is that you need a generator of around 2,000 watts. Most space heaters have a power rating of 1,500 watts, but your generator’s supply needs to exceed this demand.

    The “extra” 500 watts act as a buffer that protects your system from fluctuations in power that can blow a fuse and render your expensive solar generator useless.

    These fluctuations are commonly caused by inappropriate extensions chords or changing the temperature settings of the heater’s thermostat.

    Can a 1,000 Watt Generator Run a Space Heater?

    While most space heaters have a power rating of 1,500 watts, some have a lower power setting of only 750 watts.

    A 1000 watt solar generator would not be able to run a 1500 watt space heater unless it has a powerful inverter that can increase the maximum output of the unit. However, a 1,000-watt generator can easily run a 750-watt space heater.

    While using a 750-watt heater may save energy, it will only make rooms warmer by a few degrees and it can only heat smaller spaces.

    It is best to avoid 1000 watt generators for powering space heaters unless you have no other choice. 2,000-watt solar generators are a fool-proof and effective way to run almost any space heater.

    Can You Run a Space Heater and Other Appliances Simultaneously?

    A 2,000-watt solar generator will run a 1,500-watt space heater without any issues, but it can’t handle much more than that.

    You will need a generator with a greater capacity and output if you want to run other devices simultaneously. Another solution is to turn your space heater to a lower power setting so it only draws 750 watts.

    If you are off-grid and need to power an entire RV, complete with a fridge, lighting, and other appliances, 2,000 watts simply aren’t enough.

    If you are looking to run your entire off-grid set up with a solar generator you should be looking at generators with a power rating of 5,000 watts – sometimes more.

    Can A Solar Generator Be Used While Charging?

    Solar generators can be used while charging. but there are a few important factors that you need to keep in mind when doing so.

    Make sure to check your generator’s user manual. Most generators can be used safely while they are charging, but there are always exceptions.

    If you use your generator while it’s charging, make sure that it has sufficient power to run the appliances. With a charging generator, the power demand can exceed the power supply. Run appliances that your generator can handle.

    Your solar generator will take longer to charge if you use it while it’s charging because its energy depletes as you are using it. It requires even more power to fully charge its depleting battery.

    Also, you run the risk of overheating your system. Portable solar generators cause a lot of heat build-up, especially when they are used during charging. Be wary of overheating – this can cause damage to your generator and can become a fire hazard.

    Never Leave Your Space Heater Alone

    While this doesn’t have to be taken too literally, you really shouldn’t let a space heater warm up in your absence. Both the generator and the space heater are potentially dangerous and can cause fires if they aren’t monitored.

    It’s always better to be safe than sorry – keep your space heater in close sight.

    Start the Generator Before Plugging the Space Heater In

    Get your generator up and running before you plug your space heater in.

    Start the space heater off at the lowest possible setting, which will draw less power from your unit. Give it some time and work your way up until you eventually reach 1,500 watts.

    solar, generator, power, space, heater

    Use a Generator with a Power Rating of 2000 Watts or

    While 1,000-watt solar generators can run 750-watt space heaters, you are better off with a 2,000-watt generator.

    This reduces your risk of blowing fuses and damaging your generator.

    What Do You Need to Run a Space Heater With a Solar Generator?

    To run a space heater with a solar generator you need an integrated system comprising of a solar panel installation, charge controller, inverter, and battery system.


    Batteries, also called capacitors, are storage units for solar power. After your solar panels collect energy from the sun it needs to be stored somewhere for you to be able to use it later.

    Without batteries, you can be left without power on cloudy and overcast days or during the night.

    There are myriad battery types that you can use. Lithium-ion batteries are recommended for solar-powered generators because they have a higher capacity and allow for more charge cycles, but you can look into some cheaper options.


    Inverters are devices that convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).

    The power that flows through the main power grid is AC. Home appliances that you will need to run in your off-grid setup work with AC – they cannot be run with DC.

    The power stored in the batteries of your solar setup flows in DC. Therefore, you need an inverter to convert the stream into usable AC electricity for your appliances.

    solar, generator, power, space, heater

    Charge Controller

    Charge controllers are crucial to the proper functioning of your solar setup. These devices regulate voltage and power flow in solar installations.

    They control the flow of power, run electrical loads, and charge your batteries. They also improve the durability of your batteries and increase the solar generator lifespan.

    What Can Space Heaters Be Used For?

    Space heaters are great for camping, RVs, and off-grid properties, because you do not want to be cold in the great outdoors. They are also nifty for backup home power systems.

    If you are camping or lounging outdoors, you can use space heaters to keep away the windchill and enjoy more time outside. You can have the comfort of heat on your porch or deck, even when it’s cold outside.

    They are just as good for heating smaller spaces or a single room. If there is a power outage or a room in your home that doesn’t get enough heat from your central heating system, a space heater has you covered.

    They are also energy-efficient if you use central heating, but only want to make one room warmer. Wasting energy to heat an entire home is unnecessary – use a space heater for one room.

    What Can Solar Generators be Used for?

    Generators commonly have outputs and inputs for AC, DC, and USB devices.

    This means that you can power an array of electronic devices, appliances, and tools. Portable solar generators are versatile and growing in popularity for this reason.

    They are good sources of backup power at home for when the power grid fails.

    You can charge smartphones, laptops, tablets, and so much more. You can also run appliances like microwaves, cordless tools, TV sets, and gaming setups provided you have a generator with enough capacity and power output.

    A sufficiently large solar generator can power larger appliances like fridges and space heaters too.

    Choose a solar generator that matches your power needs. If you want to run appliances continuously, large appliances like fridges, or power an entire RV – opt for a solar generator with a large power output.

    Can a Solar Generator Power a Well Pump?

    Well pumps are electromechanical devices that pump water from a well. If you’re living off the electrical grid, you may find yourself far from a municipal water supply as well.

    Well pumps can use both AC and DC power. If you use DC power you do not need an inverter.

    Solar generators can power a well pump. but you need a large solar setup and a large power output.

    The size of your solar generator would depend on the power consumption of the well pump. The power supply of your generator should always exceed the well pump’s power needs, otherwise, the unit will burn out and you’ll end up both thirsty and in the dark.

    A 1/3 well pump needs about 3,000 watts. It only needs about 750 watts to run, but it needs a lot more power to start up.

    Solar panels with a power rating of 300 watts are quite common. Your best bet would be to have ten 300 watt solar panels to power a 1/3 well pump.

    What Else Can a 300 Watt Solar Generator Run?

    300-watt solar generators can run several useful common appliances. It can run both smaller and more power-hungry appliances.

    Smaller devices that can be run with 300 watts include lamps, lights, LEDs, ceiling fans, and Wi-Fi routers. You can charge devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

    Larger and more power-hungry appliances that can be run with 300 watts include small TV sets, stereos, video game setups, small fridges, and microwaves.

    Green Energy

    Solar generators are a sustainable and eco-friendly way of producing electricity.

    Solar generators use the sun’s energy instead of burning fossil fuels that harm the environment and cause greenhouse gas emissions. This contributes to global warming and climate change.

    The best part is – solar panels can last for over 20 years to give you a lifetime of solar energy.

    Low Maintenance

    Generators that use fossil fuels have a lot of moving parts, and fuel that needs to be replaced. This requires maintenance, repairs, and money.

    Solar generators do not require the same level of constant maintenance, which will save you money and trouble in the long run.

    Quiet Operation

    Solar generators do not run on fossil fuels or have as many moving parts. Unlike solar generators, gas generators are quite loud when they are being run. Solar generators do not make as much noise.


    Space heaters are great for heating small or medium-sized rooms. This comes in handy in homes, off-grid properties, campsites, boats, and RVs.

    Luckily, you can power your space heater sustainably and affordably, independent of the main power grid, with a solar generator.

    Most space heaters have a power rating of 1,500 watts. For this, you would need a power supply as large as 2,000 watts because the generator’s supply needs to comfortably exceed the draw of the space heater.

    Space heaters also have a lower power setting of 750 watts. For these, you could use a 1,000-watt solar generator.

    Did you find our blog helpful? Then consider checking:

    Can you run a Space Heater off a Solar Panel?

    You can run a space heater on solar panel energy. However, running a space heater on high heating settings continuously gets expensive quickly.

    Quick answer: Yes, you can run a space heater off a solar panel. One solar panel produces enough energy to run one space heater on full power for 1.2h a day. To run a space heater continuously, you need 20 solar panels. Wood-burning stoves or propane gas heaters are more cost-effective for off-grid heating.

    In this article, we’re checking exactly how many solar panels you need to power a space heater in different circumstances. Also, we’re going to cover heating methods that are a lot more cost-effective.

    How much power does a solar panel produce?

    An average solar panel produces between 250W and 400W of power in the summertime. In the wintertime, however, power production decreases significantly due to the lack of sunshine.

    On an average day, a solar panel produces 1.8kWh of energy. That’s the amount of energy needed to run a 1.8kW device for 1 hour.

    How much power does a space heater need?

    An average space heater consumes 1,500W on maximum heat settings. However, in normal circumstances, the average power consumption of a space heater is closer to 1,000W.

    The reason for the reduced power consumption is the built-in thermostat. A thermostat is a small device that measures the current temperature in a room and adjusts the power consumption of a heater accordingly.

    Shortly after turning on, a space heater consumes a peak power of about 1,500W. When it senses a rise in room temperature, it decreases the power consumption or turns off the heating overall.

    The exact wattage a space heater consumes in your home depends on the insulation of your room and the current room temperature. Insulation is important for keeping power consumption down since it keeps the heat and, therefore, a space heater’s thermostat turns on for reheating less often.

    How many solar panels do you need to run a space heater?

    With one panel producing 1.8kWh a day, you can power one 1,500W space heater on full settings for 1.2 hours.

    Space heaters will run on full power when it’s very cold outside and the insulation can’t hold the heat inside. It’s the worst-case, which we account for.

    The table below lists how many hours of full-power heating you can get from a number of solar panels.

    Solar Panels Space heater hours
    1 1.2
    2 2.4
    5 6
    10 12
    20 24

    In most cases, however, you can increase the amount of space heater hours a solar panel generates by 50% if you assume an average power usage of 1,000W per space heater.

    This means, depending you could also get up to 1.8h of space heater usage out of a single solar panel.

    The table lists just the minimum amount of power you get out of your solar panels.

    To power a space heater on full settings for 24 hours, you need 20 solar panels. On moderate settings, you need 10 solar panels to run a space heater.

    That is, however, a conservative estimate. Usually, a space heater does not run on full power, and you don’t need it to run for 24 hours continuously.

    Assuming your space heater runs on just 1,000W on average, and you need it to run only 8 hours a day, you need “only” 9 solar panels.

    How to run a space heater off solar energy in winter

    According to an experiment by “The Solar Nerd” on an average winter day, one solar panel produces around 0.25kWh of energy.

    That’s barely anything. It’s about the amount of energy to charge two power banks or boil a few pots of tea. But it’s not enough to keep a room heated.

    That’s only a fraction of 15.56% of the solar power available in summertime. To independently heat a space heater off just 0.25kWh per solar panel, you’d need, therefore 20 solar panels 1.8kWh / 0.25kWh = 144 solar panels.

    For powering a space heater off solar panels off-grid in winter, you need 144 solar panels.

    That neither makes sense nor is it cost-effective. Luckily, we have “net metering” to solve this issue.

    What is net metering? How does it work?

    Net-metering is a virtual storage of the solar energy you produce that can be accessed anytime.

    While in the summertime, solar panels could support running a space heater for a few hours, in wintertime, they can’t.

    Ideally, it should be the other way around. Who needs space heaters in summer?

    The solution to this problem is net-metering. Net-metering is the concept to feed your solar panels’ power into your neighborhood’s electric grid. The energy you feed into the grid is compensated and accounted for on your electricity bills.

    Effectively, the energy you produce in summer pays for your electricity bill in winter.

    You can only power a space heater off solar panels if you use net metering.

    Net metering acts as virtual energy storage. In summer, you feed energy into the grid, in winter, you withdraw it.

    In winter, your solar panels don’t really produce any significant amount of power. But you can spend the money net metering generates in wintertime.

    Net-metering enables the average solar panel owner to even out seasonal electricity over- and underproduction.

    Can off-grid solar panels power an electric space heater?

    No. While off-grid solar panels can power a space heater in the sunny seasons, they aren’t able to power an electric space heater during the winter. The lack of sun hours combined with the bad weather makes solar-powered electric off-grid heating impossible.

    Does powering a space heater with a solar panel make sense?

    If you already have solar panels installed, net metering set up, yes you can run a space heater off your solar panels.

    Installing solar panels for heating only is not worth it due to the high installation cost and the high electricity consumption of space heaters.

    Especially if your area does not have net metering setting up 144 solar panels just to power a single space heater in the wintertime is pointless.

    If you had the money to set up 144 solar panels, you’d probably also not worry about powering space heaters.

    What’s the best way to heat off-grid?

    The best way to heat without electricity (completely off-grid) is wood. I did an experiment and found it is objectively superior to other heating methods because it has the lowest cost per BTU of heat.

    According to the experiment’s results, you get up to 8x more heat when using wood as a heat stove, as compared to solar power, for the same amount of money spent. And this does not even factor in the higher cost of installing solar panels vs. installing a wood stove.

    Heating with candles is the worst way to heat without electricity. It is 90x more expensive per BTU of heat energy than wood.

    Is propane gas good for heating off-grid?

    Yes, propane gas is, after wood, the second best way to heat without electricity. When compared with solar power, it is about 2.5x more cost-effective when considering the heat energy (in BTUs) per dollar spent.

    So, if you don’t have a wood stove yet, I absolutely recommend getting this Mr. Heater Big Buddy propane heater for off-grid heating.

    Both wood and propane are very cost-effective methods for heating independently of an electric grid.

    Both propane gas and wood are simple and cheap to store. Especially, when compared to off-grid solar panels, which would require large batteries.

    We are not at a point yet, where electric heating beats good old gas heating.


    Yes, solar panels can, theoretically, run a space heater. However, installing solar panels just for heating is not worth it due to the high installation cost.

    Also, electricity is not a cost-effective way of heating.

    Both for on-grid and off-grid heating, wood-burning stoves and propane gas are much more cost-effective heating methods.

    About Daniel Hirsch

    Hi, I am Daniel, an electrical engineer. For I research cost-effective heating and air conditioning methods, debunk myths, and explain what really works.

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    Get the Cost-Effective Heating Guide

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    Field test: PV Modules

    A real world comparison between Mono, Poly, PERC and Dual PV Modules.

    This is a field test and the results are specific for this installation on this location please research which is the best solution for your own situation as the results can be different based on environmental influences.

    Total solar yield as of 27/03/2023 when the results were reset: Mono: 9158 kWh Split-cell: 9511 kWh Poly: 9113 kWh Perc: 9471 kWh Perc-east: 1970 kWh Perc-west: 1730 kWh

    Self-sufficient in the UK

    Unexpectedly, one of the biggest challenges of Vanessa and Bruce Jones’s self-build project became: how to provide their home with electricity?

    The nearest grid connection was 500m away …but from there it had to cross neighbouring land. Negotiations to bury cable under land they didn’t own failed, which seemed to leave them with just one alternative – paying the local energy provider more than £100k to provide them with a connection via the road.

    Two years of uncertainty ended when Ian Hewson of Off Grid Engineering was able to reassure them that a private off-grid energy system, based on Photovoltaic panels, could provide them with all the energy they needed, summer and winter alike, for their five-bedroomed house – which is heated by Air Source Heat Pump.

    Vanessa and Bruce, along with their 2 children Rory and Freya, had always dreamed of building their own home in the country.

    Vanessa grew up in rural Somerset – so after living in London for a few years the family decided to make a permanent move to the countryside in 2006, where a long search for land eventually produced a large field with a steel-framed cattle barn, in Dorset. They fell in love with its beautiful views, and the shape of the barn offered great potential to convert into a 5 bedroom home.

    The home they have built seems both modern and yet traditional at the same time. Most importantly it sits comfortably in its rural surroundings.

    As for the electrics: Ian Hewson worked closely with the heating engineer to design a power system with sufficient capacity to keep the domestic heating operating throughout the shorter days of winter – and provide energy for all the appliances and conveniences of a large family home.

    Here is the system they have installed:

    • 80 x 335W JA Mono-Crystalline Solar Panels
    • Victron 15 kVA Quattro
    • 3 x 13.8 kWh BYD LiFePO4 battery bank
    • 4 x 250V/100A SmartSolar charge controllers
    • Octo GX System harmonisation and remote Communication
    • 20 kVA LPG back up generator

    One of the barn’s design features is its glass roof. Roof mounted PV panels would detract from the appearance, so Ian suggested locating the 80 panel array in their field discreetly concealed by the hedge. He assisted the Jones’s with the necessary planning permission – needed as this was a Class Q agricultural building conversion – and worked with contractors to prepare the site.

    Remote monitoring

    Off Grid Engineering are able to monitor and manage Vanessa and Bruce’s power system thanks to the Octo GX which communicates with, and controls the system components – including the BYD LiFePO4 battery storage. Victron Energy systems are seamlessly compatible with a number of leading battery technologies, worldwide. The Octo GX allows the system’s live and historical data to be monitored and managed by Off Grid Engineering remotely using Victron’s Remote Management Portal VRM.

    Bruce, Rory, Freya, and Vanessa

    Vanessa, Bruce, Rory and Freya have the house of their dreams amid the rolling hills around Shaftesbury – far from the madding crowd – and can relax in the knowledge that their solar energy, too, is free …protecting them from the spiralling costs of electricity.

    What’s a Twoot?

    Off Grid Engineering monitor the whole installation with data transmitted from a Twoot. I had to ask – Ian Hewson says: A Twoot is a 4G Wi-Fi unit that runs off a fused DC feed directly from the battery bank …like the Victron GX GSM. The difference is that it has internally fused DC outputs and multiple ethernet ports so that the unit can offer a basic internet connection to the client or other monitoring systems (such as the heating), as well as support internet connectivity for a Victron ‘Venus’ communication device. It was developed by myself and Tom Griffiths – from Specific IKC – and has been installed in about 60 of our off-grid systems across the UK.

    Now her self-build is complete Vanessa – who works for the tailor-made safari operator Natural High Safaris – has some advice for anyone thinking of carrying out their own project:

    Don’t give up on the search for a plot; ensure you have the best team you can – from architect to engineer to main contractor. Engage the services of a quantity surveyor at the outset to give you a realistic costing… and if converting a building which has no services, carefully check the costs of bringing in utilities.

    Off Grid specialist

    Both Scott and Ian are highly qualified electricians – terrestrial and marine – who use their passion for off-grid energy to help clients power their lives …wherever they happen to be. What makes Off Grid Engineering unique is that they specialise in Off Grid systems – from camper van to 3 phase industrial supply. No worries.

    Two winters later… how’s it all going?

    We re-visited the Jones’ sixteen months after they had moved in to find out if their off-grid energy supply was meeting their needs. Here’s Jono’s video update:

    How do I narrow down the best off-grid heater for my cottage?

    Designing heating for your off-grid cottage or tiny house is similar to your home heating as you would need to determine the most suitable source of energy and ensure you have sufficient insulation. Even the best heating system would be useless if your cottage has insufficient insulation and lets the heat out. When you are “off-grid” without access to electricity, you could consider other energy options such as diesel, propane, natural gas, solar, or wood-fire.

    Smart off-grid planning may also mean multiple energy sources to get the maximum benefit.

    One of the main factors to consider, obviously, is the size of your cottage or tiny house. Wallas cottage air heaters (26 CC and 40 CC) are designed to warm up spaces from 40 m² (430 ft²) to 90 m² (970 ft²), but with Smart planning, it may be viable to install two heaters to increase the heating power for even larger spaces. This would require a discussion with a Wallas heating professional as all cottages and heating needs are different.

    Before you make your investment, it is good to determine will you be heating your off-grid cottage year-round or do you visit only in the warmer summer months. Consider is it necessary to have a heating system or will you be happy with the heat from the sun or an occasional wood fire. But don’t kid yourself as even the summer evenings can get chilly and going to sleep in damp sheets is not a memory anyone would like to remember. Furthermore, ask yourself how important it is to warm up your cottage quickly. Lighting a fire in the fireplace is idyllic, but it takes a long time to get the cottage warm. Wallas cottage heaters have remote accessibility allowing you to turn the heater on while you are still on your way and arrive at a warm cottage.

    Wallas cottage heaters have a thermostat that maintains a smooth ambient temperature.

    As far as safety is concerned, a diesel heater is an excellent option as there is no exposed flame. Families with children appreciate the fact that also the case surface temperature stays low – comfortable to the touch. It is safe to keep Windows and doors closed since the enclosed combustion draws air from the outside and vents the minimal exhaust gas outside always keeping the indoor air fresh. It is also good to keep in mind, there are different types of heat. Propane heaters, for instance, create moisture condensing on the walls and Windows and sometimes require a dehumidifier to keep everyone comfortable.

    The laminar combustion in diesel heaters produces dry heat, which keeps the interior fresh.

    There is also an option to incorporate indoor heating into the water heating system. Circulate hot water from the water heater into floor heating and radiators, add a solar panel for an additional energy source, and you are getting very close to optimizing comfort with the least amount of energy consumption.

    Wallas 40 EA is a water heating system that heats up a domestic water tank and powers underfloor heating. Getting heating through floors is a very convenient alternative to air heating especially if any family members have allergy issues as there are no dust allergens circulating in the air. It is also quite luxurious to be able to walk barefoot on warm floors. Floor heating is also dry heat, which is typically more comfortable than moist heat. Building an underfloor heating system requires advanced knowledge which is why we recommend discussing it with an HVAC professional to ensure your installation will be code compliant and the right option for you.

    Choosing the right heating system may seem like a complex topic, but with the help of a Wallas professional, you can narrow down the best option for your needs. With the right heater, you can transform your off-grid cottage into a second home you can’t wait to go to.

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