Australian off-grid demand gives rise to compact, pre-wired systems

off-grid properties
Image: Commodore Independent Energy Systems

The number of off-grid properties in Australia is growing rapidly, albeit from a low baseline. The number of off-grid properties for sale in 2020 was just 809. By 2022, there was 1362 – close to a 70% increase. By comparison, the number of solar houses on the market increased by just 26% in that same period.

Commodore Independent Energy Systems, which has long specialized in solar water pumps, is increasingly gearing its business toward off-grid systems, with a specific focus on making units that are compact, easy to install, and highly portable.

“We’re noticing the demand is there,” Marketing Manager Matt Miller told pv magazine Australia.

He noted that it’s now common for a system’s payback to be competed within its warranty period. But he believes the biggest barrier for most potential customers is the complexity of off-grid systems.

“People just have no idea how off-grid systems work,” he claimed.

To tackle this, the company has begun pre-wiring and pre-programming its systems – something a handful of other companies are now also offering in Australia.

“We’re finding electricians are absolutely loving it,” Miller said. “No one has to look through 200 pages of literature.”

Commodore now has 10 electricians devoted solely to pre-wiring and pre-programming units inside the warehouse. Once the system is on site, Miller says the cabinet only takes a few hours to install – though the total duration depends on how much solar is being installed alongside the system. “This completely changes the game,” Miller says.

Just last week, Chinese company EcoFlow began marketing its new EcoFlow Power Kits for tiny homes and camper vans in Australia. The system focuses on ease and simplicity, putting components like the battery system, charging system, DC converter and inverter together in a preconfigured box.

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