Blog Post

Easy, Drop-in Lead Acid Replacement in Canada

When it comes to living completely off grid, failure is not an option. Barrett and his wife Carol know this quite well, as they have been living off grid in the Yukon, Canada, since 2002. Initially pairing a set of high maintenance, large, heavy lead acid batteries with their solar array and wind turbine, they grew tired of having to maintain and equalize their lead acid batteries year over year. They also didn’t anticipate how often they would need to use their diesel generator as the lead acid batteries aged, lost capacity, and no longer produced enough energy to carry them through the long winter nights.

Looking for a superior solution, Barrett’s goal was to find batteries that fulfilled Carol’s wish: that they would not know, or have to think about, the fact that they live off grid. That meant finding an energy storage solution that would not have ongoing maintenance requirements, worries about losing power at night or during periods of inclement weather, and no concerns about toxicity, fire or other hazards.

Technical performance was also top of mind. “I looked at every possible battery solution that would allow me to maintain my OutBack system (inverters and charge controllers). The batteries also had to be approved for use in Canada. I was very impressed by the SimpliPhi battery specifications and the possibility of using them to replace my lead acid batteries while keeping the rest of my system. Also, the ‘per cycle’ costs are quite reasonable. My research found nothing comparable in other technologies.”

After purchasing the 10,000 cycle, 10 year warranty PHI batteries as a drop-in lead acid replacement from Sentinel Solar, Barrett and Carol quickly realized they had made the right decision. “SimpliPhi made it simple to swap out my ‘past their useful life’ lead acid batteries with cutting edge Lithium Ferro Phosphate batteries while retaining all the other components of my off-grid OutBack system, providing excellent technical support along the way. The icing on the cake is that the PHI batteries take up less than half the space of our previous batteries and require virtually no maintenance,” Barrett explained.

Before:                                                     After:

Their solar+wind+SimpliPhi storage system now consists of 8 PHI 3.5 kWh batteries providing 28 kWh of energy storage, a 7.59 kW solar array, a 2.5 kW Proven wind turbine, 2 OutBack FX3548T 2.5 kW inverters, 2 FLEXmax Charge Controllers (60A & 80A), and an OutBack HUB 10.3, a MATE 3S and FLEXnet DC monitor for optimal system monitoring and control. The MATE3S is also compatible with OutBack’s software platform, Optics RE, which allows for remote monitoring and control from any internet-connected device – anytime, anywhere.

Monitoring and control of their solar+wind+SimpliPhi storage system were of utmost importance to Barrett and Carol, as they rely on their system to power both a 3,000 square foot primary residence and 1,300 square foot rental  house through even the longest, coldest winter evenings in Canada. The system powers a two bay garage with service rooms, lights and outlets in all rooms, water pumps, two refrigerators, circulator pumps, a dishwasher and a microwave, an oil boiler, and all modern appliances, including a television.

Barrett and Carol are able to live off grid without any worries or extra work and both their family and their guests can also rest easy, knowing they have reliable, long-lasting electricity 24/7!