With an interest in Camping in remote places to see wild nature – but with all the comforts of home – Ed Jones founded Off-Grid Power Systems initially to share his knowledge of mobile power systems and to serve the RV community.
But that business quickly expanded into Speciality vehicles – such as mobile health clinics, food trucks and first-responder vehicles; and also into off-grid homes, businesses, and agriculture.
The expansion he didn’t see coming was into training!
The fact is everyone’s interested in saving costs on their energy bills by tapping into solar, or in smart energy generation using alternators that they probably already own; and everyone is increasingly interested in energy security – storing their own energy using cutting-edge technology battery chemistry to meet any power demand, night or day.
Each of us is different, and the solutions to our power needs are boundless. To serve everyone well you just have to spread some know-how.
Ed decided to host Victron Energy training from his own premises to increase brand awareness in his region – Delaware, Ohio, USA – and to expand the distribution side of his business.
In partnership with Victron sales managers and training specialists he helped draw up a two-day training curriculum which was appropriate to the typical customer-demand is his area. Eighteen delegates learned system design, installation topography and programming for the applications they’re most likely to encounter.
The delegates were local installers already experienced in battery-based power systems, yet keen to learn how our devices and software can be set up and programmed to offer tailor-made solutions for any customer’s private power needs.
The goal, of course, is not to meet those needs but to exceed them by a country mile – installing systems which customers will find easy-to-use, intuitive to monitor, and where all the clever stuff happens automatically, behind the scenes.
The training took place at four stations in groups of up to six delegates, and some of the content reflects Ed’s experience of the industry in his location, helping local installers to choose devices appropriate to applications from small RV’s to large off-grid sites.
Taking one recent customer – a farmer – Off-Grid Power Systems was given the brief of providing an off-grid supply for a house, a workshop, and for an industrial-sized meat processing plant. The system was to serve three buildings but with some crossover so that unused capacity in one location could be used elsewhere in the farmstead. The actual installation comprises of two units – one principally for home, the other for work – each having their own solar installations, inverters, and battery storage, but they are linked so that each system can operate as back up for the other – and each system ‘knows’ how the other one is getting on.
Training allows system designers and installers to choose the right devices, with the right programming to perfectly meet customer needs.
The training sessions offer hands-on guided tutorials with real live equipment, which can be wired, programmed, and then tested for troubleshooting.
Ed says that the next training session, planned for November, will accommodate 24 delegates, and he can see a way to build that to 30 using his present facitilites. True to all developing programmes each future training session will incorporate new training material and in-the-room improvements based on feedback.
The training syllabus was created and delivered in partnership with Victron Energy Sales Manager Rich Shea who says: