It seems to me that batteries and inverters are an absolute must as part of a local energy system at the present time. There are many gadgets being developed by the big corps that might be a practical alternative within the next 10 years but for now, we are stuck with batteries and inverters.
I'm sure my system is much the same as many other experimenters', the batteries collect charge from whatever source is available and then the inverters convert it to mains power. The system has run well for about 8 years but now the batteries need replacing - I'm taking my time to carefully choose the next type of batteries as there are many to choose from.
The photo shows my change-over panel. Although it looks rather complicated, the operation is fairly simple with several circuits repeated many times to make it look more complicated that it actually is.
For a number of reasons, I choose to leave my inverters (2 right now) running all of the time. Then, at any moment, I can select which of the house circuits are connected to mains and which to inverter. At the moment this switching is manual but eventually I want to automate it using a micro-processor (16C84 same as wood-chip burner controller). The lighting circuits connect to a modified sine-wave inverter, and 2 ring-mains can be connected to a pure sine-wave inverter. All the lights are low-energy, and most of the heavy current equipment is connected to a third ring-main for which I don't have a big enough inverter yet. This is not a problem, as most of the electricity is used by items that are on 24 hours a day (fridges etc), and not by washing machines or toasters etc that are infrequently in use. The automated version should even be able to cope with this however, as the micro-controller will switch the circuits to mains if, for example, a hair-dryer is switched on. All of this should be transparent to the person using the power as switching will only take a small fraction of a second.
Picture shown twice to make space for text until other pics are added later. (Click on picture to enlarge)