Living off the grid you learn to adjust your behaviour to minimise your power usage. So during a week of blazing sunshine it was something of a surprise to run out of power!
At Hou Ngahere we have a basic but very effective solar system. Starting with just the two panels (on the left in the photo) and four deep cycle batteries we had enough power through the summer for a number of weeks in paradise, but we quickly decided that another two panels would make our lives more comfortable. They did too for the next 14 years.
We had to replace the batteries after 12, which was a couple of years better than forecast, and gradually over the time we’ve added a few more appliances. Like coffee machines, satellite TV and iPads etc, and the technology has aged too. So….. a year out of warranty our nearly new batteries were completely dead, flat in the blazing sun!
Fortunately, we were offered a couple of new panels last year (just $450 each) and were waiting for the completion of my new studio to install them on the roof – we also needed a new regulator to combine them with our old panels. But this plan was rapidly accelerated when the pressure on our old regulator became too much.
Now with the new panels connected, we’re seriously off the scale!
Its amazing how the efficiency of the technology has improved and the cost reduced so dramatically over the 15 years. With three times the capacity we previously had we’ll have power to spare even on the darkest grey winter days!
And not including the feel good factor, its still been way cheaper than if we had connected to the grid in the first place!