Category Archives: Off-Grid

Solar Power System Design – Part III

In Part III of Solar Power System Design, I like to discuss the wiring diagram of my new off-grid photo voltaic system in some detail. I disclaim once again: This, following articles and downloadable material to which I link to, shall NOT be treated as advice, instruction or a form of guideline for any sort of power system. The reason why I share my experience with you is basically because I found it difficult to find similar articles that were comprehensive enough. Furthermore, my intention is to offer useful information to anybody who is interested in setting up an off-grid solar power system, so that they can make better informed decisions and understand concepts involved. After all, a sound working knowledge of your off-grid power system is required even if you don’t do it yourself.

Continue reading Solar Power System Design – Part III

Solar Power System Design – Part II

I’ve been contemplating about what to buy for the last month. Its worthwhile to view installed renewable systems and talk to the owners about pros and cons. There is a lot of bullshit published on the Internet, the vast majority being copy and paste articles which are neither detailed nor discuss alternative solutions.

As mentioned in the Part I, the design of my Power System depends vastly on my budget. Ideally, the main focus will be the power requirements, but like anything else I’m doing on BENIsLAND I cannot afford what I want nor what I need. This project will also be a compromise, and I explain my rationale for each electrical component in the following.

This, following articles, including downloadable material to which I link to, shall NOT be treated as advice, instruction or a form of guideline for any sort of power system.

Continue reading Solar Power System Design – Part II

Solar Power System Design – Part I

I’m designing my offgrid solar power system at the moment. The plan is to get my head around what I need, locate a supplier for those components in Auckland, consult them, negotiate a price, take the car on the ferry to town, bring the equipment back to the Island and install the system.

The plan ends with me sitting on the deck in the sun, enjoying a cold beer and feeling proud of myself.

solar_power Continue reading Solar Power System Design – Part I

Electric Cars on Great Barrier Island

The way we get around can be an important part of day to day life, and any approach toward more sustainability and less environmental impact needs to address transport. Utilizing renewable energy sources (solar, wind and/or hydro) to power electric cars (E-Car) is certainly the right way – and although the technology is readily available commercially and constantly decreasing in cost – a traditional implementation on Great Barrier Island is just not cost effective. In the following an explanation of why it’s not feasible and suggestions.

Continue reading Electric Cars on Great Barrier Island

Vermiculture – Composting With Worms

A few months ago, I attended a free Island wide workshop on different composting methods. This course was funded by Auckland Council and was presented by Caity from Okiwi Passion, an organic market garden in the northern settlement of Great Barrier Island. The participants of that workshop could chose a free composting kit (worm farming, Zing Bokashi and kits for traditional cold composting). I opted for vermi-composting, a suitable addition to the other forms of composting that are taking place on BENIsLAND.

Continue reading Vermiculture – Composting With Worms

E-Mountain Bike

Friday morning, Tryphena, Great Barrier Island, the sun is shining, good music on the stereo, I’m having a look at the Twenty Fourteen WordPress theme thinking: will I bother opening up a can of worms on a ‘Muslim Friday’?, it’s going to be a good and interesting day, I’m going to take it easy, it’s going to rain, that’s the plan for today.

P1060437

Continue reading E-Mountain Bike

Great Barrier Island Chicken – are like other chicken, but of course special

As mentioned previously, my lovely Moms is here on BENIsLAND with me for a vacation and as it is with moms, something is not quite right when you are sitting down and there are still things to do. Which is bizarre, dads like to sit down all the time and talk about the work that could have been done.

Anyway, I, therefore, conclude that she must really love being on BENIsLAND as there is an indefinite amount of things that need to be done and accomplished. One of the things that I would have liked to do in 2014 has come already into fruition, which leaves me wondering what to do with the next 11 months… Continue reading Great Barrier Island Chicken – are like other chicken, but of course special

Chatham Islands (New Zealand) vs. Great Barrier Island (New Zealand)

Let’s make this a quick comparison and start with the local government. Chatham Island’s local government is allegedly unique within New Zealand, as it involves a council established by its own Act of Parliament, the Chatham Islands Council Act 1995 (Statute No 041, Commenced: 1 November 1995). The Chatham Islands Council operates as a district council with regional council functions, making it in effect a unitary authority but with not quite as many responsibilities as the others [source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chatham_Islands]. Obviously the way to go but we won’t see any of that here on Great Barrier Island, Auckland Council’s power and administrative arm is ever increasing and will certainly do its best to stay in charge of all interests in the city of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf.   Continue reading Chatham Islands (New Zealand) vs. Great Barrier Island (New Zealand)

Great Barrier Island (New Zealand) vs. King Island (Tasmania, Australia)

Let’s start with the obvious part of the comparison then. King Island has without question the cooler name. However, in my opinion, Great Barrier Island (Aotea) can immediately even the score as it enjoys a warmer climate. The distance between Aotea and Auckland – by far the biggest city of New Zealand – is about 100 km and you can get there via plane or ferry. King Island’s closest major city is Melbourne and the distance between them is circa 260 km. Zoom into the Google Map insert at the top of this post and you will see that both islands are shaped quite similarly. Actually strikingly similar. Much longer than wide, stretching from south to north with beautiful and rugged beaches and bays on the east and west coasts. King Island is approximatively three times the size of Aotea, is considerably flatter and has a population density of 1.57 per square kilometre (about 1800) compared to 3 per square kilometre (930), respectively. It is going to get really interesting when you do a Google search for both island.

Continue reading Great Barrier Island (New Zealand) vs. King Island (Tasmania, Australia)

Off Grid Power Systems III – Lead Acid Batteries

After discussing some properties of electricity and common methods to generate it, it is time to talk about how it can be stored. There are different types and designs of rechargeable batteries. This article is about deep cycle lead acid batteries. The principle difference between deep cycle lead acid batteries and those that are used in almost every car is the geometry of the electrodes. The former is designed to provide a small current over a long period (hours), while the latter to provide a large current for a short period (seconds). Continue reading Off Grid Power Systems III – Lead Acid Batteries