Category Archives: Off-Grid

Off Grid Power Systems II – Generating Power

In part one I wrote about some practical properties of electricity and energy, in this part I write briefly about realistic ways of generating electricity for off grid home use.  Focusing on costs of setups and on quantifying how much power is generated. Part III will be about storing electricity, maintaining batteries, charge controllers and DC-AC inverters.

This is a comment I added to the previous post (Off Grid Power Systems I – Electricity):

  • To gain a better understanding of quantities like power, voltage, current, charge, etc., it is helpful to consider the analogy to flowing water.

There are basically five realistic ways to generate electricity: Continue reading Off Grid Power Systems II – Generating Power

Off Grid Power Systems I – Electricity

If you are interested in off grid power systems and/or already rely on them – as we all do more or less here on Great Barrier Island – you may ask: ‘How much do I need to know about things like photovoltaics, wind-power, batteries and electricity?’

The answers are straight-forward. You don’t need to know anything, a tradesman/-woman will sort you out and you can know as much as you want about these topics. It is 2013 folks, just type what you don’t know into a search engine and you will be presented with brief and exhaustive explanations.

My intention here is to provide you with a conceptual understanding – if you will a foundation or framework that allows you to build up further knowledge – and to also give you some rudimentary examples and calculations. I’m not an electrician and am also not in the business of providing off grid power solutions. My motivation is to share with you what I know and obviously also to continue learning via this process. Continue reading Off Grid Power Systems I – Electricity

I’m Not Going Into Detail

I got home quite late today after work, usually I’ll be in La-La-Land by now but instead I’m going to write this post. I went to a talk today about batteries – as you know there is no reticulated power here on the island and thus knowledge about off-grid power systems is somewhat vital – and when the highly experienced speaker mentioned at the beginning of his lecture that ‘he will not go into detail’ and that we, i.e. Great Barrier Island, have pioneered off-grid power systems, I felt a bit like being back at university. I hope I don’t get into trouble for posting this picture, but since I took a screen-shot of a very recent advertising campaign (which is online at the time I’m publishing this), I’d assume it is the same as providing a link.


Continue reading I’m Not Going Into Detail

Independent, Off-The-Grid Lifestyle – is only a dream

Living off the grid, on a remote and at times isolated island, is certainly a lifestyle (choice) which many seem to be in some form or another dreaming of. Imagining a life in harmony with nature, where ecological sustainability is a top priority, where one seeks not only financial security or independence but also independence from what I will just call ‘the system’ for the remainder.

Not likely the most adequate term for what I am thinking of, thus let me describe the reference. Well, in simple terms, I believe that there is this generic idea, which is taught repeatedly, of establishing financial independence, thus aiming at a comfortable lifestyle.

Continue reading Independent, Off-The-Grid Lifestyle – is only a dream