Thursday, November 14, 2019
About being off-grid
I've been thinking about writing a blogpost about being off-grid for a while, but somehow I just can't find the right way to write about it. There's so much to say, but I don't want to get too technical about it. Also, how boring can it get? Very boring, I think.
But... Carole's Three on Thursday saves the day. Listing three things about living this way sounds completely doable. So here we go. Three things I want to share about us being off-grid.
1. We're completely off-grid (for electricity only, we do have water), but that was not exactly what we wanted. Our plan was to have enough solar panels and batteries to get us through the day and night, but with net electricity as back-up for cloudy days or days that need just a little bit more electricity. But that didn't happen. We found out that we need to get our wiring certified (after they told us we didn't have to), but can't afford the cost of the survey right now. So we're making do with being off-grid, even though it wasn't the plan. It was frustrating at first, but we love a challenge.
2. I actually like being very aware of how I use electricity. I can't just switch on the washing machine whenever I want (have to wait for the batteries to be fully loaded again, or ask T. to run the generator). I can't use (and therefore don't even own) a dishwasher, a coffee machine, a slow cooker, a microwave, a toaster or any electrical appliance like that. Well, I could during a sunny day (and we have lots of those), but I'm so used to doing without now, that I don't want to invest in luxury I don't really need.
We do have a refrigerator and can charge our laptops and phones whenever we need to. We have (LED) lights throughout the house (and outside) and can run (ceiling) fans when we need to. I find that's enough (T. would like an air conditioner as soon as we get connected to the net because he gets too hot most nights, but I'd rather do without).
I love being mindful of things I used to take for granted, while still living comfortably and being able to use some of the modern technology that I really wouldn't want to lose (internet, washing machine, sewing machine).
3. Last week, there was an island-wide power outage, that lasted 17 hours.
We didn't even realize something was going on until our internet failed. T. messaged a friend of ours that works at the provider (we had an issue with the company the week before and he thought they switched us off again) and that was when he heard there was an outage. The provider had good generators though, so six minutes later we had internet again and life went on as usual in our house. I had done some major grocery shopping a few days earlier, so there was no need to go to town. And that was great because things quickly turned into chaos all over the island. Traffic lights not working, gas stations not being able to use the pumps, atm's out of power and swiping not possible too, shops and schools closed... Oh my.
We've never been so glad we decided to invest in solar power...