While scrolling through our photos it made me realise how far we had come and what we had achieved. With so much to do still it is easy to think that we had not been effective. So before I forgot what the photos indicated of our progress I thought I would write a few words to both document and inform of this progress. So starting after we moved in here is a wander through some key moments:
Then the 'honeymoon' time turns to some reality and I soon realised that having an off grid house meant I needed to up my game and get to know more about things like our Solar Power system. This explains the picture above of our Outback Charge Controller or as I initially knew it 'that black box thing with numbers'. Dusting down my schoolboy memories of Watts, Volts and Amps I was certain that being of a logical mind that all would soon make sense. Later on the same day I had some doubts so resorted to on line to videos posted by others and my doubts grew. The system worked and we had stripped down to the bare basics of electrical need (even the large flat screen TV was still in a box) so all was ok but being a curious soul I wondered what would happen when the sun eventually did not shine all day and how did we know if we were still ok to have power? Then the power went off - we rushed out to buy a generator (the one we inherited did not work) and limped through for a few weeks until we arranged for a new install by our local Ferreteria. This local contact has proved extremely helpful since and has helped me feel a lot more comfortable about how much I don't yet know. This lack of knowledge clearly extends to generators as ours died just before the re-install of the Solar System.
The picture below left shows the new inverter (the old one burnt out), extra charge controller to support our expanded solar panel array seen below left from our kitchen window and below right from our porch window. Note that before there were panels half blocking these views so this improvement had the additional benefit of the view and letting in more light. We have also added a back up generator (see picture below right) and have plans to replace the batteries as 4 of the 12 do not retain their charge and are deteriorating over time. If we manage to replace the batteries before they completely fail then this will be the first time we have introduced a solution before the previous item failed. This is why we have the generator in place first - so if all else fails we still have power.
Frances and Barry Copping bought Xalet Pigall in 2015. They are working towards resilience and self-sufficiency.