Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

in a week



As I said to London yesterday, usually when everyone starts talking about power and amps and watts, my eyes glaze over and my mind wanders to what is for dinner. But this blog is to record everything and it can’t always be about sea lions and tomatoes. Living off grid, systems are the most important topic.. At every dinner party and coffee shop the topic always comes up. We are just about to head over to coffee shop.. AW isn’t here this weekend but we are all creatures of habit and can’t seem to help ourselves from going to her house on a Sunday morning. Whether she is here or not. I will update the latest in system news here for those of you who wont be at coffee today.

In order for us to have water in the house at SoHo we used to have to turn the generator on. It would pump the water straight from the well. Two winters ago E installed a 1000 gallon water tank ($1000.00) above the well. A 12 volt rv pump  ($200.00) pressurizes the water from the water tank to the house. Two golf cart type batteries are hooked up between the solar panels and the pump. ($280.00). We donated an extra charge controller and it is also connected between the panels and the batteries. (it would have cost $200.00) This system isn’t complicated and has simplified the use of SoHo by the five owners and their families.

When we first moved here to the north end there were 80 watts of solar panels on our roof. With the electronic gadgets we use ie. Television we needed more. We may be off grid but E likes his hockey and I like my movies. We removed the 4 X 20 watt panels and donated them to SoHo for the water pump. (The solar panel would have cost $250.00)  The panels have been sitting on the ground in the sun of the vegetable garden for the last two summers. We needed to get them higher to capture more sun.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At this house we replaced the 80 watts of panels with the old panels from the W’s house. They had upgraded to 1000 watts and sold us their old ones. Last winter we used those panels which amounted to 300 watts.

Last week we brought 3 treated ten foot 2 X 4’s over to the island. The 2X4’s cost $20.00. Yesterday E spent the whole day down there installing a frame. It had to be built-in the eight foot gap between the two back fence posts. There is a lot of extra space on the frame but it fits nicely. There is a lot of sun in that spot and there will be more when the apple trees are pruned.  The picture was taken at the end of the day, normally those panels sit in full sun. He has to go back today to tidy up the wiring and then it should be done. With E’s free labor and our donated items SoHo got a really great new water system for less than $1500.00.

He has now purchased our new panels. They are sitting in the studio ready for the next project. We (royal we) are going to take the 300 watt panels off of our roof and put them on the studio roof to power his tools and perhaps eventually the well pump.. The B’s have also upgraded their solar panel system and given us four of their older ones. They gave us 4 X 75 watt panels. So with their four and the four currently on our roof we will have a total of 8 X 75 watt panels on the roof of the studio.. Total 600 watts of power..

The new 4 X 250 watt panels will go on our roof.. 1000 watts to power the house lights and electronic gadgets.

The new panels are going to make a huge difference to us. It can’t come too soon. Hockey starts

in a week


Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

2 thoughts on “in a week

  1. Just went through something similar. I get it. It is definitely a good thing that PV panels have come down in price. Makes you drunk with power! See: and go back to August sometime. See pic. Imagine the thrill. Wife was same as you……watts, amps, zaps, ohms and Gawd-knows-what-all until she could iron her quilt-in-the-making. NOW she is fully onside.

    • We are looking forward to the new power. We realized last winter just how much untapped power we have (sunshine). Very exciting indeed!!!
      Working towards one day having a sunfrost fridge… that is my dream…..
      thanks for reading……

Leave a Reply