Now the darker cloudy days are outnumbering the brighter ones November is starting to impact on the amount of energy we generate daily. Nothing new then as we have learnt to live with seasons as I am sure all of those who are totally off grid like us do.
We are still drawing enough from the daylight hours to power the light, fridge, freezers and phone chargers but we have learnt a plan B is essential.
We invested in a 5KW generator a few years back and around the end of October each year it is pulled out of the shed and made ready for the colder months ahead. We also have a full size gas cooker in the utility area that we use to cook on during winter. This means that by cooking on this stove hooked up to a calor gas cylinder we don’t put pressure on the electric in order to eat. The wood stove is also used for the evening meals that can be left to slow cook all day with no cost there except a bit of wood collection and Simon loves to collect wood.
We generally have to put the generator on for around an hour every second day but we do check the weather reports a lot and a stretch of bad weather would see us putting it on for a short burst every day. The system is set up so it charges our battery banks and gives us enough to keep everything going when the light is not strong enough.
So how much does our energy cost per year then?
Last year we bought 4 gas cylinders at 30 Euros each and 125 Euros of petrol for the generator. So not too shabby really 245 Euros for the year. The water from the well is powered by the solar and our heat from wood which is from our land.
This year we have used 2 cylinders so far and I will probably have to source one just before Christmas – I generally find they last us about 10 weeks, this years usage (Jan -Mar and Oct – Dec) has been less as the summer was really good for us and we cooked on electric from April until middle of Sept.
As for the generator we have bought around 95 Euros of petrol and so we are on a par with last year, maybe a shade more.
This is a great lifestyle if you can be a bit creative and oh have a couple of really great torches, and when the lights go out expectedly?