Being an off grid farm has been one of the biggest challenges we have had to work with so far. However, over the last few weeks I have come to realise that it has been an advantage. Had we had a grid connection, we would probably have shelved any ideas of renewable energy for sometime in the future. However, the monthly deliveries of diesel, and the regular re-assessing of our power usage has given us the impetus to act more urgently. So, over the summer, we have been busy self-installing a solar power system for the farm. We are so chuffed that it is up and running and now powering the farm office and workshop and more than half of the power requirements of the bakery. Having been so used to the connection between the power being on and the background hum of the generator, it is a quiet victory every time we switch off the generator and still have the ability to use power.
It has also made us seriously consider our electricity consumption. Just flicking the switch on our kettle, sucks a huge amount of power out of the batteries. Before using our solar system, I would think nothing of boiling the kettle, walking away, and coming back to re-boil. Seeing before our very eyes the huge dip this causes on our solar battery power has been an eye opener, and has seriously made me re-think how I use this valuable resource.
Now, we are busy assessing our bakery power usage and planning how and when to use certain appliances to get the most out of the energy available to us. We have obviously not been through a winter yet, which we know will add an extra dimension to this challenge, one which we will take head on.
If you would like to find out more about our self – installed solar power system, or would like to come and visit, we’d love to hear from you. You can also follow our journey at Lochaber farm here by signing up to our blog.