Our Off Grid Experience
Like most families that move to Puna on the Big Island, we were head over heels in
love with the ideology of what going off grid is all about. Raising our two boys, in the jungle, homesteading the land, yadda, yadda. Except when you’ve never lived off grid before, the reality sets in. It’s not too functional, or so we thought.
We started on a ridiculously small budget, two panels, an energy efficient freezer, and two LED lights. It was a 12 volt system. We literally threw thousands of dollars away throughout the years, because we always bought the “most affordable” option. We fried countless cobra inverters, lived off of flashlights, and candles because our batteries were on the way out and we couldn’t afford new ones, threw food away from thawing too many times. I could go on and on.
So what’s the point to all of this grumbling? We then invested in our first real good quality system. We popped for the Outback inverter, had a proper battery bank, bought more than enough panels, and life went from black to white. We were charging an EV, and using all regular appliances in Mountain View of all places. For those of you who are unaware, Mountain View is the rainiest, cloudiest spot in all of Hawaii, so if we were thriving here, it was clear anyone could thrive off grid, with the appropriate system for their area and needs.
For years, I remember throwing on my mud boots, filling the generator with gas, turning
it on, going back inside, firing up my blender, and from time to time the generator pops. You do it all over again, and finally have your smoothie.
After we invested in the proper system, I remember that first morning I woke up, and just simply made a smoothie, then proceeded to get dinner ready and leave the crock pot on all day. It was like a miracle. It completely revolutionized the way we were living.
We understand more than anyone what it’s like to live with hardly any means, which is why we designed some of our kits to be expandable, for those on a budget, meaning buy the good quality inverter, and proper battery bank, and in the future, add more panels. We spent too much wasted money in cheap China made products over and over again, that we would have been able to pay for an Outback inverter from the get go.
The best analogy I can think of, is the beater car. You know the one that seems to need 500-1000 a month, until it just dies, whereas if you were to invest into a decent car, it just works, and you might have to put a major repair once a year?
So learn from us, and others we’ve seen throughout the years, set up your system from the get go to maximize your dollars.