Weekend Coffee Share: Going Off-The-Grid

If we were having coffee I would tell you about the week that was very busy indeed. I had three early mornings and I honestly did not know if I was going to make it.

I eventually did, and despite the coffee I was bleary eyed until about 10am. At night, after I got home I came alive. That is the way my system functions. I am a nocturnal creature and the ideal time for me to get to work is 10am.

I managed to snap photos of the sunrise which was beautiful on that day. I do not often get pics of sunrises because I am not usually awake at that time. If you look back at my pics you will see a lots of sunset photos.

Joburg sunrise by reginamartins.com Joburg sunrise by reginamartins.com

If we were having coffee we would talk about how winter sunsets are so vivid with colours that an artist would find difficult to mix. We would discuss how ironic it is that the smog and the smoke which lies over the city in winter is equivalent to filters which make things so beautiful. It kind of does not go together – pollution is not beautiful – and yet the filters it provides are breathtaking.

If we were having coffee we spend the rest of the time talking about the loadshedding situation in South Africa, and about our plans to go off the grid. This is going to happen in stages on account of it being so expensive. I saw a BBC interview of two South African families who had gone completely off the grid. They spoke of amounts in the region of $50,000 (USD) to go completely off. That is a helluva amount of money and not many people in this country have that spare.

Che and I have planned going off the grid in iterations. The goal for the first iteration is to bridge the 2 to 3 hour loadshedding on most days (which sometimes happen when we are trying to get dinner going). The first iteration does not take into account the geyser which is a big consumer, so we will work around this for now. The second iteration is to have the fridge on a separate system so that it can run continuously for longer than a few hours.

Electronics is Che’s thing and we have chosen the combination of inverters and batteries as the main solution. The iteration after that will to be charge the batteries using solar. The next problem to tackle is the geyser and the pool pump. These are high consumers. Solar is the way to go.  A generator is the most effective stop-gap solution but it is not the permanent one.

We are so fortunate here in Gauteng in that most of the year we have sunlight, even in winter. It would be a shame not to make use of it.

We would lament at how the South African power system will be constrained for the next two to three years (given the labour disputes which are continuous and ongoing at the new power stations construction) I think it will be much longer than this. Hence the investment is a worthwhile one. I am certain that our solution will be an economical one. We want to keep the minimum running – we do not have to have the whole house lit up, and the geyser only needs to heat up water for showering. Cooking is on gas. In my view it is important to be smart about this and spend money on where it will add the most value.

Well, that is it for now, I want to do some prep work for the outcomes I want to achieve next week.

Why not go along and have coffee with other Weekend Coffee Share Bloggers? Just click here to go there.

Part of a weekly blog link-up hosted by Diana over at Part Time Monster.


6 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share: Going Off-The-Grid”

  1. First the photos are awesome,well done for managing to catch the sunrise like you say the colours can never be produced even by the best artist there is but only by someone beyond ourselvs.
    I am impressed by the plans you have to manage the load shedding, as you are aware I was home in Zimbabwe in May where the situation can never be described as load shedding anymore but simply un attainable by most people. Sometimes the electricity is offfor more than three days.
    My sister had to install a generator, a borehole to ensure water supply for day to day use. I may recommend to her considering installing solar systems. Thank you for all the tips I will pass themon to her since the situation there is not likely to improve for a while.
    Mabel Rudo Nyazika recently posted…The Early YearsMy Profile

    1. Thank you for your lovely words !
      It sounds very tough in Zim, here in SA we hear about the tough times people are having there, so we are still quite fortunate here in SA. In these times it is best to be self-sufficient like your sister.

  2. You are right about the colors in the sunset. I know when there are wild fires out here, the byproduct is often a series of gorgeous sunsets. The same was true after volcanic eruptions. I’ve always thought that some of the most beautiful photos are of fire, as treacherous as they are, they make stunning photographs.
    Corina recently posted…Busy, Tired, SleepyMy Profile

    1. That’s so true about the colours of fire!
      Yesterday’s sunset was like there was a fire in the west (I’m getting all poetic now ).
      Hope you have an awesome week!

  3. Funny that I’ve just read this. We’re seriously considering getting an inverter too and we’re looking at a solar geyser but it’s so expensive. Your photos are lovely! Hope this week is less frantic!

    1. Thanks, I’m going to take it slowly-ish .
      There are solar geyser DIY kits which make it more economical, if DIY is your thing.
      Hope you have an awesome week!

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