A highland fling

our wee adventure on the Black Isle

Sorting out our off-grid life!


Tomorrow’s the day it starts. Why, you ask? Well, it’s supposed to stop raining for a day!!

Tomorrow is the day that we start to sort out our electrical system. We hope. It will start with changing over the batteries (for the third time). Next, comes changing the charge regulator – for the 9th time. Then, finally, we will take the windmill down (second time) to see why it is vibrating. The solar panels are fine, always have been – touch wood!

So potentially, this means by the end of the week, we will have a perfectly working system. Again, we hope. I’m not trying to say it’s been all bad – it hasn’t. Much of the time, the system has worked well enough. It just feels like it’s always in the back of our minds, so that we worry when on vacation, or when the wind is extreme.

I have a theory about the whole thing. Renewable systems have been around for quite a long time, but it has only been recently that they have been used ‘in anger’ – to power entire households, for example, rather than as adjuncts to the main grid. The components work well enough, but when you put together a full system, they work … ok… but not perfectly or worry-free (which was what we specified when we started out).

It reminds me of big, complex software systems – for the NHS, for example. Each component works as it should (mostly) but when you put it together with other systems, there is always a weak point. Sometimes the system never works perfectly.

Of course, it doesn’t help that we have extreme conditions here. The winds can gust to over 100 kph. The sun is ferocious. But the conditions are not so unusual that you shouldn’t expect the system to work.

I remain optimistic for some reason. I think this week will finally sort everything out. And we will have the modern, trouble-free system that we paid for, and have always wanted.

Author: Ann Larson

One-time IT executive who lives on a 22 acre olive farm in Spain with husband Kenton and 2 boxer dogs. We make Yunquera Gold olive oil, and soap and skincare products from same. We aim to make natural, fresh, and handmade products at affordable prices!

3 thoughts on “Sorting out our off-grid life!

  1. Living off grid is probably not easy to begin with. It seems your living off grid has been coupled with extra troubles this season. I love hearing about your system regardless. It is interesting.

    My dream always has been to live off grid. I may be changing my mind.

    Optimism doesn’t change the physical circumstances, but it helps us to feel better in mind and body. That is my take anyhow.

    Bet of luck with your no rain day.


    • Living off grid is still the choice I would make, regardless of our troubles.

      I like the independence, the lack of monthly bills, the control over finances. I also have a bit of a giggle when we have lights on in big storms but the town below has lost their electricity!

      Having said that, this week I probably would choose to live ON grid! Next week it will be ok again.

      I agree with your comments on optimism – well put!


  2. Part one completed – new batteries installed !