be [em]powered by nature

Total Solar Panels

Total Batteries

Power Systems

Off-Grid Since

2024 Update

My dream for 2024 is to be able to invest in a large, brand new battery bank!

So far the lingering darkness of 2023 has rolled over into the new year, with less than a handful of full sunny days.

With only 4 batteries, and a failing back-up battrey bank we continue minimalist power consumption practices.

2023 Update

We celebrated surviving 12 Years Off Grid in December of 2023!

2023 was one of the worst years of solar power generation since we began this journey in 2011!
It was ROUGH!

To make matters worse, our main battery bank finally expired.
Having been in use for over 10 years we certainly got our money’s worth.

We were able to buy 4 brand new batteries. And that is the sum total of storage capacity that I have!

It was difficult from April 2023 to December 2023 with frequent power outages, and waking up to no power in the morning.
We had to transfer the water pump to the secondary power system we created and return to very minimalist power usage.

With the price of fuel increasing, instead of relying on the generator to recharge out battery bank, we have been using the second, back up battery bank.
We have it set up with a switch so we can change which bank is powering the house and the regulator/charge controller is programmed to charge the main bank first and then switch to charge the second bank.

We were able to pick up some more used batteries for our back-up battery bank, and a heavy frame to store them in.

2022 Update

11th Year Off Grid!

Mar 2022:

I am waiting to hear the result of an application I submitted in Feb.
The outcome of this will impact the rest of 2022 for me.

Jan – Feb 2022:

Installed a 2nd Separate Off Grid Power System!

This new system includes:
9 new 400 watt solar panels
3 new batteries
A 5kw inverter/charger/controller

This second system is separate from my home.

It does power the electric for my hot water cylinder in my house!

This is a huge relief!
I am able to keep the water hot easily with the electric.
And be able to operate other appliances concurrently.

Previously – I could only run the electric for the cylinder if it was super sunny, there was excess power and nothing other than the fridge was operating…

My house inverter is 3kw.
The cylinder element was almost 3kw.
New 5kw inverter in the second system.
Now I easily switch on the hot water cylinder with no impact on my day to day operations!

Speaking of hotwater cylinders…

We had to replace our 10 year old hot water cylinder because it started leaking.
The cylinder had a 7 year warranty, so we got an extra 3 years.

Our plumber also found it had been installed incorrectly in the first place!
So we were extremely lucky to have had 10 years without any major leaks.

2022 System Status:

House power system – 16 batteries in original bank, 4 batteries in second/backup bank, 18 solar panels
Second power system – 3 batteries, 9 solar panels


For friends of the podcast who listened to Sunshine & PowerCuts on Podbean, you will find that it is no longer separately hosted there.

You can still listen on Podbean here.

This does not affect the podcast distribution to any other platform,.
It was just too expensive to host it separately on Podbean as well.

The aim is still to create monthly episodes.

And I really appreciate everyone who has supported me on my journey especially since 2019!

🔌  🌊

Resource Consumption
From my 2021 update you may remember that we had been burdened with accommodating extra people since the end of 2019…

As of Feb 2022 – this has been resolved with the second power system operational and an additional water tank!

From Jan  2022 til Feb 2022 we were on strict water restrictions due to a drought. But thankfully the rain has arrived and refilled the tanks.

2021 Update

 The 10th year of this off-grid journey!

10 years of success and tribulations.

2020 System Status:
In mid 2020, 1 series of 4 batteries were removed from the set-up due to a battery within that series failing. Bringing the total number of batteries in the bank down from 20 to 16.

The 12 solar panels were still going, but have always been not quite enough to capture as much of the low sunshine hours the region gets at only 2.5kw.


Also since the end of 2019, the journey has been particularly difficult resulting in the extended long dark of the podcast.
However, the podcast continues to reach people, and it is still having a positive impact which is awesome!

Thank you to everyone who nominated Sunshine & PowerCuts for the first NZ Podcast Awards in 2021.


Increased Resource Consumption
The house has also had to accommodate extra people since the end of 2019, with an undetermined date of relief… which means demand and consumption has been higher on both water and power.


2021 Solar Panel Upgrade
So to help get through as the battery bank capacity is lower and the consumption is higher,
we invested in another 6 solar panels that are larger both in terms of physical size, and productivity, as well as efficiency.

We now have 18 solar panels that produce 5kw of power, with so far a max production of up to 19kwh on a clear sunny summer day! It has made a huge difference already.


2021 Battery Bank Upgrade
A huge thank you to a connection that allowed us to acquire some 2nd hand batteries in 2021 which have formed a back-up battery bank of 8 gel batteries.
This has reduced the reliance on the back-up generator and increased the storage capacity.


2023 Highlights

Sunshine Hours: Lowest hours recorded since 2011.

Main Battery Bank: Down to only 4 batteries

Water pump moved to second power system.

2022 Highlights:

House Power System
– 18 panels
– 16 batteries in main bank
– 4 batteries in backup bank

Second Separate System
– 9 solar panels
– 3 batteries
5kw inverter/charger/controller

2021 Highlights:

18 Solar Panels
2 Banks of Batteries
The original battery bank: 16 batteries
New back-up bank: 8 batteries

Podcast Updates:

Moving to one episode, released monthly. Sharing the off-grid journey.

No longer hosted separately with Podbean due to the cost.

It is still available on Podbean here.

Just Heather's

Launched January 2021.

A place to collect all the projects and share things that I make and am enjoying outside of this off-grid journey.

Link in the header menu above, or click below to

2021 marked the 10th Anniversary of this Off-Grid Journey!

Sharing the journey since 2017

Sunshine & PowerCuts
Instagram / Twitch / Twitter

Thank you to everyone who has discovered, listened to, shared and supported the Sunshine & PowerCuts journey!

Off-Grid since 2011

This journey began with one solar panel, one battery, and a home built in “spare time”…

Relying on nature for power in a region that records one of the lowest sunshine hours per year.

Discovering empowerment from the examples drawn from nature.

"We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves."

— Andy Goldsworthy —

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.”


— Alice Walker —

Take Back Your Power!

Reconnect, Resync, Recharge

Be [em]Powered by nature

Listen to the Podcast

7 Days of Sunshine Challenge

7 Days of Sunshine Challenge created by Sunshine & PowerCuts

Sunshine Summit Livestreams

Sunshine Summit Livestreams

be [em]Powered by nature