Humming Generators

As you venture across our island, beyond the sound of waves crashing, birds chirping and bees buzzing, you might just hear the distant hum of a generator. Back in the day, households and businesses had to rely on diesel generators for power – these days, with the advances in solar and battery technology, you’ll only hear the odd one. Most houses use solar panels and a battery bank to create and store their energy.

Solar Energy

Solar technology has advanced, but the energy still needs to be stored for use. Locals prioritise their power needs and schedule their daily usage around the sun. For example, on a really sunny day, batteries can be full by 10am – a great time to put the washing on! Once that energy is used, you have the rest of the day’s sun to fill up the batteries again, ready for power you need after sundown. Battery systems have improved hugely over the years, but things like toasters, jugs, hair driers and other high-energy appliances are still rarely seen on the Barrier, simply because they draw so much power.

Electric Car Charging points

The shopping complex in Claris is a remarkable example of what can be done with a solar array. The Pigeon Post, Claris store, launderette, gas station, Rocks Bottle Shop, and My Fat Puku cafe all use energy from an array of solar panels that runs along the back of the complex.

Electric cars can also be charged here.

Our top tips for visitors when it comes to power:
  • The ‘thing’ that looks like a weird cheese grater in the kitchen – that’s an old school toaster for use on the gas hob.
  • Leave all your high energy drawing appliances at home – hair driers, rice cookers, jugs, straighteners… Our power systems are our lifeline and they’re expensive. Damage caused by these kinds of appliances can take a long while to recoup for a property owner, so please be respectful of this. When you realise no-one straightens their hair on holiday here, you’ll get into the groove.
  • Don’t worry! Many of our visitors don’t even notice we are off-grid, or they even choose our destination because we’re off-grid… you’ll soon realise there are quite a few perks.
Solar panel installation at Glenfern Sanctuary above Port FitzRoy
The most energy efficient way to explore the Barrier. On a solar powered Motorbike
Solar and wind powered community radio station, Aotea FM.
The infamous toaster