On the 5th-7th of May, Great Barrier Island in New Zealand was host to the 3-day event, Off the Grid, and the Ubco 2×2.
Off the Grid, organized by Orla Cumisky, aimed to explore and discuss the challenges and opportunities that living off the grid poses.
There was a series of workshops on various topics, including solar installations, water quality, transport and the community’s view on the islands special nature. Ubco was invited to present the 2×2 as a possibility of transportation on the island. As fuel is a premium on the island, costing about 3 times what it is on the main land, the Ubco, with its electric nature, provides an economical and environmentally friendly solution.
Great Barrier Island is a hidden gem; a pioneering island in some ways. Wind turbines lay seized and abandoned in the long grass, a tribute to an early maintenance fraught generation. Now only a hand full of working wind turbines remain, replaced with low cost, low maintenance solar energy options.
The island now strives for silence, with owners installing new modern systems, with the aim of silencing the generators which once echoed through the valleys.
Next is the car.
With off grid systems getting better, the first electric cars are arriving on the island. For most, this is an out of reach proposition, but the Ubco offers a low energy solution to getting around the island, which appeals to many.
One highlight of the trip was the installation of a large solar array for the Claris Shopping Centre. This 30kw array will be tied to a 100kwh Tesla Commercial Powerwall. The owner of the installation saw the potential for a rental fleet of UBCO bikes to soak up his summer surplus. So watch out Great Barrier Island, you may be seeing the Ubco 2×2 on you shores soon.
Ubco would like to extend a huge thank you to Orla and the community on Great Barrier Island for such a welcoming and accepting time on your beautiful island. May it stay that way, and may Ubco be a part of your off-the-grid lifestyle and help enhance the serenity of the Barrier.