Greens leader Richard Di Natale chose to go off-grid 10 years ago, largely because of the huge costs of connecting his then weekender and now family home to the grid.
The utility wanted to charge him $15,000 to connect to the grid – even a decade ago, so Di Natale and his family decided to for solar, battery storage, and some back-up power on their 50 acre farm in the Otway Ranges near Melbourne.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to convert the sun into useable energy,” Di Natale tells One Step Off The Grid’s Emma Sutcliffe in an interview.
“Of course, as someone’s who committed to the environment and committed to sustainability, the idea of not having to rely on brown coal to generate power was very appealing to me and it’s a lovely feeling that we’re not contributing to another hole in the ground every time we flick a switch.”
Di Natale says the biggest drawback of living off-grid is heating, but despite the initial anxieties about maintenance, equipment upgrades and some other ‘mild annoyances’ he’d always choose to live off-grid.
“I see an energy future that will be distributed. We currently have a technology that’s challenging the existing business model, it’s turning it on it’s head and threatening the big power companies who have been these centralised sources of power distributed across the nation.
“So we’ll start seeing a more decentralised model that will put control in the hands of the consumer who’ll be able to access battery storage and decided how and when they’ll access the grid and give them a lot more flexibility.”
For the full story, and the details of his system, please go to our new website, focused on the consumer, One Step Off The Grid.