(written by Jon Parker, BloomfieldCamping)
2 years ago we purchased a plot of land with the intention of setting up a small Glamping site. Whilst we had wanted to have some systems that were off grid and had Eco credentials, we are no Eco Warriors and didn’t envisage it becoming a completely off grid site.
This changed with a £24,000 quote from the Electrical companies to bring power down a small lane. There was no way that we had the budget for this and so we needed to look at other options. We had no knowledge of the solar market going into this and so were really at the mercy of companies advertising online and the systems that they proposed. The more that we talked to companies it quickly became clear that they were only pushing single products that they, presumably, had the best mark up on. This didn’t give us a warm feeling at all as we wanted to hear about the solution that would be best for our needs, not for their pockets.
Amidst all of the chaff and pushy sales people, Off-Grid Europe stood head and shoulders above everyone else that we had replies from. Not only did they listen and engage to gain an understanding of our requirements but they proactively changed components to best suit our needs. We instantly felt comfortable with them and after a few more conversations and tweaks, placed our order.
Our Glamping site is only small and has a maximum occupancy of 10 adults and 10 children but we didn’t want there to be any compromise in what we offer. The requirement for power is for the shower/toilet block and for a reception/office. We are also off grid for sewage and grey waste and so needed power for a packaged sewage system along with the lights, washing machine, freezer, hair drier and straighteners. As the location is extremely quiet we were also keen not to need to run a generator too much and so had some backup capacity built into the system for cloudy days. We have 12 panels, 8 Rolls batteries and a 3KW inverter.
The install team that Off-Grid Europe put us in touch with were fantastic, professional and obviously knew their stuff. All of this went extremely well and in late summer 2013 we were up and running. I was going to write this at the end of last year but then wanted to wait to see how the system worked over its first year. I can honestly say that the package that Off-Grid Europe have put together for us has been fantastic and met every requirement.
We are now well into our first full season and for the second half of our season have had 95% occupancy. Despite the demands of this the system has not missed a beat and there has been no compromise at all in anything that we can offer the campers. We had an ongoing problem with our generator provider during the start of the year that meant we needed to make some programming changes to the system when replacements came to site but despite this being over 6 months after install we continued to be impressed by how much time the guys had for us to talk us through these issues and to offer advice on generator options even though this was not part of their works. Whilst it’s not the biggest system that we have here it is an integral part of our site and is essential for our operation. It was also one of our largest purchases and so had a lot riding on it and the potential to be a headache for us with such a lack of knowledge.
The process though has been one that has been enjoyable and hassle free and this is down to the knowledge and professionalism of the Off-Grid Europe team. Thoroughly recommended.