Back in early December, at the start of the wet season, Oliver from Saltwater Solar and the whole team from Speargrass - all 5 of them - travelled out to Bluewater, near Bulman, where we reinstated an offgrid solar energy system in the homestead there prior to a Mimal ranger and his family moving in.
300 kilometers in a landcruiser on that Bulman road knocked the spare tire off the trailer and made our brains rattle so much even the non-stop gems from the kids joke book started to make sense (sample below). We were glad to see some familiar faces when we made our camp at Weemol that night. This solar system was installed at the ranger base several years ago, but became redundant when the ranger base expanded and town power was connected from Bulman. We were contracted directly by the newly independent Mimal Land Management Aboriginal Corporation to move this system and reinstate it across the river at Bluewater. Terry and some other rangers helped us move the solar panels and batteries over in a couple of landcruisers to save time and with a steady eye on the building rain clouds we got it all going again in three days.
Things to note: The solar panels all checked out ok except for the one that had been smashed. But the batteries on the other hand had been attacked by termites. Yes, termites had eaten through the 20mm thick ABS plactic base of 3 heavy duty Sonnenschein Gel cells. The Clean Energy Council never warned us about that! It was not such a surprise to Luke, though, who lives proper off grid and has had a plastic water tank chewed through before. If our termites were thirsty they would have got a rude shock when they tasted that sulfuric acid electrolyte. Surprisingly no great harm done. We drilled and plugged the holes with silicone and the battery voltage held up well under load. Perhaps we will have to get this included in the CEC training documents.
See that Telstra phone booth in frame above the solar panels? It rang one day. It's a pretty remote camp and has been uninhabited for years. Wandrick's cousin answered it and talked for an hour or so. It was someone selling NBN internet packages. They bought one. Is that even possible out there? I have no idea, we just install the solar systems.
Two months after the actual events, our social media-savvy marketing department is rushing to squeeze this update out in the "golden hour" of posting between 4 and 5pm in Darwin. Until next time, this is a joke: "What happened to the foolish tap-dancer? he fell in the sink".