There has to be an easier way. We can do it ourselves, and do it better.
When Craig Simpson purchased his ex-farm block on the Tinopai peninsula in 2018, he knew he had a few challenges ahead to make it a comfortable place to live. What he didn’t expect was a $90k quote from Northpower to get power connected to the cabin he was planning to build. After receiving similarly large quotes from solar panel stores and big solar power companies, and facing unhelpful and unresponsive customer service when he asked about smaller DIY systems, he decided to do it himself.
With the help of his son Ethan, an electrical engineer, and his colleague Zed, he managed to learn about solar panels and components, and together they built an off-grid solar solution for a fraction of everyone else’s quote. This caused him to ponder how many other people were in this same position as him - wanting to power their off-grid home but saving money by setting things up themselves and skipping the unhelpful solar panel stores. He knew other people could build their own off-grid solar power solution if he provided them with kit sets and detailed instructions.
That was when GridFree was born, offering New Zealand's first DIY off grid solar kits.
Zed, Ethan, and Craig are now all shareholders in a successful business that has doubled in size every year since they started. The first year GridFree was run out of Craig’s garage and front room, and they've now expanded into a large warehouse in East Auckland.
The business was built off the back of feedback from our first customers - each one offered advice about how to improve the instruction manuals, the size of the kits, and information we offered online about solar panels, components, and our kits. We now receive many compliments from new customers who are pleasantly surprised to see a company that’s upfront with information and pricing, encourages people to DIY, and shows just how easy it is to install a kit with support that exceeds that of other solar panel stores. They’re always excited to learn how much power they can generate for a much lower price than they expected.
Over the course of the last five years, the GridFree team has helped hundreds of customers across New Zealand build a better life off the grid. These have ranged from people in the exact same position as Craig trying to build a homestead on rural land, to people building tiny homes and renovating caravans.
Our most popular kit is the Bach Kit - for $7500 you can power a fridge, lights, kettle, device chargers, television, water pump, and a number of other small appliances, even in winter. We've designed a range of DIY off-grid solar power kits for any application, and will happily customise a kit to suit your needs. And, if you're not comfortable with DIY, we've partnered with electricians around the country to do the install!
Our goal is to keep innovating in the off-grid solar market, so we can help customers have the luxury of electricity in the most remote places with the most cost-effective energy solution. We work hard to provide the resources you need to learn about solar panels, batteries, and beyond, becoming your one-stop for off-grid living.
Speak to one of our solar experts today to get a free consultation on your off-grid solar system. GridFree is 100% New Zealand owned and operated!
Purchasing the Land
Craig buys an ex-farm block, starts planning his cabin build, and gets a $90k quote from the power company.
The First Solar Kit
After finding no luck with existing solar companies, Craig, Ethan, and Zed install their own solar solution and get the idea to start GridFree.
GridFree starts from Craig's garage, with an aim to provide the DIY solutions and support that was lacking in the industry.
Our First Warehouse
From selling a couple of panels every few weeks to selling more than 20 kits every month, GridFree quickly grew and we soon needed to move into a proper warehouse.
GridFree continued to grow faster than we expected, and just 18 months after moving into our first warehouse, we upgraded to our current East Auckland location!