Harvesting Your Own Energy and Water
Back on land, part of the catch disappears in the freezer. “It runs entirely on solar energy”, Hervé says. Next to the house is his installation: a double row of large solar panels with a watertight box underneath that contains the batteries. “We pay a monthly fee for the panels, batteries, refrigerator and freezer. After 15 years they are ours”, Hervé explains. “We are not connected to the electricity grid, but cover all our energy needs with solar energy.”
Right next to the solar panels is also a large, round tank. It is connected to the house’s roof via an extended gutter. “All the water that we use in the house and in the garden is collected rainwater”, explains Hervé. “We always have enough.”
The family clearly arranges a lot themselves, but also needs money – for example, for the education of Alan and Ariki, their two sons. Valérie tells us that she has turned her hobby into a source of income. “I make portraits and drawings with different colors of sand. Watch.” She pulls out a roll of self-adhesive paper that shows the contours of a sailing boat and palm trees. “Many of my clients are sailors. I draw their sailboat and add symbols of French Polynesia. Or I make portraits.” She walks to the laptop. In disbelief, we look at her artwork on screen. Are they really drawn with sand? They look like photos, so realistic.