An off-grid story that will charge you up!

Being a successful headhunter in the UK since 2008 allowed Robert Hawcroft and his family the freedom to work and live from anywhere in the world. Yearning to live in nature, in a different culture, they decided to move to the Algarve mountains to seek a better, more grounded quality of life.

After realising there is no value in having an attachment to things but that the only important things in life are living beings and nature, they bought an 18-hectare farm in 2018. Located on the south side of Monchique towards Picota and facing the orange grove countryside of the beautiful Odelouca Valley, the area gave them the ‘wild environment’ they sought. It was a complete contrast from their suburban house in Cheshire, where they had brought up their two children for the last decade.

Besides the abundance of water their land offered from their private fonte (well), the possibility of living off the grid allowed them to free themselves from the constraints that come with relying on normal amenities. They also wanted to teach themselves and their children to value life less materialistically and more honestly. “Living off the grid teaches you to be more in tune with nature and more aware of your impact on your environment.” 

There is nothing more humbling than working with nature and, in 2018, the wildfires of Monchique unexpectedly showed them that the ‘wild environment’ that first attracted them to this region had a fierce temperament. They lost all their possessions and some animals as the fire swept through their land, leaving a barren, bleak and black-smouldering emptiness in front of them. 

The fire not only destroyed their dreams, but the psychological effects of this massive destruction lead to the end of the couple’s 17-year-long relationship. Rob describes his despair for the lost wildlife, vegetation and trees, adding, “The fire also had a huge negative mental impact on our family, and with it came a lot of difficult times and reflection.”

On a much-needed positive note, all the overgrown forest on their land was burnt to the ground, and so for them, the mammoth task of clearing this had now all disappeared. With the exposed landscape, it was now easier to see how they could progress their project and plan the site to set up their off-grid lifestyle with a new vision.

Even though they had separated, Rob and his wife worked together to build up what is now a fully functional and beautiful 18-hectare farm that sits beside its own water source, is fully off-grid, and only a 15-minute drive to all the facilities in Portimão. They also have approved planning permission to build a 250-square-metre house with ocean views. Originally their vision was to build this up as a family home and farm, but now that they have separated, the quinta is on the market.

The lesson that Robert learnt from all this was that power was the key to living off-grid. With his previous experience, he was able to easily set the farm up to be off-grid within a few months and he says that the most important thing is to be able to “use your power tools to maintain your land, pump water from a borehole or fonte to the rest of the land, and be able to use normal white goods like fridges, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers and things that keep you comfortable.” 

Friends started to seek advice from Rob about the best way to live off-grid and how to maximise the use of solar energy, and so the natural way forward was to provide a service that helped people to understand how to live off-grid and provide the systems to go with it. Algarve OffGrid was born. 

Rob emphasises that “living off-grid is not simple; it is a juggling act. You can’t turn on all your appliances at once, and you have to be mindful of what you use and when. This can be frustrating at times but gives you a real appreciation of exactly how much energy you are using and for what. It teaches you so much about your impact on this earth and empowers you to contribute towards the changes that are needed to help with the climate crisis.” 

I asked him why someone would choose his company to install solar panels over companies that already exist and allow you to tap into their already set up grid system. He answers confidently, “If you want to be fully in control of your power and not rely on systems that can charge extra at any notice or cut off your power at any time, then our solution is for you.” 

If you’d like to explore the possibility of living off the grid, Rob offers consultations throughout the Algarve region. Algarve OffGrid can install and set up your whole solar system. For more in-depth information, visit

If you are interested in purchasing his property, which is set up to enjoy an off grid lifestyle straight away, contact Robert on with reference ‘Tomorrow’. 


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