IT used to be nightly chore with locals rushing to complete tasks get things done before the lights went out and electricity was switched off until early the followingnext morning.

Everything after that had to be was after that was carried out by candlelight or torch, and the long, drawn-out winter evenings became a particular challenge as the intermittent energy supply meant little could get done.

But today the remote Fair Isle - located halfway between Orkney and Shetland, and famous for its geometric and colourful knitwear - finally receives guaranteed electricity 24 hours a day as a new £3.5 million supply goes live.

It comes more than two centuries s after Michael Faraday invented the electric motor and almost 100 years since Stanley Baldwin established the national grid.

Now all Fair Isle inhabitants will have the simple pleasure of instant hot water at any time.

Islanders previously faced lights-out between 11.30pm and 7.30am as there was insufficient wind to generate power round-the-clock24 hours a day via a wind turbine and diesel generators.

The island has been using a combination of wind and diesel power generation since the 1980s, but only one of the existing two wind turbines has been working and it only operated intermittently overfor the past three years.

Electricity generated could not be stored and there was no space for new customers, so community group the Fair Isle Electricity Company led plans to install three 60kW wind turbines, a 50kW solar array and battery storage.

The scheme has extended a high-voltage network to the north of the three-mile long island to enable grid connections to water treatment works, the airstrip, the harbour and one of the main attractions on an island famed for its birdlife - the Fair Isle Bird Observatory.

Community-led Fair Isle Electricity Company (FIEC), which led the project, now hopes it will help boost the population and make life easier for islanders.

FIEC director Robert Mitchell said: “As an important project in a fragile rural area, having reliable renewable power will make a huge difference now and in the future, and we hope that it will encourage more people to come and live on the island.

“It also provides a great opportunity for more businesses to start here.”

The idea to revamp the power scheme has been one of the main issues raised by the island’s residents over severalthe last number of years.

Fair Isle is home to 50,000 puffins but the number of people haslevels of people have dropped to critically low levels. Only 55 living there now - the lowest in several years.

Round-the-clock electricity also comes 70 years after the island faced complete evacuation, like the Hebrides archipelago of St Kilda.

But in 1948 the island’s owner, George Waterson, founded the Bird Observatory, which helped to bring in visitors and boost the economy.

In 1954, Waterson also sold the island to the National Trust for Scotland, which helped to modernise housing and improve transportation.

And while the population is still considerably smaller than its previous peak height of almost 400, new people and ideas are helping to keep the island’s community sustainable.

Around 55 people now live on Fair Isle and Islanders have always stressed, however, that the hardships of life there require people of a practical nature.

One of Britain’s most remote inhabited islands, Fair Isle is raised by precipitous cliffs.

It is served by a 25-minute plane flight or a two2-and-a-half hour ferry from mainland, Shetland’s main island.

But despite its remoteness, the island draws hundreds of visitors a year, mainly ornithologists, as it is one of the best places in Europe to see rare birds make pit stops along their migration routes in spring and autumn.

Pharologists are also keen visitors as the island is home to two working lighthouses, both built by the famed Stevenson engineering family.

Project leaders hope 24-hour electricity will support future growth of the island’s community.

“The new energy system will be cleaner and greener and will reduce reliance on expensive diesel, hence making living costs more sustainable,” said Mr Mitchell.

“It’s an ambitious project and is another step in ensuring that the community of Fair Isle continues to thrive.”

Most islanders have a croft, supplemented by a diversity of business activity but internet speeds are slow.

Since the 1980s, it has been powered by two on-island turbines and two diesel generators. However, the 60kW and 100W turbines have both been out of action for the last year due to technical problems and a lightning strike.

The new system was backed by £1.5 million from the Scottish Government and £250,000 from development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Other contributors include the European Regional Development Fund, Shetlands Islands Council and the National Trust for Scotland.

Welcoming the new electricity supply, Scottish Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse said: “Those of us living on the mainland of Scotland can often take reliable supplies of electricity for granted.

“This has never been possible for the islanders of Fair Isle.

“The reality of having, for the first time in their history, 24-hour supplies of electricity presents exciting prospects for the Fair Isle community, who will not only benefit from access to a reliable electricity supply around the clock, but also now have in place a new cleaner, greener energy system.”