Essentials for living off grid

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When you’re off-grid without batteries, you can only use power at the time you produce it. In other words, you will not have power when the sun isn’t shining on your solar panels (or the wind isn’t turning your wind turbine, etc.) if you don’t have batteries to store the power when your renewable energy (RE) system is producing power. Since you do not consume all of your daily energy requirements during only daylight hours, an off-grid system will store the energy that is collected during daylight into a bank of batteries to be used when the solar panels are no longer in the sunlight. DC off-grid solar power systems are most often used to power DC appliances in RV’s, boats, and cabins, as well as farm/ranch appliances like cattle gates and rural telecommunications systems when utility power is not accessible DC solar power, is less expensive than AC solar power because an inverter is not required to convert the electricity produced by solar panels and stored in batteries from DC to AC. But DC solar power does NOT power standard AC appliances. Think about it. If you were living in a house that generated its own electricity, had a water source nearby, had the means to acquire fuel, heat, food, clothing and other necessities, then you’d surely become independent in every sense of the word.

With today’s alternate power technology, off-grid residents can generate their own electricity, but power systems can be expensive and they require the use of large batteries for energy storage. Homeowner Steve Rowe, who lives in a remote area of Maine, would have preferred staying on the power grid, but connecting to the grid had an estimated cost of $100,000, according to Pika Energy His off-grid system of wind, solar, and batteries, designed to replicate the availability of energy, cost approximately $75,000 before tax credits equal to 30% of the expense. Solar and wind electricity—Photovoltaic solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity, which is stored in batteries before it’s distributed to your home.

These days, solar panels have become so efficient and affordable that they have become the go-to option for those pursuing an off-grid lifestyle as well as those who are just looking to cut down on their electricity bills. All variations of off-grid solar power depend on solar electric panels and store electricity in a bank of batteries. As you’ll now be living off-grid, you’ll need a power source to fuel both your pump and water heater, as well as other appliances.

A battery bank – a group of batteries wired together (also known as a string of batteries) – is a key component in stand-alone (off-grid) wind, solar and micro-hydro electric systems. Remote homes and cabins, water pumping systems, livestock watering, telecommunications, RV’s, boats, sign lighting, and traffic warning lights are just some of the places off-grid solar and renewable energy are utilized. In a recent interview, Foster told Home Power Magazine that he chose off-grid living after he started asking himself, “How can I get a better return on the investment in my new home, and plan for my energy future?” Like most people who go off-grid, Foster focused on making his home self-sufficient in certain areas, while still relying on the larger community in other ways, such as food supply.

There are many ways to light your off-grid cabin during the evening including kerosene lamps, battery-powered flashlights (these are typically better for short stays when you will not need the battery to last more than a week tops), candles (a simple and inexpensive way to light an area), oil lamps (these typically use olive oil as their base), and solar lights (this is a great option if you are living in a rustic cabin). Much like solar power, a DIY wind turbine is another fantastic off-grid living power source.

Aside from power and light, you will need a few other essentials for your off-grid homestead, top of the list is clean, drinkable water.  In our experience, the Berkey water system is the best electricity-free water system available, you can learn more about the Berkey system at www.usaberkeyfilters.com.  What else will you need?  Two words: Down Booties – These don’t really have to do with working, but when you live off-grid and heat isn’t an abundant resource (such as if you’re living in an RV), or if you simply get cold all of the time like Alyssa, down booties are a must. As an increasing number of people choose to pursue off-grid lifestyles, it is interesting to note that even homes connected to community power and water supplies are beginning to embrace off-grid technology, including passive solar home design, solar hot water, and solar cooking. Living off the grid means conservation of resources and a sustainable lifestyle Therefore, you can build a tiny house on a small plot and live the best life on the planet.

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