Living off the grid is a term that means simply choosing to unplug from the power or electrical grid. For some, off grid living involves disconnecting from all public utilities such as water, natural gas, sewer, and electricity. Individuals choosing this lifestyle commonly go by the name of “off-gridders”. What level of off-grid you are looking for is entirely up to you. If you cut from public utilities, you most likely become the utility provider yourself and assume the responsibilities that a utility service provides.
Individuals choose to move to off-the-grid homes for several reasons. Some folks “preppers” are preparing for off grid living in anticipation of a natural disaster. Others may predict the failure of our electrical services on the horizon or want a survival bug out base in case of emergency. Finally, many individuals desire a lifestyle closer to nature and further away from busy city living.
Renewable Energy: Off The Grid
If you are off-grid, you have cut the cord from one or more utilities. The question becomes, how are you going to provide these utility services for yourself? Do you have a plan for electricity, heat, and clean water? Most of all, what about food? How are you going to sustain healthy eating for yourself and your family?
Off Grid Solar System
A popular choice for electricity is solar. Harnessing power from the sun is sustainable. Storing extra solar power off grid is an option since solar batteries are available. Photovoltaic solar cells are becoming more and more efficient, while solar panel costs continue to decrease. Solar panel efficiency is nearing the 30% to 40% range. Complete solar power systems or solar power kits are available for you or a contractor to install.
Hydropower Water System
You can produce Hydropower if you have enough fast-moving water or falling water. Like a wind turbine, the water passes over a turbine which turns the turbine or rotor. Due to the connection with the shaft and generator, the output is hydroelectric power.
Once you have water and heat, you can build yourself a nice shower to wash away the cold days and the elements. An Off Grid Shower will help you stay clean and hopefully healthy.
You can harness the energy from the wind using a wind turbine. Wind passes over wind turbine blades, usually two or three blades, and forces the rotor to turn. The rotor connects to a generator that produces electricity due to the rotor’s spinning. Wind energy is a clean, naturally replenished energy; however, there must be wind available to power the turbine. It is naturally windier in some areas of the country compared to others.
Food For Off Grid Homes
There most likely is not going to be a grocery store just down the road from most off-the-grid homes. The good news is that you can grow, collect and store your food. Individuals carefully plan out their food gardens and their crops. Some take it a step further and grow enough food and store enough to last through the winter when gardens go dormant. You can maintain a year-round supply of delicious meals for you and your family through canning, processing and preserving meats and even maintaining your own beehive. You can even grow food indoors, such as lettuce, tomatoes, berries, and herbs.
Off Grid Heating
There are many heating solutions for your home. One well-tested and commonly used method is burning wood within a wood stove. In addition, Solar Heater and Geothermal heating are options for your homestead. Solar heat is produced from the sun whereas geothermal heating is collected from the ground. Because the earth captures heat from the sun it can easily be put to use by an off-gridder. The ground is where constant, predictable temperatures can be found.