To achieve this independence, one’s electricity needs to be on-site and powered by renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar or geothermal. Somehow the batteries from the old cars have managed to last, and we usually can watch movies in our flatscreen for about six hours after dark (there is a lot of suns here, enough for not charging the solar rack during the day) more than enough for having a good time. If the sun is out, we can keep the Yeti mostly topped up, even when Jen and I are both working long days, with this portable 100-watt solar panel (We also have two built-in 80-watt panels from Zamp Solar on our roof to trickle the Airstream batteries.) There are bigger, more powerful panels, but we love that the Goal Zero Nomad—about the size of two laptops when folded up—stows easily under the bed when not in use.
Living off-grid has a lot of up-front investment required in terms of time, money and energy. If you have tools and other items that use rechargeable batteries, but the power is out, there are many portable solar panels on the market today that will do the trick. People who live off the grid and rely upon solar and wind to power their limited electrical devices will have it a little better.
If your plot of land already contains a shelter, making it off-grid may be a matter of adapting by installing solar, heating and on-site water solutions. You would also need roughly 25 average-sized solar panels to sustain enough electricity for four people, possibly more ( you can read about my solar panel setup here ). That’s not even considering the additional concerns of water, sewer, shelter, animal husbandry, gardening, food storage and more. Typical realistic operation based on one device run at a time; discharging battery bank to 50% capacity; assuming 60% efficiency of solar panels and solar input of 720 per day; average sunlight for 4 hours per day for 4 days per week, and full battery bank recharging for approximately 8 hours when it reaches 50% capacity.
Another reality of living off the grid in winter is making adjustments for alternative energy sources, like solar panels. Normally in our house, after dinner each night the dishes are done before bed, but off-grid, the evening isn’t exactly the best time of day to run the water pump. Radiant floor heat has really improved our quality of life, and it’s all run using off-grid power and DC electric straight from our batteries.
Most off-grid PV systems include a generator for backup power when the PV system can’t meet the demands of the household electrical loads, usually during the low-light days of winter or extended cloudy periods. The charge controller regulates the flow of power and steps down the voltage to the proper level for the battery bank design (you can learn more about batteries for solar installations at The Best Batteries for Your Off-Grid Battery Bank ). The charge controller is essential for safe charging and for battery health. Residents living off the grid typically live in smaller houses, consume less power even if they use renewable energy, produce less waste, and recycle regularly.
Off-Grid World is about living off the grid, sustainable living, homesteading, prepping, survival, solar power, wind power, renewable energy, permaculture, hydroponics, recycling, DIY projects, and natural building. If you’re living off-grid, hopefully, you won’t be using much energy, but frankly, it probably doesn’t matter because you’ll be producing your own CLEAN solar and wind power anyway. Of course, climates can have played a big role in how easy off-grid living is. A person living in a place like Southern California will generally be much more successful harvesting sunshine then say somebody in Alaska, but on the flip side, the person in Alaska would have a much easier time collecting rainwater then the person in Southern California All these scenarios must be taken into account when planning to go off-grid and no matter what climate or region somebody has pulled it off.
You have a lot of options when it comes to off-grid cooking, and most people living off the grid use a source of open flame for cooking. Some people living off the grid do have a small fridge but generally speaking, fridges consume a lot of energy and the bigger they are the more they consume so you will not be able to stockpile enough food in it. Another key component of cooking is ensuring you have a source of clean water to drink, bathe, and cook with. While there are many different filtration methods available, Berkey filters tend to be the cheapest and most effective option across the board. For more information, you can visit www.usaberkeyfilters.com for more information