Why Go off Grid?
Living off the grid used to be a thing for idealists. They can start living off the grid with an ecological, green motivation to reduce carbon and water usage, got tired of consumerism and went off the grid not only power-wise but social-wise, and as mentioned before, some people live off the grid to prepare for the doomsday (which is a very viable reason, no, we're not mocking you).
But after the global economic crash in 2008, the motivations had shifted, and the interest to go off-grid increased dramatically. People are realizing that they cannot solely depend on the government, and need to look after themselves. Separately, but still related, some went off the grid simply because there is no other economic option.
All in all, going off grid provides many benefits such as:
-Being power independent, which is cheaper in the long run
Solar panel price has decreased more than 70 percent since 2011 according to National Geographic
,And Green Tech Media
reported that Tesla is reducing the price for their batteries so that it will be cheaper than paying for our monthly utility bills, and it's still decreasing!
- Have More of the One Commodity that Matters: Time
Gone are the days of spending four hours in traffic every day. Gone are the days of the long queue and waiting on line. Living off the grid means you can use your time for all the things you actually need and enjoy.
You'll be surprised how getting closer to nature and with less complicated financial need will free you from stress. When a high percentage of diseases are proven to be stress-related, this also means you will be more healthy.
And there are many, many more benefits you can tailor for yourself. You want to enjoy living off the grid while you still want to watch your favorite movies and TVs? Who said you can't? Living off the grid ultimately means you're free (well, almost) from the rules set by the society and government and do anything you want for yourself. Of course, we need to remember, that with great power (and freedom) comes great responsibility.
Interested in going off-grid? Here are some considerations to help you get started.Get your Power Up and Running
Installing your own power source will be the first and most important step of going off-grid. This can generally be achieved by three means - solar, water, or wind.-Solar Power System
The current solar system can generate the maximum energy of 10kW a day (remember that it will be dependent on amount of sunlight and humidity). According to EnegySage
, a 10kW system will cost you around $20,000-$32,000 meaning it will cost you around $2,500 investment per kW. Smaller systems ranging from 3.5 kW to 8kW are also available.
As mentioned before, solar systems price have decreased dramatically by around 70% in the last 5 years, and will continue to be more affordable. In the UK, IKEA
is now selling even more affordable solar panel systems. Hopefully, IKEA US and around the world will also start a similar campaign anytime soon.-Wind Turbine
Used to be a cheaper alternative to solar panels, now the tides have turned since the price drop of the solar panel. According to Windustry.org
, wind turbines will cost you $3000-$8000 per kW, which is significantly higher to solar panels price nowadays. However, wind turbines will be an option if your future off-grid location is lacking direct sunlight and is windy most of the time.
Remember that wind turbine can be at least 42' tall, and even the quietest one can be noisy. You might need special zoning permit from the local government to erect one turbine. You will also need at least wind speed of 10MPH, with 12MPH being the optimum speed range.
If the climate of your intended location tends to fluctuate, you might need a hybrid solar and wind generator to achive the desired power capacity consistently. -Water Power
Build yourself a mini dam and get power from a clean resource - If you have a moving water source nearby your off the grid location (river or even waterfalls), technically you can utilize a water turbine. However, the zoning permit and government bureaucracy can be really complicated for this to be a viable option.
If zoning permit is not an issue, this can be the cheapest alternative you can get and best bang for your buck, with a basic Chinese-made hydro turbine can only cost you in the hundreds of Dollars per kW. A high-end hydro generator can be more expensive than wind and solar alternative, though, so make sure you do enough research before purchase. It also helps to consult with a professional water power generation firm to be sure you are maximizing your energy potential. Power generation from water is reliable and runs 24 hours 7 days a week. Get the Water Running
After you tackled the power issue, let's move on to the next phase: water. No matter what, you will need a steady supply of water for your well-being.
You'll at least need water for drinking and septic purpose. If you have a clean river near your location, of course, you can utilize it. But generally, drinking water can be obtained by digging a well or utilizing submersible water pumps. For the septic purpose, you simply need to build a septic tank or greywater systems. You can also utilize a waterless composting toilet.
According to costhelper.com
, well drilling can cost you from $1,500-$12,000 depending on size and depth. While the national average for septic tank price is around $4,600.Turn Up the Heat
If you want your off-grid home to be totally au naturel, then your main source of heat should be wood-based. You will need heat not only to keep warm on winters but also for cooking,heating water, and other tasks regularly. According to homeadvisors.com
,the national (U.S.) average for installing a wood stove or fireplace is $1,866.
For cooking purpose, you can also install a complete wood oven for around $3,000-$7,000. A year stock of fuel woods will only cost you around $300.
And with you being power-independent, you can also use whole electric stove and heaters as an option.
A new and exciting way to cooking without using a carbon based fuel are solar cookers , they are available in various forms and allow you to cook with only the power of the sun using reflectors
Interested to live off grid? With it being more affordable than ever, maybe it's time for you to start planning your dream off-the-grid house. The design, size, and style can only be limited by your imagination and creativity. Check out this amazing Hobbit-style totally off the grid house for inspiration: Hobbit style off-the-grid house
Living off the grid is no longer only for the peculiar and idealist. It just might be, the way to the future of living.