Whether it is because of soaring energy prices, the desire to be independent, or because of the environmental damage caused by the harvesting and burning of fossil fuels, living off grid has never seemed such an attractive prospect.
In the past, generating a significant amount of power domestically was problematic. Thanks to modern technology, however, it is now a viable alternative to national power feeds.
If you are thinking about switching to off grid life, there are some things in this article that you need to know. Anyone can make the switch, but it is likely to be quite expensive in the beginning.
The real secret to off grid living is the ability to store generated electricity. Homes that are still connected to the grid only generate electricity at certain times, using power from the grid at other times. That is not good for off grid homes. They need the ability to store power for later using large battery banks. These batteries hold electricity that is either fed back to the home as low voltage power, or inverters transform it to mains voltage. The battery bank must be large to store plenty of power.
Solar panels are the most desirable form of home generation. A typical semi-detached roof has enough room for panels capable of generating up to 1.5kw of electricity even on a dull day. Electricity feeds appliances and charges the batteries for use later. The panels and their control systems are notoriously reliable, but in the event of a failure it is useful to keep the number of 24 hour emergency electricians to hand.
Wind turbines are available as complete units that only require mounting and connecting to a charge controller. Many people make their own wind generators by mounting fan blades onto an electric motor. They are a suitable source of power for keeping the battery bank topped up, but are as unreliable as the wind.
If there is a stream running through your property then you are very lucky indeed. Where water moves there is much power to collect. Water is heavy and will turn a large wheel which drives a generator. Depending on the size of the wheel, a powerful generator could constantly run, providing ample power to the whole house.
Living off grid involves collecting water naturally. A well or borehole is needed to access clean, fresh groundwater. There are companies that provide the drilling service, or, ideally, buy a house that already makes use of a well.
A composting toilet is ideal where there is no sewage system, or where you do not wish to pay sewage charges. Dirty water is disposed of via soakaways, but the toilet will compost solids. A composting toilet is difficult to manage correctly, but once you master its use, it provides an odourless alternative to traditional sewage disposal.
As you can see, it is possible for anyone to live off grid by using all of the above methods. It will be difficult to set up to start with but once everything is in place, it should all run like clockwork. There is nothing that the utility companies provide that you can not provide for yourself. Location is a problem; you could not do all of these things on a housing estate. A house in the country is best, or at least a place with a huge garden. Has this article made you think? There are many benefits to living off grid.
Photograph found HERE