Ideas For Living Off The Grid – The Benefits And Concerns

Posted by on Nov 28, 2013 in Blog | 2 comments

Ideas For Living Off The Grid – The Benefits And Concerns

I read about this man recently, who didn’t own a computer, didn’t want to buy one either, he lost his cell phone and the only form of entertainment for him was watching CNN and MTV. He enjoyed watching the local TV channels too, although he didn’t understand a word the local TV channels said in Chinese. And yet, he managed to stay connected with everyone with the use of computers. Yes, he didn’t own one, but he went down to the public library and used it by the hour.

It might sound like a crazy idea to live off the grid, but according to many, it has its excitements and benefits. Some people are even enjoying the idea of living off the grid because it brings them closer to nature. Thanks to modern mobile technology and internet, people can now live off the grid while still staying connected.

It is now not uncommon to find people who have lived off the grid through the summer, and enjoyed it so much that they decided to extend their stay till fall as well. How is it so enjoyable? Besides, we are so adapted to living with modern gadgets and appliances that we cannot imagine our lives without them. Just imagine if you didn’t have power for couple of hours in your house?

So, what exactly is living off the grid anyway?

off the gridFor those who are wondering what exactly living off the grid is, the definition of living off the grid would be to stay disconnected from the main local or national electrical grid.  In some cases, an off-grid power source or SHS can be added or a mini grid, that could provide power for a community as an alternative to the main national grid. An off-grid power supply can be beneficial for countries or regions which have power shortages or which are located away from the main community. This can happen when a country has distant or scattered population with limited access to the main grid.

Living off the grid could mean living self sufficiently without depending on the public utilities in any form. So, if someone is truly living in an off the grid house, he or she has no reliance on the public utilities like electrical power supply, municipal services, water supply, natural gas, or any such public facilities. This might remind us of living before the industrial revolution time, but this is how a true off the grid house should run. However, we should not assume that an off grid house will not utilize any of the modern facilities. It may and will, but they will not be from the national grid or local public services.

Living off the grid is not as crazy as it sounds

living off teh grid 2Living off the grid refers to living in an independent, self sufficient house that is able to operate without the help or reliance of public services, and produces everything it needs. This idea is becoming increasingly popular today through the recent TV reality shows and celebrity appearances on cooking channels and home and gardening channel stars.

Stars like the survival expert Cody Lundin have promoted living off the grid by building houses based on these principals in the middle of the desert with solar panels providing power supply, using rain water for water and composting waste.

Setting up your own off the grid house

off the gridRecently one family was found living off the grid in West Virginia. They bought a property to live and hunt, and eventually retire. But the piece of property was so far away from the national grid that they discovered that they needed $70,000 to bring power from the electric company. As an alternative, they began to develop alternate sources of energy for their property. Today, there home is powered totally by the solar panels. This family in West Virginia is not the only family living off the grid. They are among 750,000 other families living off the grid nationwide.

 

Setting up your own off the grid power source

With the economic growth come the challenges of accessing the national grid that comes with the emerging nations. Many of the houses built before the 1800s, that has old wiring and electrical systems cannot meet today’s electrical standards and demands for power consumption. Many of the developing countries are facing the shortages of power supply and have to rely on ancient methods for electricity; at best they use car batteries for energy.

Here in America, there are many people, who use off-grid energy source because some of the people want to stay truly independent of public utility services. There are also people who want to save on energy bills by setting up their own renewable energy generators.

solar panelsTo setup your own power generator and storage units from reusable energy sources, you can have your basement filled with car batteries and recharge those using solar panels or wind powered turbines. The power from the car batteries can then be converted into AC electricity and fed to the house wiring for running normal appliances, light bulbs, and everything else.

 

Where to get solar panels and inverters

You will find many companies manufacturing and distributing solar panels, solar inverters  and everything else you need to set up your solar power generator at home.  We have listed the top 3 sites selling solar panels at affordable prices.

  1. Affordable-solar.com They are one of the oldest retailers of solar panels and accessories with a wide range of different brand to choose form.
  2. Free Sun Power.com This site has all the information you need to set up your solar power generator.
  3. Wholesale Solar.com You will be able to get all relevant information, as well as compare several brands of solar inverters from this site.

You can also look in eBay and Amazon, or your local Home Depot for several types of solar panels and inverters.

Environmental issues and concerns

off the grid livingMany people have found that generating their own form of energy might be cheaper than paying for the utilities, and therefore they choose to produce their own forms of power and other utilities. Although they might be saving money by not paying any utility bills, there are a few safety issues also involved.

Several states, including the state of California, are encouraging people who are using sources such as the wind or the solar cells for power generation to limit their use of toxic storage, lead and acid bases batteries and connect to national grid for safety purposes. Although these off grid houses produce their own power source during the day time, they use lead and acid based batteries to store power for the night.

environmental professionals networkYou might be able to save a lot of money to live in a house made with ancient technique that doesn’t use any utilities, and eat barbeque everyday through brick ovens, and cook on coal, and keep the house warm through fire wood. However, it is important not to harm the nature in the process. According to Jeremy Rifkin,, a famous economist, we are on the verge of a third industrial revolution, and this time, it will be of a sustainable good quality life. “He said the US was a pioneer in the first half of the third industrial revolution – the Internet.”

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