LIVING OFF THE GRID

I Know You've Thought About It

 You have thought about living off the grid. "The Grid" is a linked system located in your city or town that provides electricity to the masses. You can start living off the grid and create your own energy and not be forced to rely on overworked, overpaid utility companies to meet your needs. 


 Imagine, if you will,  instead of spending hundreds of dollars on energy bills every month, you were receiving money from your local power company? There is a way to sustain your own natural energy and get out from under the public utilites. You can do this by going "off-grid", creating your own independence, and avoiding your dependence on fossil fuels and public utilities. Better yet, you can be still be connected to the grid and sell excess energy back to the utility company! 


Getting to the point where you are living off the grid is not an easy one. (Okay, moving to the middle of a forest or a desert and "living off the land" would be "off the grid", but I still would not consider it easy!) For most of us that appreciate the comforts of modern living, like washing machines and the internets, living off the grid does not mean sacrificing the things that make our lives better. You can start the process of going off the grid by finding ways to reduce your consumption of energy. There are many things you can do to begin saving electricity, saving gas, and saving water. Getting better insulation for your home, saving rain water, maybe riding a bike to your local store instead of driving, are some of many ways to save and there are many others. There are companies manufacturing solar lights and even solar power chargers for laptops and other electronic gadgets!

If you are building a house you can incorporate a lot of new and old energy saving features like geothermal for heating and cooling your home, high-tech windows, and solar water heating. If you build green you will not only save on your energy consumption but you will increase the value of your home. Also, as energy prices go up over time, your monetary savings go up!

If you want to start small there are simpler ways of reducing your energy use. Consider some of the portable solar products available- everything from solar battery chargers to solar generators. There are great new ways to go green in your garden too. Solar and battery powered lawn mowers and tools, as well as more natural ways to fertilize the soil help the environment we all share and contribute to the goal of getting off the grid. 

There have been many advances in energy saving technologies. Depending on your particular location, it is now even possible to incorporate wind power in a residential setting. Combining technologies like wind and solar and geothermal make going off the grid much more achievable. If you are a do-it-yourself type of person you can cut the costs of installing these technologies and by doing a bit of research, you can sometime find cheap and even free solar components.

  

Ever looked up on a hot summer day, shielding your eyes from the brightness of that ever-present glow from above? Probably never imagined something as simple and abundant as the sun radiating down on the earth could provide you and your family with free, clean energy.

Getting this vastly plentiful resource in your home would be attained by applying photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to your home's roof or near the house. It is simple: the sun hits the panel, the semi-conductors accumulate the energy and knock electrons loose so they are able to flow freely. In the panel is an electric field that then forces the electrons to flow in one direction creating DC or an electrical direct current. The DC then passes through an inverter that then converts the direct current into AC or alternating current for your home.

One full day's worth of sun can provide your home with electricity for a full year!! Even more amazing cheap solar power is one of the cleanest forms of power generation in existence, living off the grid means more than just saving money, it is a new way we can help to save our planet.


I am guessing you're ready to start living off the grid and are so excited you're ready to run right out and line your home's roof with solar panels right now? Remember, living a greener life means being more aware of how much power you are using. If you are making a pot of coffee in the morning make sure the toaster isn't going at the same time. Operate your washer and dryer at night when power use is minimal to ensure you are optimizing your energy consumption. Going off the grid is a way that you can make a difference in not only your own life, but for the environment around you. Producing and maintaining your own energy was never easier. The time to start is now.