Why Off-Grid Power Systems?

One of the most important factors that has encouraged dependence in our society is drum-roll...

Electricity.

Before everyone started using it, people were much less reliant on “the system”. However, in it's favor, life sure has gotten a lot easier!

Just think for a minute of all the different things you use electricity for. Can you name them?

Honestly, if we follow the trail of dependence for almost any item we use or need, it leads to electricity--with very few exceptions.

Just an Example...

Take your car, for example. Most run on some sort of oil-based fuel, so how could it be dependent on electricity? Simple...what does it run on? Gasoline or diesel. Where do you buy that? How is it pumped from the gas station’s storage tanks? How do they operate their cash registers or process your credit card? You guessed it. Electricity.

And how is that fuel transported to the gas station? By trucks running on fuel that was pumped with an electric pump. How is oil refined into fuel and transported to the distribution centers? Almost all of these processes involve electricity, to a greater or lesser extent. We could go on for some time following the trail of dependence, but you get the picture.

Back to our basic necessities

While most of us could do without our automobile in an emergency and could walk or ride a bicycle or horse, there are certain basic necessities that we simply must have. These are water, shelter (especially heat), and food. Most Americans have become completely dependent for at least two if not all three of these. And the dependence usually involves electricity to a greater or lesser degree.

Almost every form of heat (other than wood) involves electricity--even propane or natural gas forced air systems.

Almost every American is dependent on electricity of some sort for water, whether it comes from the city / community water system or from a well (remember that electric pump?).

And due to the way our food system currently operates, electricity is an important ingredient. Tractors, factories/ warehouses, transportation, grocery stores--all depend on electricity to some extent.

Electricity isn't the 'Bad Guy'

Before we get confused here, realize that electricity is a wonderful invention. We use it... all over our home, in fact! From the electric toothbrush to the washing machine. Night lights, fans, bug zappers, kitchen appliances, computers, and I won't even begin to mention all the equipment we have in our home office!

The problem is the Dependence

But our power grid is very reliable and not likely to encounter any major issues, right?

Unfortunately that is not the case.

In spite of issues we face that could threaten our nation’s electrical infrastructure on a local, regional, or even national basis, there are even more fundamental reasons for not being dependent on the power grid.  Please note that we did not say you must dispense with it--the issue is dependence.  And for Bible-believing Christians, the book of Revelation warns of a time in the near future when those who refuse the mark of the beast will be unable to buy or sell anything (Revelation 13:17).

That includes electricity.

Although it was once considered improbable or even impossible, the move toward a cashless society is making this a very real possibility.  How would your home have even the most basic necessities like water or heat without electricity?

Other Reasons

Maybe you are not wanting to support giant corporations which may be taking actions that violate one’s principles. For others, it may be environmental issues. Really, the reasons are about as many as there are people.

So what is the answer?

A Lifestyle Change

It really isn’t just an answer. It is a lifestyle change. The solution is to live in such a way that your basic necessities of life would not be cut off when the power is. There are two possible routes to go.

  1. Be prepared to live non-electrically (Amish style). This does not mean you must live without electricity right now. It involves setting up your homestead in such a way that electricity is not essential.  That means having non-electric methods for doing any necessary tasks.
  2. The other option is to produce your own electricity in an independent and renewable manner.  In short, a renewable energy or off-grid system.

Electricity is not a basic necessity of life. But many have become so dependent upon it that they would not be able to function without it. This is one reason that renewable energy has become so popular these days. It provides a way to continue living a “normal” lifestyle even when electricity from the power company is not available.

Remote Properties

Many remote properties are some distance from the nearest power lines and the cost to access those lines can be quite expensive (we have heard of quotes ranging from $18,000 for 1 mile to $30-40,000 for several miles). And it makes no sense to pay a large sum of money just for the privilege of receiving a power bill every month!

There are many advantages for renewable energy and we enjoy it so thoroughly that going back “on-the-grid” is not something we ever plan to do.

What Does "Off The Grid" Look Like?

If you are picturing doomsday preppers or hippies or Little House on the Prairie, we are talking about something entirely different!

Modern off grid living really looks no different than being on the grid.  If you were to visit us, the only way you would know we are off the grid is if you saw our solar panels.  We have all the kitchen appliances, a high tech home office, a shop with power tools, and more.

The difference is that we choose our appliances more carefully than the average person and are more aware of their power usage.  But we certainly don't do without anything.

For instance, when purchasing a new refrigerator, we would search for the most efficient model.  It's not a matter of doing without a fridge, just choosing carefully.

So, what do we live without?  About the only thing I can think of is the monthly power bill.  And that's something I'm glad to give up!!!

More Details?

Do you have an interest in going off the gird? Want to learn more?  Check out this free video mini-series I did to help get you started with off grid power systems.

↓↓Why are you interested in going off the grid?  Please comment below↓↓

Nick Meissner

Nick Meissner’s adventure with homesteading and off-grid living began in the late '90s with a less-than-bare-bones budget. Over the past 12 years, Nick has taught thousands of people about renewable energy, homesteading, water systems, and independence in general. He's deeply in love with his beautiful wife Lisa and thoroughly enjoys their two children.

  • Sharon says:

    It's just smart to go off grid. Sooner or later, (I think sooner), everyone will wish they were. Plus I long for a simple lifestyle. I would love to learn how to deal with bugs, and other pests for that matter! Thank you so much!

  • Cecilia says:

    Do you think it is possible to live off the grid in South Florida where you need AC almost year round? We’d really love to have a simpler life style less dependent on electricity

    • Hi Cecilia,

      Yes, I do believe it is possible. Every area has it's challenges. Yours will be A/C. For us here in the north, it's the short cloudy days of winter. But you can generally overcome the challenge. The advantage of your area is that you get an abundance of sun and your days never get all that short in winter, so your solar production should still be good year-round. It will just be a matter of carefully designing your power system so it is able to handle the A/C. But before doing that, I would concentrate on putting in the most efficient A/C you can (probably a split or ductless system that is zoned to only cool the rooms that need it when they need it). Another thing you could do to help would be making sure your home is well insulated to keep the cool in.

      In the end, you get your power usage as low as possible for the lifestyle you want to live, and then you design a system that will power your needs. In Off Grid Boot Camp, we go through all the details of how to do that accurately BEFORE you start purchasing any equipment, so you know what to expect ahead of time.

      Hope that helps!
      Nick

  • Jhupelia says:

    I'm concerned about the tribulation as well. (Nice to know you're Christians) and naturally curious about sustainability anyway. I haven't seen my path cleared to make it happen yet, but learning as much as I can on the interim.

    And -- I'd like to hear how you deal with bugs.

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