We decided we wanted to find out about off grid living mainly for economic reasons but we also wanted to keep the lifestyle we were already living. Living Off the Grid is not about living without modern conveniences. We have satellite TV and internet and all the conveniences of every other home now that we have finished our renewable energy installation. Here is how to get started.
We just didn't want to give up all of our regular household appliances. As we dug deeper it became clear that with a bit of planning and patience and some serious conservation practices we could achieve this goal. It looked like we could start off grid living within a few months if we worked hard at it.
Thankfully, we already owned a small cottage that we had been planning on moving to in the future anyways. It was an easy option for us, but there are a lot of country properties for reasonable prices out there too, if you decide to make this option work for you. Living off the grid is best accomplished with a rural acreage.
Our property was only 40 minutes from town, so there would be no job finding necessary either, just a slightly longer commute to work. We also made arrangements to work from home a couple days a week, so we could enjoy our new found off grid lifestyle.
Years before we had looked at bringing electricity to the cottage, but the hydro authority had told us that it would cost over $14,000 to do so. We didn't proceed with it because of the high cost. Why would we bring in grid hydro if it would still cost $200 a month and $14,000 just to get it there. Off Grid Living now made perfect sense from an economic point of view.
We could use the $14,000 to install Renewable Energy to run our cottage/home. Plus, if we added a conservative 2 years of electricity service expense to the total what would have otherwise been spent on electric bills that's another $4800. Living off the grid was our best option.
The total would be $18,800 we could spend on a Renewable Energy system and still be money ahead when compared to bringing in grid electricity. After 2 years we would be money ahead! We would not have to pay electric bills ever again.
We chose solar panels to install in our new home because they were easier to install. We found a great website that offered up tons of advice and really helped with the installation. We wanted to put up a wind generator but we just didn't have the resources at that point. Later we actually built a wind generator with plans we found. We also had a back room that we could convert into a battery storage area and control room for the inverter, charge controllers etc. Living off the grid now.
We bought 12 Kyocera solar panels, all of them about 170 watts of power producing capacity. That would give us about 2Kw of production and that was a good start. An electrician friend helped us wire up the system with 16 huge forklift batteries and an inverter for AC power, all charge controlled and set up in case of lightning too. He said that it happens occasionally and you have to protect your investment. Off Grid Living grid is about doing it yourself mostly.
That is good advice for all of us as it can be quite expensive to start living off the grid.