Living Off the Grid

Woodsy Yurt

Living off the grid is not using established power, natural gas, water and sewer infrastructures. Instead, through off-grid living, you are choosing to find clean, renewable energy sources to sustain yourself and your home.

There are several options for non-traditional power. Solar, wind and water power are all great ways to create electricity.

Solar Power

The simplest way to create solar power for living off the grid is to place photovoltaic solar panels on your roof or near your home.  These cells, made of semiconductors, absorb the energy from the sun. Electrons from this absorbed energy are separated and collected by an electrical field in the panel. The electrical field forces the electrons to flow in one direction, creating a direct current (DC). This DC passes through an inverter that alternates the current and creates the AC power your home uses. Solar power systems can be bought, built from a kit, or built as a DIY project from instructions which can be personalized for your needs.

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Solar Panels

Solar Panels, also called Photovoltaic Panels, convert sunlight into usable electricity.  When wired together, Solar Panels create an array that can power appliances, residential homes and even large commercial buildings.

Wind Power

One of the most popular ways to create wind power for living off the grid is to include a wind turbine. Wind turbines consist of 4 major parts: the blades, the rotor, the shaft and the generator.  The blades, or sails, trap the wind. The wind forces the blades to move. When the blades move, the wind’s energy is transferred to the rotor. The spinning rotor transfers its energy to the shaft, which spins with the rotor. At the other end of the shaft is an electrical generator.  The generator converts the wind’s energy from the shaft into electrical energy which can be used to power your home for off grid living. Wind turbines can be bought, built from a kit, or built from instructions.

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Hydro Power

Read more about Hydro Power.

Hydro Power

If you have water on your property, consider micro-hydro power. These small-scale installations can generate power from as little as two gallons per minute or a descent of as little as two feet.  Full scale hydro power works by water flowing through gates in a dam. Water builds up pressure as it flows to the turbine. When the water reaches the turbine, much like wind power, the blades are moved. The moving blades feed an electrical generator, which creates alternating current (AC) power.  A transformer inside the generator converts the AC power into high-voltage current which is fed to customers via power lines. The water is carried back to reenter the source downstream or can be partially diverted to supply your off grid living water needs. Again, hydro power systems can be purchased, built from a kit or built from instructions.

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