Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Off the grid

There has always been a question in my mind about this. After watching videos like Homegrown Revolution

and movies like Food Inc.

I started to wonder, what if you can produce your own electricity and go completely "off the grid" and have that freedom? Is it even possible? Can a family living in an average sized house produce enough energy to not depend on the big energy companies for their daily energy needs? Is it possible TODAY? Well lets take a look.

First things first, WHAT is going off grid mean?
It means that you produce your own energy to provide to all your daily needs. Your house is self sustained, and it provides its own energy by means of natural sources like sun, wind, flowing water, etc and man made clean energy sources like hydrogen fuel cells, batteries, turbines etc. Your house is not connected to any power lines, it is not connected to any grid system, and it is certainly not leaving a carbon footprint.

Why go off the grid?
There are many reasons to go off the grid. We are depleting our coal resources every single day. As we use up all our resources, the price will inevitable go up for the scarce commodity. Therefore, the energy cost will go high as well. Generating electricity using your own small renewable energy system fits the circumstances and values of some home and small-business owners. Basically you are buying a lifetime of energy, NOW, and be free of rising energy cost. Its a freedom worth investing in. Although it takes time and money to research, buy, and maintain a system, many people enjoy the independence they gain and the knowledge that their actions are helping the environment. You will be one more person not polluting the only planet we have.
Its good to go off the grid just so that we wouldnt have to live like this in the near future....

How can you go off the grid?
There are many ways you can produce your own energy, sun, wind, flowing water etc. Of course, if you live in a big city, flowing water might not be the practical way to go. However, sun and wind are available no matter where you live. Installing a 4 to 5 kW solar panel system on your rooftop would be sufficient to power all the appliances that you need during the daytime. At night you can have batteries, wind turbines and hydrogen fuel cells providing all the power you need. Below is a model home which is off the grid. The only connection it has to the electric grid is for backup, and it doesn't use any electricity from the grid.

The image above shows all the different ways of going off the grid. Just as an example you can see there are several ways to have the energy freedom.

Here is another simple example of electrical connection for going off the grid
My Opinion: All the technologies to go off the grid already exists today. It is absolutely possible to go off the grid. If you think of them as an investment for a lifetime, then you will realize it is very lucid to invest in renewable energy, not to mention it increases the resale value of your house. I think the first step is to get rid of the HOAs*, because i can promise you that they will restrict everything you do! If you cant, then write to your state representative about the HOA* problems, because the state can always trump any HOA*. If you are the first in your neighborhood to go green, I can guarantee that your neighbors will follow suit after you show them how much money you are saving.

*HOA - Home Owners Association


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