Planning on Going Off-Grid? Before You Do, Check This Out! (Video)
Categories: Homes / Dwellings
How do you start when you are wanting to go off grid? How do you decide where to live? There are many different directions you can go in when you are in the planning stages. I found this video with a true off gridder talking about how to pick a place to go off grid. This isn’t about how HE did it, it’s more a set of guidelines as to how to get into the best possible location for how you wish to live.
I think one of the things that might be difficult for people is moving away from where they live now, people tend to want to stay close to family and familiar places. It might necessary to move, possibly far away to find a spot of land that would suit how you wish to live.
Considering these questions before buying, you will have a better chance of succeeding.
Thinking of buying a rural property? Trying to figure out whether it makes more sense to go “on grid” or “off grid”? Is it best to clear a right-of-way, bring in power poles and connect to the local power utility, or to forget all that and set up your own private system using solar panels, batteries, and a generator, or other viable off-grid energy sources such as propane?
Either way, unless you choose to live without electricity, having a reliable source at the lowest cost is key to living comfortably—and staying connected to the rest of the world.
In situations where there is the option of going on grid or off grid, cost will be the first consideration. Lars Jensen is owner of Integrated Power Systems in Kelowna, BC. He says that if bringing in outside power is going to cost more than $20,000 or $30,000, it is worth considering being off grid. However, if it is any less, he stresses that it makes more economic sense to hook up to the power grid. “It is never smart,” says Jensen, “for someone who is already on grid to switch over to off grid, because of the extra cost for a system and the fact that power rates are currently very cheap in Canada.” However, the initial set-up cost isn’t the only factor.
For some people, one of the primary reasons for going off grid is the lower cost of real estate. Off-grid properties are often much less expensive than properties serviced by an electrical utility.
No electricity bill
One of the reasons many people choose off grid is that they don’t want to get stuck paying electrical bills for the rest of their lives, especially when uncertain about how high electricity rates will climb in the coming years. Going off grid means being independent of power companies.
Being off grid is often part of a deeper “back to the land” aesthetic in which independence from “the man” (not only power companies) is key. It may be about being self-sufficient, about teaching kids to be green and not to take things for granted. It may be about having your own water supply, septic system and perhaps even growing your own food and raising animals. Having an off-grid electrical system, whether solar, wind or micro-hydro, certainly fits into this ethic.
The cost of installing an off-grid system depends on how much electricity needs to be produced. Along with propane, solar systems are one of the most popular sources of off-grid power, so we’ll use them as examples.
Ongoing costs: Once an off-grid solar system is installed, the ongoing costs can vary quite a bit. There will be fuel and upkeep for the generator, propane and/or wood for cooking, heating and possibly domestic hot water. Batteries last about five to 10 years. Costs can range from as little as around $1,000 per year to $6,000 or more for areas heavily dependent on their generators.