by Mary Miller, Natural News:
In times of social unrest or calamity, you can’t always rely on the power grid to provide you with electricity. Power outages can come without warning, leaving you feeling trapped and vulnerable in your own home. An off-grid electrical power system can augment your power supply when SHTF or allow you to go off the grid entirely.
Here are a few useful tips on setting up an off-grid electrical power system. (h/t to BioPrepper.com)
Consider how much electricity you actually need
There is a substantial difference between generating enough electricity to power an entire house full of appliances or a small off-grid cabin that only has lights and essential equipment. In general, the less electricity you consume, the easier it will be for you to completely rely on your own off-grid power system.
Before even thinking about going off the grid, start by making an inventory of the appliances you regularly use and how often you use them.
- How many light bulbs do you have and how long do you usually leave them on?
- Do you have a refrigerator, a washing machine or an electric stove?
- Do you own radios and other electronic devices?
Once you’ve listed down all of these items, you can calculate how much power your household consumes by referring to a load evaluation calculator. After determining how much electricity you need, you can then figure out what kind of power system to set up. (Related: Learn how to build an off-grid generating system to produce electricity in any situation.)
Don’t rely on only one source of electricity
When setting up your off-grid power system, you shouldn’t rely on only one source of energy. Depending on where you live, you may not receive enough sunlight or wind to allow you to rely on solar or wind power alone. The best off-grid power systems usually utilize a combination of energy sources.
Take your location into consideration. If you happen to live near a stream, then consider installing a microhydropower system or water turbine. If you live near the woods, you can use a small wood gas generator. It is important to diversify your potential energy options when living off the grid. (Related: Alternative energy sources to consider when SHTF.)
Start small and keep the system cost-effective
While it might be tempting to immediately go off the grid, it is not recommended to sever your connection to the power grid completely – at least, not at first. If your power system fails while you’re still starting out, you may find yourself in the situation you were trying to avoid in the first place.
Test the limits of your power system and gradually expand from there. You can start off with a simple DIY solar or wind power kit before eventually expanding your power system, as your resources permit.
It is also important to stay within your budget. Solar and wind power kits are far more affordable now than they were years ago, but they may still cost a hefty sum upfront. The good news is that as long as you properly maintain your power system, it will pay back its initial cost and more in the long run.