We’ve all dreamed of being free from the rules and requirements of modern day infrastructure. What if you don’t want to be connected to the public power grid? In many places, you are legally required to be connected to the local infrastructure which isn’t an unreasonable request. But if you’ve ever been frustrated by an electric or gas bill, you’ve likely dreamed of taking your energy generating needs into your own hands.
Being off grid is a fairly broad term that encompasses many things. It could mean being completely disconnected from anything: you generate all your electricity, sewage, food, and heating needs yourself. But it also means using clean energy solutions to power your own home whether you’re connected to a local electrical grid or not. So if you want to generate your own power, what are your options?
The most well-known and accessible option is putting solar panels on the roof of your home. Nowadays it’s pretty straightforward and you can also use solar trackers for added energy generating efficiency to get that extra bit of sun. With solar trackers, your panels move along with the sun to ensure maximum exposure. Every year, there are new technological breakthroughs as solar cells become more efficient and costs drop. They’ve even figured out how to make solar panels nearly invisible if you’ve got a problem with how it looks.
Wind energy is energy generated by the flow of air. You’ve probably seen the giant wind turbines dotting the landscape in various parts of the world. While it might seem that buying wind energy is your only solution, there are small-scale wind power setups available if it is appropriate for where you live.
Micro hydro is a type of hydroelectric power. Unlike hydroeletric power which uses large infrastructure such as dams and reservoirs and can harm the local ecosystem, micro hydro power is all about keeping it on a small scale by using a minimal and natural flow of water. The power generated from micro hydro installations produce anywhere from 5 kW to 100 kW. To give you an idea of how much that is, a 100 kW can power a home or a small business. These kinds of systems often complement solar systems making up for the shortfall of sun during the winter.
Geothermal energy is using thermal energy from the Earth to make power. While it’s possible that there is enough geothermal energy to power the entire world, the energy isn’t available everywhere and exploiting hard to access geothermal energy is cost prohibitive. Smaller scale geothermal power plants are increasing in popularity but these are still industrial level solutions. If you’re looking for a geothermal solution for your home, check out a geothermal heat pump which transfers heat to or from the ground to manage your home heating and cooling needs. Upfront costs are high but with subsidies and the amount of money you’ll be saving on your heating and cooling bill, the system should pay itself back in a few years.
So what if you can’t put solar panels on your home or set up a wind turbine or generate your own micro hydro or geothermal energy? Switch to an energy provider that provides clean energy. Go out there and do your research. There are energy providers who produce clean and renewable energy. So even if you you might not be able to generate your own clean energy any time soon and be completely off grid, at least you can support the energy you would like to generate.