Well, the short answer is yes, it is indeed possible to live completely off the grid, but I’m pretty sure you want to know a whole lot more about how one can realistically go about doing it.
While technically speaking living off the grid completely implies complete independence from the electricity which is supplied via the state’s infrastructure, whether the service of supplying power itself is rendered by the state or subcontracted to a private or semi-private vendor. However, this also has another meaning, which is, to live away from the so-called ‘maddening crowd’. That could mean, living an isolated life, or maybe moving to the countryside! The latter has gained a lot of popularity of late, and many seem to look for Colorado or Texas ranches for sale, to make a shift from the city life to a place of quiet and comfort!
Nevertheless, off-the-grid power supply systems have now made the lifestyle easier. While living off the grid sounds like a thrill-seeking project, it is no joke and one has to be mindful while considering this option.
Prepare for a testing transition
The transitional phase of going from living “on the grid” to going fully off of it is perhaps the most painful part of the process. Keep in mind we’re not talking about not using electricity at all, as that is a rather obsolete definition of what living off the grid is all about. What we’re talking about here is generating your own power and not using the power which is generated through the public works programmes of the government.
What will perhaps annoy you most and reveal the transition for the testing time it will most definitely be, is indeed the fact that you might be subjected to some periods without power that stretch longer than you’re used to. A lot of the tech available around off-the-grid living has quite a few moving parts and it takes a while to set it all up to the point where you don’t have to endure any interruptions.
The technology that already exists
All of that said about what is potentially a painful transition – some good, reliable technology already exists in aid of off the grid living. You’ll likely be put in touch with an expert to help you with the after-sales services you may need once everything is up and running, in addition to the installation service that often comes with autonomous power-generation equipment such as solar panels (and their inverters), wind turbine generators, control panel onboard computers, monitoring systems, etc. Among all such power generation systems, solar panels could be the most reliable and effective. Homeowners who want to live completely off the grid may have to install solar panels (with the aid of companies like EMT Solar), which generate enough electricity to power the home.
The point is the technology does indeed exist and it’s getting cheaper and cheaper by the day while at the same time it’s becoming more and more efficient.
Aim for scalability
The last thing you want is to have to change things up and completely replace the major components of your autonomous power-generating equipment, so make sure it’s all scalable and extensible. If you already have a residential solar installation in place, the housing unit of your solar panels should perhaps be able to have extensions added to it to accommodate more panels. For example, instead of having to replace the entire housing unit should it become apparent that you need bigger panels.
You basically want to be able to easily extend on the existing infrastructure you have installed should the need to generate more power arise and you should also pay special attention to making use of components and equipment which cater to any future developments in what is indeed a developing market of cleaner, greener and autonomous energy production.
Use the same size across your wind turbine generators for example, so that if the one which is located on a part of your property which isn’t receiving wind at a certain time could perhaps have some of its parts redeployed to one which is broken but is located in a better position, then the exchange would be an easy one.
Otherwise, with the technology that exists and a market which is only developing positively, it’s definitely possible to live completely off the grid, although you’ll probably want to stay connected to the grid just for backup.