Going Off-Grid – Introduction

One of the most frequent questions I get is, “How do I go off-grid?” This is the first episode in a new series that will help YOU answer that question.

Listen to the Podcast

Making Coffee Off-Grid
Making coffee on a small off-grid system while building our home

I’m no renewable energy expert. I’m not a certified electrician. I don’t even play one on TV. Does that seem like an odd way to start out a series that claims to help you to go off-grid? Well, I’ve taken two of my homes entirely off the electrical grid and built a few smaller systems. As a layperson, if I can do it, maybe you can do it, too.

That being said…

Warning!!!

Danger: High Voltage!
Danger: High Voltage!

All content of this podcast and/or blog is for educational purposes only. Use at your own risk. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects involving electricity, construction and associated tools can damage equipment, void property insurance and product warranties, be dangerous and even fatal to yourself and others. Proper safety procedures should be followed at all times. YOU take full responsibility for your actions. I take NO responsibility for any results of your actions or lack thereof. Do your own due diligence!

House Cleaning

In the last episode, we finished up the series on Selecting a Homestead Location. If you are looking for a homestead or bug-out location, it would be well worth your time to check out that series which starts with Core Values.

I was on Facebook shortly after  posting the last episode and one of those “On this day” notifications popped up. It reminded me of a home listing I had posted years ago and got me to thinking. Here are a few things to consider when selling your old home:

List with an Agent?

Personally, I don’t use real estate agents to sell my properties. This approach may not be for everyone. A good agent can save you a lot of time and effort. A good agent will also make helpful suggestions on what to do with your home to make it more marketable. But good agents are hard to find. Look at their current listings. Do they have good photos and descriptions? I’ve even seen listings with the photos displayed sideways or upside down! Would you want to even look at the properties they have listed?

Sell Your Home Yourself

  • Infotube – Free & optional upgrades
  • Web site? You can even get a free site at WordPress
  • Facebook & Instagram
  • Craigslist
  • Word of mouth
  • Specialty/niche listing services, e.g. prepper, off-grid sites
  • Offer 3% buyer’s agent commission?

Prepare Your Home for Sale – Staging

  • Clean & de-clutter
  • De-personalize
  • Take many high-quality pictures

Writing the Contract

Defining Off-Grid

Save money with solar
Installing Our Current Solar Array
Installing Our Current Solar Array

For our purposes, we will define going off-grid as detaching from the electrical grid. The focus will be primarily upon solar power, though we will touch upon other sources such as wind and hydro.

Reasons for Going Off-Grid

  1. Prices – There have been dramatic price decreases over the years – 13 Charts On Solar Panel Cost & Growth Trends 
  2. Incentives:

    Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit
    Federal Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit
    Renewable Energy Incentives by State
    Grid-tied: Electric utility purchase and/or credits

  3. Return on Investment (ROI): Calculate Return on Investment of Solar Panels
  4. Clean & renewable
  5. Increase home value – maybe: How Much Do Solar Panels Boost Home Sale Prices
  6. Autonomy
  7. It’s COOL!

Off-Grid Resources

Basic Electricity & Terminology

Buy Solar Panels, Solar Power Kits, Photovoltaic Systems for Home
All you need to know about electricity was covered in high school physics class, but if you have not applied that knowledge since then, most of it is now likely forgotten. So we’ll cover some of the basic concepts. We will go into more depth and add others throughout this series. Don’t worry if you don’t quickly grasp all of the concepts presented. In time, we will re-visit these in a more practical way.

I’m not going to re-invent the wheel. I’ve scoured Youtube to find the most relevant videos and found some that balance simplicity and thoroughness.

One of the best videos to start out with is Introduction to Electricity

Now, let’s add a little bit more detail with Basic Electricity – What is an amp?

Then we can add Basic Electricity – What is voltage?

And, finally, Basic Electricity – Power and watts

This video, Electric Analogies Walkthrough, will help you visualize electricity.

Upcoming

In the next episode we will cover a Most Basic Example of a solar system.

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