Most of us are Dependent on the Grid
We all know that living on the grid is easier and does have its advantages.You have easy access to all the electricity you could ever need (for a price, of course), and you’re able to power all those modern electronics you love so much, to say nothing of appliances such as a refrigerator or a stove. However, you’re arguably more at a disadvantage by depending on the grid more than yourself, and increasingly so. Here are some U.S. power outage stats that might surprise or even frighten you:
- From 2000 to 2004, there were an average of 44 reported grid outages per year.
- From 2005 to 2009, there were an average of 100 reported grid outages per year.
- From 2010 to 2013 (a four year period), there were an average of 200 reported grid outages per year.
Wind Power Turbines
The first solution is one I’d recommend if you live in an area where you get plenty of wind. So I wouldn’t recommend this for a downtown New Yorker (unless of course you live in a tall building and you’re able to stash a few wind turbines on the roof, in which case you have an indescribably fantastic landlord). You’ll also want to consider city ordinances to make sure you’re not breaking any laws, and you’ll also want to check with your local weather service to see what the average wind speed is in your area, which will help you figure out how much electricity you can generate.
There are also other things to consider. Wind turbine size is a big one. We sell a 600 watt wind turbine on our site, which is more than adequate for you to be able to power an appliance or two. If you really want to go way out there, however, you can look into the more expensive 10,000-watt turbine, which could power most of your house at once. In most cases, though, especially in times when the grid is not available, one turbine used in conjunction with one of the other solutions that follow should provide you with adequate electricity for your bare essentials.
No energy on earth is more abundant than solar, but you’ll need ot make sure you have enough solar panels to be able to harness it enough to be adequate for your needs. Unlike the world of ten years ago, solar panel prices are significantly lower nowadays, which makes it easier to build your own small solar power generator. It’s important to check on both the price and yield of different solar options to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck and the most efficient panels available. If you don’t want to go all-out on solar panels, you can also use smaller, portable solar chargers to charge your necessary devices like cellular phones or other USB-powered items.
Micro Hydro Electricity
This next one isn’t feasible for a great many of us, but if you’re lucky enough to live next to a running water source like a river or brook, you not only have an abundant water supply, but you’ve also got the makings of your own hydro electric power source! Generating electricity using the micro hydro method provides you with a constant output — you’ll be able to generate electricity every day and night as long as the water doesn’t freeze — and you’ll be all set for whatever comes your way.
Backup Generators and Storing Electric Power
The next step in the self-sustainable electricity process is building a power bank or Battery Bank, which we highly recommend you do. You’ll want to use deep discharge or deep cycle batteries, which will allow you to store and produce energy when you need it. An inverter is also necessary to convert that stored energy to an AC current so you can power your household appliances, lights, and other electrically-powered machines and devices.
You’ll also want to invest in a backup generator in case Murphy decides to impose his Law on your renewable energy efforts. Your Battery Bank will only get you so far. As with anything electronic, having a backup is always a good idea. A diesel generator (or other source of backup power) will give you power when the sun is down or covered by clouds or the wind stops blowing for a few days.
Once you’ve embraced one or many of the power generating methods above, you’ll find yourself off the grid. Though it might cost some coin in the short term, you’ll not only no longer have an electric bill, but you and your family will also be free of the grid should a disaster strike, and that is worth more than anything money can buy.