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The First Step Toward Off Grid Living

Off grid living is becoming more appealing to many people as the cost of energy continues to increase. Unplugging from the electric grid and producing all of your own power is now very possible. By utilizing wind turbines or solar panels, many homeowners are generating their own power, assuming their system is sized correctly. By producing some of your own electricity, you can take at least a small step towards off grid living.


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Let’s start by talking about solar power. Solar panels are a great option for supplying power to many homes and can work in all parts of the world, even in remote areas or places with a harsh environment. The only thing you need is some hardware and lots of sun. If you’d like to build your own solar panel, the best guide I’ve found is  Green DIY Energy Review.   Solar power systems can be big or small and can even be portable to take in your RV. Solar panels can last more than 20 years if properly cared for. They are tough and require very little maintenance.

Some number of solar panels wired together are primary part of any solar power system. In the northern hemisphere, solar panels should be pointed directly south for maximum power output. With older solar panels, it was more important that they point directly at the sun and many solar power systems used motors to rotate the panels so they always pointed directly at the sun, however with more modern panels this is less important.With more modern solar panels, it is less important that they point directly at the sun, but older solar power systems often had motors to rotate the panels as the sun moved across the sky. With more recent solar panels, stationary panels work quite well as long as they are pointed directly south and at the correct vertical angle.  For another good guide to building a your own solar panel visit  Build Solar Panel.

Since solar cells produce Direct Current (DC), the electricity produced by solar cells can be used to power any DC appliance or to charge batteries. Electricity can be provided at night or when the sun isn’t shining by charging batteries during the day.

A power inverter can be used to convert the DC electricity from solar panels into the AC electricity that standard appliances around your house require. A power inverter can be used to do the DC to AC conversion on power coming from either the solar panels or from batteries.

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Another way to begin living off grid is with the use of a wind turbine. You can mount a modern wind turbine on a pole or tower, or perhaps even on the roof of your home. These modern wind turbines are fairly small and quite efficient. If you want to generate power at night as well as during the day, wind turbines can do this which is an advantage over solar panels. As long as the wind is blowing, a wind turbine can produce electricity.  To read about how to build your own wind generator take a look at  Earth4Energy Review

Some people use a wind turbine together with solar panels. Both solar panels and wind turbines generate DC electricity so you can use the same batteries and power inverter with both. At night the wind turbine can produce power as long as there is a breeze and on calm, sunny days the solar panels can take over and generate electricity.

IF you want to pull the plug and begin an off grid lifestyle, either of these systems can generate enough power to allow you to do so. They will let you take your first step towards completely pulling the plug.

What is Renewable Energy?

What is Renewable Energy? | By Xzen Dor

Renewable Energy is an energy source that is derived from a self-renewing sources like Solar, Wind, Water and Geothermal. Renewable Energy may also be defined as an environmentally friendly energy source that does not release toxic substances into the natural environment the way Fossil Fuels (Oil, Gas & Coal) and Nuclear Energy do. Renewable Energy Sources also do not effect earths climate as do Fossil Fuels, and as such are increasingly becoming a viable alternative to burning Coal, Oil and Gas as a means for generating electricity as well as heating & cooling our homes and work environments.

Power Plants that burn Coal and Oil are the largest stationary source for the emission of environmentally dangerous gases like sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. These toxic gases are responsible for the smog that hangs over our cities, the acid rain that poisons our lakes and rivers and for the death of millions of trees in mountainous regions. Cars and Trucks (that have gasoline & diesel burning engines) are the next largest source of these toxic gases since there are tens of millions of vehicles on the road worldwide.

Another alarming concern is the dangerous increase of Carbon Dioxide and Methane gases in the atmosphere, as these two gases are the major contributors responsible for global warming. These gases tend to trap the Suns energy in the earths atmosphere, and as a result have slowly over the past century and much faster over the last 30 years increased the overall global temperature.


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This temperature increase is believed by a majority of scientist to be responsible for the rapid melting of Glacial Ice which helps in regulating Global Temperature and in keeping Sea Levels low. As more Glacial Ice melts and is not replenished by yearly snows many regions of the planet that depend on the seasonal melting of Glacial Ice for water are getting less water yearly. As the temperature continues to rise more and more Glacial Ice melts releasing massive amounts of fresh water into the oceans, which affects marine life and threatens the coastal regions around the world as sea levels rise.

In an effort to combat these dangerous trends concerned scientist, citizens and corporations are looking at Renewable Energy Sources to supplant the Fossil Fuels we have been using in earnest since the industrial revolution began more than hundred years ago.

Renewable Energy Sources (Water, Wind, Solar)

Water Power is the first Renewable Energy source that has been used by man dating back several centuries to ancient times. In our modern age Water Power is used to generate huge amounts of electricity through the engineering marvel known as Hydroelectric Power Generation. This system in it’s most basic form uses water to rotate a wheel that is attached to a turbine which in turn generates electricity.

Wind Power another common Renewable Energy Source like Water Power has been harnessed by man for several hundred years. It has been used to provide the energy needed to irrigate fields, grind grains… Wind Power in our modern age is used to generate electricity through the use of Wind Turbines in much the same way as is done in Hydroelectric Power Generation (The difference being that Air is the working fluid not Water).


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The last Renewable Energy Source of important consideration is Solar Energy (there is also Geothermal Energy, Ocean Wave etc…). Solar Energy or the Energy that comes from the Sun as heat and light can be used to heat and cool our indoor environments as well as produce electricity. With a device known as a Solar Cell, Sunlight (or any light source) can generate electricity directly without mechanical means. A Solar Cell is able to do this because it takes advantage of the particle nature of Sunlight (The Photon). Solar Energy can also be used to Super Heat a liquid (such as water) producing Super Heated Steam which drives a turbine to produce electricity.

With todays technological advancements Wind and Solar Power are benefits home owners can take advantage of, as these two Renewable Energy Sources are fairly easy to implement in any home. The application of these technological advancements reduce your carbon footprint as well as your energy bill. Implementing Renewable Energy Technologies in your home increases it’s resale value and allows you take advantage of the many tax breaks offered by federal and local governments for installing Green Energy Technologies in your home.

Some of you may be thinking that installing an array of Solar Panels or a Wind Turbine on your roof or back yard will be expensive and difficult proposition, but with the current state of Renewable Technology this is not the case. For instance you can easily make your own Solar Panels for under two hundred dollars which will save you thousands of dollars over commercially available units!

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You can also easily build a Solar Heating Storage Unit to heat your entire home making you much less dependent on heating oil, gas or electricity. It is now possible for home owners to be almost completely free of Fossil Fuels and the technologies that use them for generating power, which long term saves you money and helps restores the earths natural balance by reducing Green House Gases.

In conclusion Renewable Energy is not a short term trend that will disappear over time, but it is and will become an intricate part of how we manage our lives making it a smart and essential solution in counteracting the effects of Global Climate Change that is affecting millions of people across the globe as well as the other creatures that share the planet we live on. Renewable Energy is Safe, Clean and Cost Effective and over time will have Cost Advantages over Fossil Fuels; making Renewable Energy a good deal for your Bottom Line, Community and the Planet.

Learn more on how you can join the Renewable Energy Revolution and become Energy Independent.

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