Off Grid besides Solar Power

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Nadja, Dec 10, 2010.


  1. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    There many aspects of living off the grid besides solar and wind power. We need to discuss some of them here as a lot of you I fear have no real ideas of what lies ahead for you.

    First off, when looking at remote property, keep in mind that although "neighbors" may welcome you in at first, they tend to be a little close knit for quite awhile until they really get to know you. They are also very nosy as they have really not much else to do.

    Make sure you have pulled up all the weather maps you can and really look at the norms as well as take a good look at the extremes in the past, as you will be s...t up the creek without a paddle if you get an extreme the first winter as I did. It can get very rough for you if your not preparred. My wife and I the first winter were living in our R.V. and it got down to -21 below and stayed that way for a few weeks. Propane tank ran out and the snow was high. We made it , but still can't remember how.

    Then the rainy seasons, we found the roads to be impassable, even in my old ram charger, which would go through just about anything. Many nights eating pancakes then also. This is called learning by experience.

    Then there is learning what will and will not grow in our area. These are just some of the things that you will be faceing , so this would be a good time to start talking about some of those things, before you make the move.

    Employment is yet another thing to consider. Find a possible job before you make the move if possible. Jobs in the cities are tough right, but even tougher up here. Nadja
     
    hank2222 likes this.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Off-Grid means you do not depend on outside sources for your electricity. This means if you have Electrically powered STUFF, that you make your own electricity. You may choose to eliminate electricity from your living arrangements, but in this day, and age, that is very hard to do. Becoming energy self-sufficient is also a very worthy goal, but again, that is something to work on. Solar, Wind, and Micro-Hydro, are all renewable energy sources that can be harnessed, to get you to that energy self-sufficient goal. Energy self-sufficiency does NOT mean that you do not purchase some of your energy from outside sources, it just means what energy you use is within your budget, for living your lifestyle. There are many energy sources that can be used to supplement your locally produced energy. Petroleum Based Fuels, Coal, Wood, are all fairly inexpensive sources of energy, that can be used, for living, light, heat, cooking and hot water, and have fairly high energy densities, (BTU's per unit of mass) and the technologies to use these are very mature, and well understood. Blue Sky energy sources are technologies that are understood, but not yet economically viable in todays world. Nuclear Isotope Heat Sources, driving ThermalElectric Piles can be very energy dense, but Regulatory concerns have kept these out of reach. GeoThermal is another technology, that can have good Energy densities, but does not scale well to small units, and you have to pick the right location. Just noting things to consider, when thinking "Off-Grid"
     
    hank2222 likes this.
  3. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    If you have a consistent source of water, I think the hydro would be the best. or even a steam engine powered generator could be a deffinitve if I could engineer such a thing but the water usage could be a major Issue. Even a grist mill type power plant could be difficult for a non-engineer Type person Like myself.
     
  4. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Disciple, Micro-Hydro is a very viable renewable energy source, and not all that hard to set up. The trick is to do a Stream Survey, FIRST, so you know what you have, and then work on getting a design that matches you Stream Survey data. Even if you only generate 300 watts/hour, in 24 hours you have 7.2 Kw, minus the losses in your storage system. (Battery and charger) That is a significant amount of Power, and used judiciously, can run lights and a Laptop, for quite a while. Investments in Solar will cost you a LOT More per generated KiloWatt. If your looking for Land for your BugOut place, or to build your BugIn
    abode, a nice year-round stream with some drop across your land, is one of those Must Have criteria, if you can find it. You don't necessarily need to worry about Water Rights, NOW, because you can use other sources of energy, until the SHTF Event, and after that, no one will be enforcing Water Rights, anyway.
     
    hank2222 likes this.
  5. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    ok I think I understand the principle of it. If I have any questions i'll ask you. Now up there in Alaska do you primarily use just Solar and wind, or do you have a gas/propane/diesal generator, or are you able to run a hydro system? or even some kind of steam system. The reason I'm asking you is Alaska is my dream location to move to one day and am trying to figure things out.
     
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I use Diesel, myself, as a primary energy source, with wood, backup, but I have a "special case", in that I am the Petroleum Energy distributer for the neighborhood, so my energy is just part of doing business. My Close Neighbors use mostly Petroleum, when the Solar isn't making enough power, with wood as the primary Heat energy source. Here, wind is just not practical as an energy source, because it isn't steady enough to justify the investment. The farther North you go the less solar there is in winter, but you get a LOT of solar in the summer. A Good, slow turning, single cyl, diesel Genset, can power a whole outfit, on very small amounts of fuel, especially if you also have an Inverter/Charge/Battery setup, to help keep the Genset in its most efficient range of power production. In my SHTF Senerio, I would have a couple of years worth of fuel, in the tank-farm at my normal usage rate, and if I got just a bit more conservative, it could last a decade. With my Close Neighbors grouping up and protecting the resource, we would be just fine for a minimum of 5 years, and maybe longer. First thing we would do is get our Hydro stuff in the Creeks, to supplement the energy input. Can't do it now because the State wouldn't give us a permit, due to them being a Salmon Streams. Way to many Greenies in the ADF&G Habitat Division, but that would all be in the past after a SHTF Event.
     
  7. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    ok, sounds like a workable setup. I like it. How far from say Nome are you?
     
  8. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Oh, lets see, maybe 1300 Miles.... I live in the Fjord part of the state. Very few trees, for firewood, around Nome.... and fuel costs up there are outrageous... Just a NOTE, here, Be it known to ALL, the Alaska Bush RUNS on Diesel Fuel.... and if your planning on coming North for your living place, and plan to live out here in the bush, you had better get use to that FACT, real quick, otherwise you will NOT make it thru the first winter. There are a lot of Dreamers, who think they can make it out here. We see them come, and go, because they just do not have a "CLUE" what it takes to live out here. It is especially hard on the Women Folk, and it takes a very special kind of Lady to make it out here. Lots have tried and many do not get thru their first winter, but if you find one that does, and even "Likes it" then she is a "Keeper". I am lucky, as I married one, who just can't live anywhere else, but they are FEW and far between. I have meet a few, and I can count them on two hands. .....
     
    hank2222 likes this.
  9. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    Alaska is my dream not my wifes, so I may get to come up for some hunting or even gold prospecting, but I doubt I'll ever get to live there. I can live with the fact that Diesal fuel is the main source of fuel you burn to get your electricity.......that in and of itself does not bother me Now if it gets to being 5 to 6 bucks a gallon here in the lower 48 I know its double that up there so whether or not I can live the dream up there I cant saythat would be a detiremining factor though.
     
  10. Maxflax

    Maxflax Lightning in a bottle


    I have the perfect setup for hydro.. problem is the generators are NOISY and will attract undue attention, either from busybody government types, vandals, thieves or when SHTF, various undesirables

    We have unlimited timber for fuel, wind aplenty. We'll add a very nice solar package, backup propane generator for running the clothes dryer, and we'll have propane for heat (will have to have it to make code, the home is still in the planning stage) and running the freezer. At this point I think the reefer will be 12 V DC and run off the solar/wind/battery system. I am looking into a small generator with automatic on/off for keeping the batteries topped off during dark but windless times
     
  11. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    Hydro Generator Made in the U.S.A.

    I have now available water or hydro generators. P.M me for more details
     
    Ganado likes this.
  12. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

     
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  13. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

     
    Sapper John likes this.
  14. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    The above two Vids are CLASSIC Examples of Stary Eyed FlatLanders, learning the ins and outs of Off-Grid living.... I was just Laughing so hard, that AlaskaChick was giving me "The Eye" from across the Room.... YES, It does take a couple of years, to get up to speed, and a few iterations, to get things right...
     
    Ganado likes this.
  15. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Well, you can critique them or admire them or both.

    Frankly, I admire them
    1) for trying and continuing to try. (they haven't given up yet)
    2) for admitting their mistakes and being honest. They don't pretend to be something they are not and they told the truth about their difficulties. No one goes off grid without making mistakes. The difference between a dreamer and a doer is that doer's never quit.

    These people haven't quit and they shared their difficulties for others to learn from rather than criticizing people who are trying. It is easy to sit back as an experienced 'off grid' person and be superior and be critical. Its much more difficult to live publicly, state your mistakes and move on.

    SO more power to these people for having a dream and trying it and for sharing their failures so others can learn from them.
     
    Sapper John likes this.
  16. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    These two still do NOT have a CLUE about Solar Electric Power Generation.... Maybe a couple of more tries, will get them there... Just look at the Solar Panel on Top of the Cabin.... What is WRONG, with that picture.... I mean, REALLY, Duh....
     
    VisuTrac likes this.
  17. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    and the point of this minutia critique?
     
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