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Energy Suggestions for going off the Grid in a city

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Sunshine108, May 8, 2016.

  1. Sunshine108

    Sunshine108 Monkey

    I am new to this Forum and could use some advice?
    We live in the city, and our co-operative is looking for ways to possibly go off the grid.
    I am sure someone here knows how to get enough energy to power a frig, hot water, lights and cook food?
    We are newbies and any positive suggestions about doing this would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    hitchcock4, chelloveck and Motomom34 like this.
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Welcome aboard.
    Co-Op? As in condo? And yes, there's an smidge of knowledge here on SM that can help a bit. Lots more questions need answering first.
  3. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    Hello @Sunshine108 welcome to Survival Monkey. Do you have land? Do you have an off-grid place? I think that is the first thing. The where first.
  4. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+

    If by "going off the grid" you mean energy production with solar/wind...yes it is very doable. The sun and wind is not better or different in the sticks than they are in the big city. You may have physical space limitations and building codes to deal with, however.

    If you mean food production and all that...yeah, you'll have a lot of roadblocks. A lot of city people have gardens and such but you could not completely live off of what you can grow in a small urban space.

    Keep in mind that almost no one truly lives "off the grid". Even the bush people in Alaska go into town for supplies once in a while, so keep your goals reasonable.
  5. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    If there is a will there is a way. As Ghrit said, there are many questions to be answered for you to gain good answers. Do you have land; are you in a high-rise, if a high rise do you have a flat roof that can be accessed; security issues to be addressed; what is the water situation and so on......

    You can do wind or solar for alternative power sources but in the city, there will be some regulatory hurdles to how and where you set anything up.

    If you have land that you can work, make a garden. Add in some vertical growing and you can pump up food production. Water will be an issue that will need to be overcome in some manner. Rain catchment systems are nice, but some cities think they own the rain.

    Anyways, there is a few questions to chew on and give us more information to assist. :)
  6. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter

    Welcome to the Monkey @Sunshine108 .. Everone here will be happy to assist in your quest for knowledge.
  7. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    First off, I'd suggest looking at existing city laws/regulations building codes
    They might not allow "Off-grid" within city limits.
    Off grid could mean no revenue stream to them .. and they kind of like money and may nix your attempted project.
  8. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    It would depend a lot on WHERE you are, the Daily and Yearly Cloud Cover, for Solar, and Prevailing Winds, for wind.... Cooking and Hot Water, are the BIG Loads, and likely NOT a viable use of Alternative Energy Sources. These are much more suited to Natural Gas, or Propane Energy input. Lighting, Sure... Computing & Entertainment, You bet... Refrigeration, Yep.... HVAC, marginal.... to be sure, you need to input a lot more information on your specific situation....
    chelloveck likes this.
  9. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Welcome. @ColtCarbine would be a good one to talk with about off grid /solar heating/ plumbing. He did a nice write up on solar roof collectors for heating water with sunlight. And of course hot water can add to your heating sources as needed.
    @Cruisin Sloth is one of several experts in solar power on the monkey.
    As you supply more info on your setup, monkeys will be able to be of more help.
    chelloveck likes this.
  10. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Yeah, I'll go with BT here, I have 8.4KW Solar, and am not "off the grid", does it save me money, yes because I am Grid Tie and sell back to the utility (COOP) at the same rate they sell to me, but not longer, I am grandfathered for 20 years but after that they want to buy my power back at wholesale rates. If you have Grid Power it is the cheapest power you can have, ask BT who generates all his own power. Energy to heat hot water or a heat pump is hard to do, try cutting back on electric for a while and see how you do, it won't be fun.

    chelloveck and Sunshine108 like this.
  11. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    For an accurate estimate of what your actual electrical usage is, get yourself a "Killawatt" meter
    P3 International Kill A Watt EZ Meter-P4460 - The Home Depot
    one of several sources. Consider Amazon also, SM gets a nibble of all sales made via the site.

    Once you have your current use tied down, you get to think about alternate sources. If you use anything other than electrical, you'll need to collect your past bills (natural gas, propane, whatever) and add that into your use as well.

    Yes, you can use your electrical bills to know your total usage, but can't tell you how much each appliance is gobbling up, so it's hard to tell what you might be able to do without.
    chelloveck likes this.
  12. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I post this often ,
    But to keep it short ,
    I live on a battery system and use several resources to maintain the battery bank.
    Using inverters off the bank insures that I don't get spikes or brown outs on my equipment.
    The only things on city power is heavy equipment ,i.e. welders / air compressor ,ect,,
    I use both wind mill and photovoltaic solar for electric, and thermal solar for water heating soon.
  13. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Welcome to the Monkey... Find out from the planning department what limitations you will be working under... be careful on how you develop your off grid system. if you decide to do it on the down low make sure it is well camouflaged as something else...
    Ganado likes this.
  14. marlas1too

    marlas1too Monkey++

    welcome to SM I grew up off the grid but I don't think you want that far back or willing to but you will find lots of knowledge here at SM
    chelloveck likes this.
  15. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    How much is a nibble, and what exactly do we have to do to have you get that nibble, I order all the time, give me instructions....

    chelloveck likes this.
  16. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Thanks for tip off / on to this thread .
    Lets see an answer or two from the OP .
    Coop / City / house or apartment ?? More questions & MONEY is needed , Grid power is half of RE (TODAY) B4 it was RE was 4 times as much .

    chelloveck likes this.
  17. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Clik on the "shop" icon at the top of the page, select Amazon (or the other ones if that is more to your needs) and make your order that way, it's automatic. The nibble is small and only melbo knows how big.
    chelloveck and azrancher like this.
  18. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Thanks, I didn't know... I'm just a dumb almost cowboy guy.

  19. Sunshine108

    Sunshine108 Monkey

    We are a Co-op apartments. We have about 150 apartments: Studios, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and Townhouses: 2 and 3 Bedroom. As a co-op, we buy into it, for less than buying a house and then our rent is lower, since we are members.
    chelloveck likes this.
  20. Sunshine108

    Sunshine108 Monkey

    It is a typical apartment complex, there is room to change things over to gardening but they have been using Roudup and when I moved in, I was able to educate them enough, so they stopped using it.
    I have heard of farmer's who had their crop infested with GMO seeds and they had to burn everything down and didn't grow anything for 3 years, so they could start fresh. I don't think that is an option for us.
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