Going off the grid can be a great way to help save money. The phrase going off the grid essentially means reducing a home’s reliance on conventional power sources, like fossil fuels, by converting the home to be solar powered. This process is easy, saves money, and is beneficial for the environment.
Why Use Solar Energy?
Solar energy is very environmentally friendly, saves money, and provides users with independence from utility companies. The fossil fuels that are commonly used to provide electricity create harmful pollutants that are linked to global warming. Solar energy does not produce these harmful byproducts. Solar energy can also reduce utility bills, saving homeowners money every month. Another benefit of solar energy is the freedom it provides from utility companies: There are no more rising costs. Also, since the home has its own source of electricity, power outages have no effect.
How Much Money Can Living Off the Grid Save?
The average monthly electric bill in the U.S. is around $200, or $2,500 every year. By using solar energy as the sole source of power, this cost is eliminated. Even in homes that use solar energy in addition to the traditional power sources will see a noticeable decrease in the electric bill each month.
How to Live off the Grid with Solar Energy
There are a few things that must be done in order to go off the grid and use solar power. First, solar panels must be installed on the roof of the home or anywhere that receives direct sunlight for most of the day. Solar panels can be purchased or made at home. Making solar panels requires more effort, but most of the items required can be found around the home or in the hardware store at little cost.
Next, install solar inverters. Solar inverters will transform the power and energy collected from the sun into power that is usable in the home.
Though it is not necessary, solar powered hot water heaters are recommended. These can make living off the grid much more desirable, since modern comforts, like a hot shower, is not removed by using solar power.
Finally, batteries that store solar power must be purchased and set up. These batteries generally range from four to eight volts, and while they can be pricey, they are essential to using solar energy and can last for years. The batteries will allow stored power to be used at night or in times when sunlight is not directly available.
Going off the grid and relying on solar energy is not hard to do. With a little effort, a home’s reliance on traditional power sources can go down, along with the electric bill.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Peter Wendt is a writer and reseacher living in Central Texas. His latest home improvement project has Wendt attempting to live off the grid. For more information about green energy solutions, Wendt recommends Build Native based in Austin, TX.