Living Off The Grid
In the end I've been surprised at how simple it has been to transition to the off-grid lifestyle. I remember visualizing how difficult it must be to live off the grid. I somehow believed that life with solar power would dictate what can and can not be done. In most instances I've found that it's more about when something can be done... not if. Timing is everything.
Off Grid Appliances
Even with a minimum of three solar panels we've found that we have the power to do most things on sunny days. On occasion we use a small microwave and we frequently power a variety of kitchen appliances including a full size food processor, coffee grinder, and mixer. Our rechargeable battery powered tool set meets the majority of our building needs and can be used even on cloudy days. Our off-grid power system even supports the unrestricted use of a glue gun and dremel tool.
We work at home and find it easy to power two laptops and a printer and even have a cordless phone which must remain powered through the night. We have plenty of electricity for lighting, especially when utilizing low energy light bulbs in the form of compact fluorescents or LED light bulbs.
Moderation and Modern Convenience
In the future we plan to expand our solar power system to support a larger desktop computer, a washing machine, and even an electric refrigerator. Our friends Deb and Brian are also off the grid and have a much larger solar set-up. They have the ability to run an air conditioner and dishwasher as well.
What I've discovered is that living off the grid doesn't mean that you have to give up all modern conveniences. It's more about balance, moderation, and paying attention to how much power is available and how much electricity is being consumed. Ultimately, energy independence and conscientious awareness go hand in hand.
Solar Lifestyle and the Green Revolution
Moving towards a sustainable lifestyle is incredibly rewarding. We know that our efforts directly reduce our negative impact on the environment. By providing our own power we have withdrawn our support for polluting, coal-burning power plants. We are at the forefront of a green revolution, and we hope that our experiences will demonstrate to you that living off the grid is not only possible, but it is incredibly satisfying.