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Home Forums General Discussion How to get started off-grid

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    Hi folks,

    I have been off-grid for about 15 years now. I started with just a small .75 acre piece of undeveloped rural land that I purchased for $500 from a family member.

    After a lot of scrub tree and sagebrush clearing I set up my first off grid homestead which consisted of a small old camp trailer with propane for heat and cooking and a 45 watt solar panel to keep the batteries charged for lights and the water pump.

    I hauled water in 5 gallon water cans to refill the camper water tank and used a porta potty and a composting pit for waste.

    I lived that way for two years while I saved up enough money to build the small solar cabin I had designed.

    My cabin cost under $2000 and is 14 x 14 with a kitchen, bathroom, dining area and living area downstairs and office and bedroom upstairs.

    Rather than buy new appliances I reused the appliances from the camper and the stove, furnace, sinks, fridge, lights, cabinets, water tank and pump all cost me nothing.

    I found good doors and windows for my cabin from a home that was being torn down free for the asking. The doors are insulated steel and windows are double pane low E glass.

    It took me approximately two weeks to build the cabin all by myself with just a few power tools and a generator for power.

    My power system has grown from the HF 45 watt panels to 480 ways of solar and 125 watt wind generator. Four large D8 batteries store the power. The system will fully recharge in about 5 hours of good sun and this runs my 2 tvs, stereo, lights, water pump, game system, laptop and gadgets. I can go 3 days without sun if I conserve a little on power use.

    I use propane and wood stove for heat and the propane also runs my fridge and stove. I spend about $200 a year for propane which is my only utility expense and if times get tough I can heat and cook on the wood stove and store my food in the cold storage cellar I have built and use a small 12 volt fridge.

    Mt septic system is a porta potty and a solar composting toilet of my own design that keeps the waste warmer and evaporates off the moisture so it composts faster with less material left over.

    I have no house payments and no electricity bills. I grow a large garden and raise chickens and rabbits for meat, eggs and fertilizer so my grocery bills are low.

    This lifestyle allows me to work when I want and I own a small business and work about 4 hours a day and take winters off. I now have the free time to write books and songs and explore the world without the worry of bills to pay.

    My girlfriend stays with me on weekends and for two of us the solar cabin is the perfect size.

    I have videos and a walk through of my cabin on youtube for anyone interested:

    I am always happy to share ideas with off gridders and homesteads.



    Great cabin you have Lamar. One thing that caught my eye in your write up is this: “The system will fully recharge in about 5 hours of good sun and this runs my 2 tvs, stereo, lights, water pump, game system, laptop and gadgets”

    According to official tables of sunlight hours for our location they say we only get on average 3.5 hours of insolation per day assuming it aint cloudy. But many times it is cloudy and during the winter we often go a week with out direct sunlight. Wintertime the sun only get about 30 degrees above the horizon.

    To be honest if I could afford enough solar panels to collect all I need in 3.5 hours or less I wouldn’t be living here.

    Your government would not allow foreigners like me to move down to where you’re at. So we need to find a different solution. In cooler climates like here, Stacked sand bag or strawbale construction makes more sense because of the better insulation and lower cost of material compared to stick built construction such as you used in your place..



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