Useful article on producer.com which explains the math of power consumption – what is a kilowatt hour exactly? And goes through a checklist of energy-consumption behavior you will want to change when you begin to live off grid.
Electrical consumption must be reduced by transferring major heating loads to other sources of energy. Electrical clothes dryers and water heaters can be replaced by gas-powered units. Hot water heating can also be done with solar thermal systems or be fired by gas or wood. Your building’s energy efficiency, passive solar collection and natural indoor lighting become much more important when trying to get off the grid.
Appliance purchases are given careful consideration because of their need and power consumption. Lower power consumption is worth extra money when you are paying for power generation systems.
A major part of off-grid power generation is lifestyle modification. You can no longer casually leave on lights or equipment when not in use. When using electrical appliances you must consider your reserve capacity. You must pay attention to standby power used by electrical chargers and electronic devices that are sucking on your system. Off-grid power is like a paycheck: it is finite.
Off-grid power users become more conscious of natural weather cycles. Sunny days are the time to do high power consumption activities such washing clothes, vacuuming or using power tools. .
An off-grid system requires ongoing maintenance and investment. Batteries require monitoring, periodic special charging and eventual replacement. Solar panels are remarkably reliable and long-lasting and often have a 20 to 25 year guarantee. Electrical components, such as wind turbines, have a much shorter lifespan.
But with the off-grid system you are the master of your own electrical destiny.
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