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3 Things To Consider BEFORE Going Off The Grid

Mac Slavo
April 27th, 2019
SHTFplan.com
Comments (51)

Have you ever wanted to go off the grid? Are you wondering if it’s the right thing to do for you and your family? Many ponder this idea and the implications, so if you’re one of those, here are three things you should take into consideration before making your decision.

  1. Make Sure You Can Meet Your Needs FIRST, Then Evaluate Costs

Before going off the grid, you will need to make sure you can meet your energy needs with alternative sources. If you cannot meet your needs, make sure you cut down on your energy usage so that it will be possible to make the switch to off-grid living. This will also help you make the right decision about which system could be the best choice for your situation.

You will also want to take the cost of these new systems into account. For the most part, the costs will come down to what you’ve decided your energy needs are. Most people can go off the grid for under $20,000 and most homesteads can get away with spending a lot less than that, but that’s still a large chunk of money for the average American. Consider your budget and save up before purchasing your system to avoid debt and interest payments.

You could even try a DIY wind turbine. You can make one for around $32 and it may give you an idea of whether this is the right lifestyle decision.

  1. Understand Your Systems and Know Their Weaknesses

Every system has a potential pitfall when you attempt to go off the grid.  Some of these will include the unexpected maintenance costs and the need for backup energy systems in case your primary system fails. Knowing how to operate and maintain these systems will be vital if you want to take yourself off the grid. Take the time to research and learn everything you can before making the switch so you’re comfortable with the decision about the system you’ve chosen and how to maintain it. Each system has advantages and disadvantages and you’ll need to understand them before making a choice.

You should also keep your energy sources diverse.  Diversification all but ensures you’ll have enough energy for your needs.  For example, don’t rely solely on solar power especially if you live in a place with limited sunny days.  Try using both solar and wind, and maybe add in a backup generator, just in case.

  1. Know Your State’s Laws

Some states have made it illegal to go off the grid.  California, for example, requires single-family homes to be connected to the power grid. Those who would like to take their homestead off the electric grid in Pennsylvania are required to contact their local government for an ordinance, pay some fees, and obtain licensing for them to operate within the law. In contrast, going off the grid in Hawaii is not only legal but often encouraged due to the limitations of the existing grid system.

It is important to consider your location, as some states may not even allow you to live off the grid. Perhaps you could consider a move if you live in California and going off the grid is important.

If you have decided to go off the grid, congratulations! It’s a big decision, but one that will come with freedom and sustainability.

Happy Homesteading!


Helpful hint: you could try a wind turbine kit from Amazon. While there are several options, choosing the right one for your budget and energy needs might be possible. Amazon also offers highly rated solar kits as well if you have decided solar power is right for you!

 

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Author: Mac Slavo
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Date: April 27th, 2019
Website: www.SHTFplan.com

Copyright Information: Copyright SHTFplan and Mac Slavo. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to www.shtfplan.com. Please contact us for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats.

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51 Comments...

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  1. A windmill is an advertisement. You will have plenty of interested parties coming around; government employees who may want to confiscate your supplies or your guns, or criminals looking for a remote hangout, or just desperate hungry people in need.

    .

  2. Brian says:

    If it is economically practical to go off the grid, the chances are that some of your neighbors would already have done so. In my neighborhood, the number of solar installations is zero. I do have portable solar but not enough to meet a significant portion of my overall needs. In a total grid-down situation with a probable duration of months or years, I’m not so sure that some government entity wouldn’t try to requisition solar equipment.

  3. The Ugly Truth says:

    Judging from the poor responses I believe that people are finally seeing this site for what it is, an anti-American/ Pro-Russian propaganda organ.
    Many I am certain are offended by the anti-Trump pop up ad as well.

    • rellik says:

      TUT,
      Can you spell ad-blocker?
      If Mac can make money off anti-Trump stuff who cares?
      I don’t think that propaganda will change any minds on this site.
      I like Russians, their government sucks, and I want to kill it.
      I don’t like Democrats or their government and that doesn’t make me anti-American, it just makes me anti-Democrat.
      Y’all have a good weekend.

      • Genius says:

        Speaking of off grid, Im making my pedal boat (already off grid) into an off grid power boat. Going to mount a small electric trolling motor, battery, 130 watt solar panel, 12V outlet with USB. I have all the stuff laying around except the motor. Endless, effortless, water patrolling. My doggie has been deemed the captain of the ship. Life is good off grid! 🙂

        • TharSheBlows says:

          I’ve been off the grid for 50 months now. You can only get off the grid by buying land out and away of the cities, and all their rules ordinances, laws and policies and attitude.

          When I moved out here the electric co wanted $1500 just to put up a pole and lines to my property. I said F/U I will invest in Solar Panels and that I did. I initially paid $5K to get a 1200 Watt Solar system set up. That will run small appliances, small fridge, power tools, etc. I have 8x 6 Cell Batteries, 2 each pair of batteries hooked in series 6V + 6V for 12V then paralleled to get a battery bank. I have done some upgrades, like a better Outback80 Controller and New True Sine Wave Inverter I am going to hook up soon. I went about 2.5 years living here with no problems until a neighbor out of vindictiveness to me ratted me out to the Code Dept. for having a shed on a property without a legal house. So I spent another $4700 in Engineered drawings and surveys to upgrade the entire Tiny house shed to FL Building Codes and get my official building permit. I will be doing this very soon.

          Most of the time, its some neighbor who calls code dept on you. They don’t just cruse around looking for violations. But this neighbor should know you don’t throw rocks when you live in a glass house. I called code dept back on them ratbasturds, and they have an unpermitted dock and boat ramp and several small buildings too close to the water, and not legal setbacks, which I see from across a small lake retention pond.

          So if you are going off the grid, you can go stealth for sometime, but have the resources to bring it all up to code if needed. But out in the country you can install your own well, septic and electric solar array. Burn your trash and recycle the rest to keep all the bills down. Live where there is cheap property taxes, and if you can try to grow our own food. And the biggest factor is time. Nothing comes fast and off the grid you will find yourself in better shape physically, as you are living in the 1850’s again. I love it off the grid, and recommend it to all of you, if you can swing it. The more land you can buy the better, so all of your housing and off grid living is away from prying eyes. Also look for dense woods so your activities cannot be seen from plane or satellite photos like Google and the Property appraisers office. Keep your assets under the tree canopy if possible. Stealth is key. In 4 years, not one County, State or Fed officials have stepped foot on my property, as you need to secure your property with tall barbed wire fence and locked gate and put p plenty of No Trespassing signs, enforced by Sig Sauer and Berretta, my backups.

          • rellik says:

            TSB,
            Good comment!
            You are right about the neighbors being a problem.
            We had one problem neighbor, he pissed off a lot of locals,
            now he is gone, moved back to the mainland.
            One significance difference between you and me is I get the permits and inspections as required. If neighbor complains, the county looks it up and if there is an open or closed permit, they won’t do anything. Due to a legal loophole, open permits here are good forever, as long as you are a “work in progress”. If a permitted structure is not completed, they don’t tax you for it, even if it is occupied. See what I’m doing? Like I said in another comment most my Hawaii off grid advice won’t apply to the mainland.
            Since I live on catchment( 34,000 gallons of storage), I keep trees away from the buildings that I use to catch water and the tanks that store water. The structures are hard to hide, they have very, very detailed Satellite shots of my land and I’m out in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Government sees everything.
            Lastly, I’m going with the Midnite Solar classic 150 charge controllers as I can get up to 97A vs the Outback’s 80A and they are roughly the same price. I run a 24 VDC system.

            • Genius says:

              relik, that is the same controller I use. My only issue with it is the little fan at the top only lasts a couple of years. When that goes bad it will run hot. I ended up just leaving the cover off. I don’t like fan cooled controllers for that reason. Mine is long out of warranty but if it ever takes a crap I have an outback FM80 backup I will use as it is convection cooled. A bit of advice… get backup cooling fans for your midnite controller.

            • Genius says:

              relik and TSB. I know what you mean! We have a few people at the off grid place that I call the CCCC (cop calling cooksuckers club). The worst one last year everyone shunned them and told them off etc. Guess what? When ya got NO friends life is boring as hell 🙂 They moved away and sold the place. 1 down 2 to go!

      • cranerigger says:

        rellik, gotta love your logic. Agreed completely.

      • Anonymous says:

        How about you deal with your own US government.
        I don’t like being lied to.
        I don’t like being BS’ed.
        I don’t like being stolen from.
        I don’t like armed thugs using color of law to suppress peaceful people.
        I don’t like armed thugs known as Police, murdering unarmed people.
        I don’t like armed thugs known as Police, beating people while they are in handcuffs and on the ground.
        I don’t like armed thugs known as Police, man handeling and body slamming young women just because they have a smart mouth.
        I don’t like war.
        I don’t like that the defense contractors/War industry, start wars by propaganda so they can make money. Haliburton-KBR-Black Water etc etc etc.
        I don’t like a controlled opposition political system with NO choice.
        I don’t like my country being INVADED by mexican-cartels-gangs-and dangerous muslim HORDES.
        I don’t like TRILLION dollar US government debt. While the bridges and roads are literally falling down!

        So don’t worry about Russia. The US Air Force/ Air Space Command, and US Navy Sub fleet, has Russia covered. They have done thier job very well. “God Bless them. We have not had nuclear war.”

        So i don’t give a damn about what happens in Russia. Russia is Putin’s problem. Not our problem. So leave them alone.
        .
        So all you need to worry about and repair is the US Government and local thug theiving politicians with the murdering enforcers called Police.

        You damn communist have ruined the entire west coast.
        Needles, drugs, pooing in public, drug dealing, hobo camps with typhus, cholera. US west coast was beautiful, then the California commies took over. Cali, Wash, Oregon, now all COMMUNIST hell holes of immigrant and drug user insanity.

        Piss on you US communist.
        Piss on ANTIFA.
        Piss on the pope for funding migrant hordes trying to invade the US.

        Piss on you dope pushers here.
        Piss on you who allow cartels in US.
        Marijuana, booze, cigarettes, are ALL gateway drugs that lead to DEATH.

        Bet this is censored too!

    • Kevin2 says:

      TUT

      They don’t call the main stream media “Fake News” for nothing; it’s well deserved. No reasonably astute person believes too much official from the JFK assassination on. The Gulf Of Tonkin, a 34 fold increase dope exporting in Afghanistan with a “war on drugs”, arming ISIS, no WMD to be found in Iraq and how the hell does WTC fall in organized fashion without being hit? All are legitimate questions that haven’t had likewise answers.

  4. rellik says:

    First one must define “off grid”, I define “off grid” as being independent of any government provided/regulated services directly connected to my property. My definition encompasses those people that are required to connect to a utility, but can operate seamlessly if you choose not to use that utility or it fails and is not available.
    One the first things everybody in the business tells you when going off grid is “to reduce your needs for water and power”.
    This translates into reduce the quality of your life and increase the hassle of living day to day. That is the real decision you must make.
    If you are starting out in a very rural area where utilities aren’t available it is an easy decision and off grid is part of the cost and hassles of living there. If you have some of those utilities you have to decide if the costs are worth the “freedoms” of abandoning the utilities. If you have all the utilities you may be legally restrained from total disconnection from those utilities, have to evaluate how to “cheat” them and be independent, but do it at an acceptable cost.
    Most my Hawaii learned advice except one, will not apply to the rest of America. My one advice is, don’t go to only Grid tied solar because if the Grid goes down you go down when the sun goes down. My solar system charges my battery bank. That battery bank then feeds my residence 24/7. I could run the Grid meter backwards, but I choose not to for legal reasons.
    Aloha

    • Genius says:

      The best advice I know and so do my friends is… PLAN THE COST AND TIME IT WILL TAKE THEN DOUBLE IT! Then you will be in the ballpark. Don’t buy cheap shit and do it right the first time no matter the cost or pay even more and do it again. I hate wind power, no one around here uses it and those that did found out it is a pile of crap. Solar is cheap and super low maintenence. Hydopower might be ok if you have the means. NEVER buy TROJAN batteries, they are the shittiest you can get! I have been doing the off grid thing for 23 years now and have learned a lot (from friends and my own mistakes). I guess if you are using a trailer it will be easier and cheaper but building from scratch in the woods is a muther. Consider the cost of hauling all that stuff. Consider how many trips to town you will be making when you need some part or whatever. Consider how the weather is going to slow you down. Consider what happens when you break down in the middle of nowhere. There are a plethora of factors that WILL throw a wrench in your works. It aint easy and it aint cheap. Short sighted non thinkers always eat shit and fail! If you have no mechanical inclination or improvisation, construction skills you better stay in town (I’m not kidding). Watch that show “Homestead Rescue” sometime, those people are waaay to stupid to be off grid! Mostly greenie liberals with no brains at all thinking it is doable for idiots. Failure is easy, success takes a lot of work and brains……

      • TharSheBlows says:

        You got that right Genius. Out in the country, the hicks are clueless about solar, and finding dependable workers is tough. Half of the work force shows up drinking beer or stoned. So most everything I will build and construct, I will do myself. Which is even better as the less prying eyes to y assets the better. I am pretty picky who comes on my property. Never ever hire a crackhead to work for you. They will come back later and steal your stuff. OPSEC is key here for stealth and Off Grid Security.

  5. Asshat says:

    Going off grid is expensive and your never truly independent. The town owns your land and there are zoning laws that determine the kind of house you can have on it. You can’t just compost your shit. That is not an approved way to deal with waste. If you have kids you have to deal with the state child welfare advocates busting your balls about the living situation. Not trying to piss in your cheerios. Just being real. Your best bet is living extremely frugal and keeping as much of your $ out of the economy living as self reliant as possible while preparing for hard times. Carefully investing in the right areas. There is a huge amount of shit for sale that is just garbage. So much false teaching from so called survival experts that will get people killed.

  6. grandee says:

    Off-grid doesn’t just mean off the electrical grid. If you’re using solar or wind, you are still on a grid – dependent on the support of some kind of mechanics, be they batteries or windmills.

    Off-grid means being off a grid of any kind of support.

    Off-grid means candles and sunshine for light. Wood for heat and hot water. Horses or mules for mill grinding or travel.

    Most of us could take lessons from the Amish, even tho they are now using gas for refrigerators, lights and other conveniences.

    Not many of us want to live truly and for real off-grid.

    • Kevin2 says:

      grandee

      I lived near the Amish having seen traffic backed up on country roads while they , “clip clop” along in horse and buggy. They have a community both south of Dover Delaware and just north of the Delaware in Pa. They are highly prized for their woodworking and they use power tools away from their home. Their spot in the farmers markets have electricity too. While their homes are off the grid their support and income mechanism isn’t.

      • grandee says:

        yep. I church with Amish/Mennonite. The men work from farming to woodworking. Their sawmills run on diesel, but the home is gas. The farms are run with actual horsepower. Chicken houses are electric and computerized. The dairy is electric and going computer. Ours is a mix.

        We all agree that going true off-grid would be hard to adjust to, even though most of their living parents are true Old Order Amish.

        We actually enjoy our A/C church house in the summer, even tho some homes have no A/C. Mine does. It would be tough to go without. 🙁

  7. Yu-No-Hu says:

    This might well have to turn into a multi-part essay,

    Roughly five years ago we moved to a place which is more than 90 miles from the nearest power utility line. In no small part due to my background (ex-Nuclear Engineer) and with a bit of brush-up prefacto, we were able to transition from civilization to the wild without sacrificing any modern convenience based on electricity.

    Firstly, you must have adequate electrical storage to meet your expected needs and a means to both charge that storage and subsequently extract it EFFICIENTLY. By that last emphasis I mean this: to the 99% the form your storage will take will be batteries – rather large ones at that. We have currently – in Toto – 72 ea,12 Volt 200 Amp*hr batteries sourced through AimsCorp (append .net to the name to get to thier site) which we convert and charge via 3ea 48 Volt (nominal) inverter/chargers whose functional capacity is 12Kw per unit with a very high transient power surge capacity…300% point in fact, for roughly one minute. These units are of the pure sine variety and we’ve never had the slightest problem with them, FWIW.
    We maintain three geographically separate compounds with one system installed at each. The effective storage – accounting for standard losses in conversion – is roughly 30 KWH. It bears mentioning that an inverter/charger MUST be present and properly wired in order to make use of any of that power: you are storing DC and everything you are accustomed to requires AC, eh? Furthermore, due to constraints arising out of physics (semiconductors) the efficiency of a 12V inverter caps at mid 40%, a 24V unit at roughly 72% while the 48V units average 88-92% depending on usage pattern.
    Now a BIGGIE….these batteries are EXPENSIVE people and under ordinary usage you’ll likely get less than 7 years out of a set. Most folks will not be diligent enough to monitor the battery draw-down to even get that…likely more on the order of 4 years.
    BUT…there is a solution. An outfit called PulseTech which can be accessed online via the same name makes a variety of maintainers that are compatible with being in circuit with an inverter concurrently. Here’s the rub: IF you employ those AND are diligent about keeping your battery draw to less than 15% between charge cycles than with a new set of batteries you’ll probably be able to get 20+ years out of your batts!
    Lastly, your prime power really needs to be diesel…I’m sorry but that is a simple truth. Gasoline engines simply cannot sustain high loads for any length of time. Military genders ranging from MEP-802 through MEP-806 can be obtained at reasonable cost from various sources including IronPlanet. Attempt to size your choice of unit judiciously: employing a 60Kw monster to power a smaller setup is both a waste of fuel AND will lead to cylinder wall glazing in short order.

    This goes ON and ON and on…questions will be answered if asked to the best of my ability.

    JOG

  8. The Ugly Truth says:

    Okay, have it your way, no Russian trolls here, just potheads from Hawaii, and your assorted Nut Jobs, Kooks, Drunks and Mental Patients.

    I still think that the anti-Trump pop up stinks like a turd!

    Bye, and watch out fur dem hogs!

    • rellik says:

      TUT,
      Reading between the lines, we do have an mix of commenters with eclectic ideas, so you nailed that pretty good!
      BTW I don’t do any drugs except cheap beer.
      As fur dem hogs, I have a freezer full.
      Tomorrow the Russian orthodox church celebrates Easter.
      Aloha.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget the Advanced Age Keyboard Commando club..

    • Ketchupondemand says:

      Seminole Wind changed his name. Still trolling.

      • Genius says:

        For Ugly…. In the words of Frank Zappa…

        “Yo’ Mama”

        Maybe you should stay with yo’ mama
        She could do your laundry ‘n’ cook for you
        Maybe you should stay with yo’ mama
        You’re really kinda stupid ‘n’ ugly too
        [repeats]

        You ain’t really made for bein’ out in the street
        Ain’t much hope for a fool like you
        ‘Cause if you play the game, you will get beat

        Maybe you should stay with yo’ mama
        She could do your laundry ‘n’ cook for you
        Maybe you should stay with yo’ mama
        You’re really kinda stupid ‘n ugly too
        And
        You should never smoke in pajamas
        You might start a fire ‘n’ burn yer face
        Maybe you’ll return to Managua
        You could go unnoticed in such a place

  9. Wassa matta you?

    Russia…the other white meat…and mostly Christian, too. We should be negotiating with them instead of making enemies out of them.

    • Kevin2 says:

      JRS

      Unfortunately “we” aren’t “we”. We do not control the country. It’s not my opinion, it’s been studied; “Major Study Finds The US Is An Oligarchy”:

      h ttps://www.businessinsider.com/major-study-finds-that-the-us-is-an-oligarchy-2014-4

      The country has been politically hijacked. Eisenhower warned us back in 61.

  10. Jim in Va. says:

    JRS…you nailed it. Unfortunately politicians on both sides with huge egos can’t or won’t get along. Kind of leaves the common man swinging in the wind. Putin is no hero and even fewer on our side.

  11. Genius says:

    Real off grid means no liquor store! A country boy can make his own! 😛

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think you need to ask the question of whether you plan to, or will be able to, stay in a certain “permanent” bug out location in the first place. It may be that you think you can settle in for the long haul going off grid, but I wonder if it is more likely you may have to eventually relocate, and for this reason, assessing a more portable system of power, portable panels, batteries etc. may have to be considered. This begs the question: how would you haul them if you had to move? Which means you have to keep a truck, trailer, and a dedicated supply of gas storable for two years with perserver etc in various Nato jerry cans and 55 drum oil barrels in such event. You can’t live out of your bug out bag for long, but you may not be able to stay in your bug out location for long either. This intermediate term scenario, one that I subscribe to but which is seldom analyzed, needs to be addressed. I will be the first to admit it certainly has its pitfalls. But I would rather have portable panels and Lithium Ferrous Phophate batteries that I could load up in my trailer and abandon my homestead if I had to and still have more power than just a 20 Watt Sunjack. Of course, you have to be constantly aware of the condition and passability of roads etc. , carry rope, big two man saw (quiet- not chain saw), boards, cat litter for mud or even a winch in case you get stuck, etc. in your truck. A huge hassle as well. This is why the use of radio communications is vital and is often overlooked. You have to know if the route is clear, and it takes early decision making. It was interesting to see Brandon Smith at http://www.alt-market.com address this issue (communications) on his first issue of the Wild Bunch.

  13. southside says:

    I didn’t know that going off grid was illegal in California. Damn,what a crappy state . Why the heck do people even want to live there?

  14. Research Land Patent says:

    I live in a small city within a larger city. People in the larger city can have chickens, but I can’t because my small city has ordinances against barnyard animals. A source of fertilizer for my garden when SHTF. BOL on high ground in swamp within a short walking distance.

    Research land patents. If you have a land patent, you can do what you want with your land, like cutting off the grid, without repercussions. You cannot not be evicted for not paying taxes or have your land confiscated by eminent domain. The downside is there is no fire or ambulance service to your house, which would have been paid for by taxes.

    h ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM_bJEFmoFk

  15. Wow what’s with the new format??

  16. Cmoore says:

    I cannot imagine living in California either. It is difficult living off grid. My personal belief is to live in rural America. Raise as much of your own good as possible. Buy local grown otherwise. Wood stoves are a good source of heat if you have access to wood. Have a generator to power your house if the grid does go down. Have a water collection system. There are a lot of solar ovens that work pretty good. We use ours even if grid is not down. You can have an outside kitchen that can be used at any time. Just sone thoughts.

  17. San Francisco Liberal says:

    Stop hating on our well run states. You have no idea and no education. Instead of hiding in the woods we live in sophisticated cities. Our taxes pay for your healthcare as a senior. There will be no collapse just a socialist utopia across the USA. Get with the program🙄

  18. With a generator you can build a small system for a few thousand dollars and expand as needed. You will run you generator to charge the batteries less and less as your system expands.