Dream of going off the grid and saving thousands of dollars! Not so fast, it is a little more complicated than it would first seem. For example, some states actually have laws that make it illegal. We are not sure what the rationale is. But we suggest that you check first before making plans to go off the grid at your home or cottage or cabin in the woods. Secondly, if you are expecting to save money, it may take longer than you planned. This is based on the economics of what you pay currently for electricity and how much your system will cost.

Don’t forget to add in the cost of special appliances, lights, etc that will be needed when you go off the grid. You can use an inverter to convert from DC to AC. However, your system is less efficient when you do this. Either way, you will spend more money on solar panels or appliances so don’t forget to include these.

Going off the Grid – Do the Math

Unless you really don’t care about the cost or how long the system will take to repay itself, do the math. So that you know what you are getting into in terms of total cost and how long it will take to pay for itself. Some people don’t care because the cost of bringing an electrical line into their cabin or cottage is prohibitive, leaving no alternative but a solar or wind, or both-generation system complete with batteries for backup and storage.

If you live in an area where you do not get full sun all of the time a wind generation system might be considered as a backup for those cloudy rainy days. You can generate power at night with a wind turbine with the wind blowing. Your electrical system consultant should be able to provide you with some guidance in this area as well. Don’t forget that the neighbors might object to a wind turbine marring their view if they live close by. These are some of the practical issues to consider when you go off the grid.