When we talk about getting energy “off the grid”, we’re talking about an alternative power source to bring electricity into your home. Power companies create electricity through huge generators. That electricity is then shipped through wires across long distances and into individual homes by power poles and wires. Most people who want power contact their local utility company. That company then sends someone out to connect the wires from the electric poles to their home.
hydropower is the massive production of electricity through the conversion of kinetic energy in water into electricity. This is typically undertaken in the form of a dam on a river. Water is held back by the dam and then fed in a controlled manner through it. On its way, the water spins turbines that crank generators and produce electricity. Famous projects include Hoover Dam in the United States, Nasser Dam in Egypt and the new Three Gorges Dam in China.
If you buy a 120 watt solar panel from the Internet you will pay something like $1,100 for a ready to install unit. That’s $9.30 per watt when you reduce the efficiency by 15%.
Accepting and enjoying the small pleasure of life is an art which we can all develop. The beauty of a sunrise, the first spring flowers, the music that enfolds us, the pleasure of a well cooked meal shared with people we care about. All these are daily things which we can take pleasure from. A sustainable lifestyle is about recognizing what is of value.
In order to do more than just barely survive, first we have to simplify our lives. We must learn to need and want less. We can learn to get our enjoyment and entertainment from lower cost or free sustainable sources. We live in a time of unbelievable over consumption of all kinds of goods, including expensive food from all over the world. We will need to rely on local products and local food sources. Part of the change that will be coming has to do with the transportation of goods across the world. We will see that slow way down and goods from far away will be extremely expensive. At least until new power sources are implemented that change the cost and environmental damage from worldwide transportation of goods.
What is sustainable living? It’s living more simply where “simply” may be defined as “regular” or “unpretentious”. It does not, however, means that you go pack your backpack and tent and go live in the woods and be a hermit. It does not mean you stop eating meat and go vegetarian. It does not mean you forgo of the finer things in life and sulk for the rest of your natural existence. In plain words, living more simply is doing without the unnecessary clutter that you constantly surround yourself.
Building solar panels is not as difficult as you might think. The solar cells are what transform sunlight into energy. These cells are wired together. Once this transformation has taken place, heat light and hot water are available literally on tap. Your appliances can also be powered up to work for you in this way. The materials will set you back in the region of two hundred dollars. Do it yourself stores and most hardware stores will stock these items.
The last system is the magnetic generator. In this system a number of magnets are installed around the turbine and the magnetic field created in those magnets turns the turbine creating electricity. It is by far the best system because it is completely self-sufficient and is not dependent on any external factors. It can generate enough power for the household and if there is need for more then a bigger one can also be installed. The purchase and installation costs are typically the only expenditure you will have as it is very easy to maintain.