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Off-grid living in post economic downturn

On just about every corner of the media we come across stories of an impending economic collapse. It’s not just an extremist theory, mainstream media sources are now coming to terms with our dire economic state and we’re starting to see more and more discussions on what that could mean. We already know that we’re in the middle of an economic crisis. The question is: “How much worse is it going to get?” I have never been one to fuel pessimism or doomsday theories, yet the undeniable facts about our economy can no longer be ignored. 

Many people are taking steps towards self sufficiency by starting a home garden, and investing in solar power systems. The trend has not been about building Armageddon proof  bunkers, but more about establishing a local economy. One doesn’t have to engage in any sort of political bias to realize that growing your own food is a good idea. The off-grid movement includes many perspectives and ideologies, yet for the most part, it’s about people who just wish to experience a little more freedom from the confines of our current energy crisis.

An off-grid solar power system will empower a homeowner to be completely independent from the national power grid, allowing you to power critical items like refrigeration, lighting, and appliances directly from the Sun. The components for a reliable off grid system have come a long way in innovation and pricing, allowing far more people to be able to afford them. The main components of an off-grid system includes a deep-cycle battery bank, a solar panel array, and a combination of power conversion devices like charge controllers and/or inverters.

The objective is to store electricity generated from solar panels in large deep-cycle battery banks.  This power is then converted to alternating current (AC) by means of an inverterwhich converts DC power to the alternating current (AC) used by most appliances. Some folks opt to use direct current (DC) appliances that work directly with the power stored in batteries. These appliances can be just as reliable and efficient as their AC counterpart, although they do cost more up-front.

If you happen to rent or can’t quite afford a complete off-grid home system, outfitting your RV or fifth wheel with a mobile solar power system can be a great way to enjoy the benefits of solar power. Today’s highly efficient solar panels can generate a considerable amount of power with a limited footprint, making them ideal for mobile applications like boats, RVs, and campers. Camping can be primitive in certain situations, yet being able to power coffee makers, blenders, and entertainment systems in remote locations will give you a great sense of independence.