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The reality off-grid living

261 193 Nisha Muire
Off-grid living in Toronto is something that can be your reality. Although there are few examples of successful off-grid properties at the moment, the movement is growing and more people are slowly becoming interested in a greener way of life. For some the choice to move to an off-grid lifestyle was made due to the exorbitantly high costs of hooking up a new property to the electrical grid. Others made a more conscious choice to switch to greener forms of electricity for ethical reasons. Regardless of why you might be wanting to switch to an off-grid life, there are certain realities to keep in mind.
To live off-grid requires a certain amount of tenacity and willingness to give up certain assurances we would normally take for granted. For instance living off-grid will mean limiting the number of electrical devices you are using at a time at home. While most of us take for granted that we can have our appliances plugged in and running all the time and that we can use our television, computers, air conditioners and other electrically driven devices whenever we want, the reality of relying on your own sources of electricity will force you to limit or choose those items you use. You might have to decide whether you will run all of your appliances together or select those you absolutely want to use.
If you want to go off-grid, then you will need to figure out just how you will power those necessities of life that require energy. Some people use different types of energy in combinations – for instance solar and propane, or geothermal and wind. Solar is probably one of the more common ways of producing alternative energy. If you choose to go this route, then you will need a minimum of 2300 watts of solar panelling in order to properly power the majority of your appliances excluding a dryer and air conditioner – which are both power hogs. You may even be able to cook using electricity instead of propane.
A tip to solar living is to buy panels whenever they go on sale so that you create a bank of needed energy sources and to mount them on light tracking panels so that they follow the sun. By rigging your panels to follow the sun, you can produce about 20% more energy than if you have them in a static position.
Having good batteries to store the energy you need for cloudy days is also imperative is you don’t have a hook-up to an electrical grid. Batteries have truly innovated since they were first introduced. However, that is another article for another day as there is plenty to know on batteries used for solar stowage!
If you are truly interested in off-grid living, it is best to do your research and to attend home shows where you will be able to talk to the experts about what you will need all in one place.


Nisha Muire

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