Category Archives: Solar Panels

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Van Life – Talking to Jess Meyrick about Living Off Grid in a Van, Minimalist Living and Travel Blogging 

Can Van Life Be Difficult, Living in Such a Small Space?

Living Off Grid - Van Life - Talking to Jess Meyrick about Living Off Grid in a Van, Minimalist Living and Travel Blogging

Living Off Grid – Van Life – Talking to Jess Meyrick about Living Off Grid in a Van, Minimalist Living and Travel Blogging

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California – From the way she speaks about it, I can tell the van is more than just a means of transportation to Jess, it’s a home. Despite the inevitable lack of space and sometimes messy practicalities, the freedom makes it all worth it.

I discover the van has a full size double bed, wardrobe, seating and kitchen area. Jess and Will have even managed to squeeze in a small shower/tub – and a fridge that pulls out from a drawer under their bed!

“We wanted the ability to live off grid without needing to stay in campsites. The van has solar panels on the roof that generate all the electricity we need for lights, fridge and charging ports.”

When I dare to ask how they dispose of waste on the road, Jess laughs, “without sounding too gross, the worst bit is definitely the bathroom department.”  They decided a ‘porta potty’ was a necessity for the van, especially during the winter in the mountains. But it’s not as messy as you’d think, “we just dispose of the wastewater at campsites or service stations sewage dump locations.”

Living a Minimalist Van Life, Sustainable Lifestyle

Jess concludes that living minimally is more of a state of mind. “We actually travel very lightly in the van – we quickly realized from our first trip how little we use.”

The key is to conserve your resources and live within your means, she says. The couple explain that their 80-litre water tank can last them three days, while still showering and using the water for washing up.

“On average, one person in the UK uses approx. 140 litres of water a day,” Jess tells me, “so what we’ve realized is, it’s not about sacrificing, it’s simply about being considerate.”

Read more => https://www.euronews.com/living/2019/11/15/life-off-grid-in-a-van-we-talk-minimalist-living-with-travel-blogger-jess-meyrick

Houses Built for Off-Grid Living Include Earthships Built with Hemp, Hay, Rainwater Collection and Passive Solar Heating

Off-grid living can vary widely, but generally embraces a sustainable, autonomous lifestyle including generating your own solar power, rainwater collection, waste removal/sewage solutions (such as a worm farm waste system) and growing indoor aquaponic gardens

Living Off Grid - Houses Built for Off-Grid Living Include Earthships, Hemp and Hay

Living Off Grid – Houses Built for Off-Grid Living Include Earthships, Hemp and Hay

Please Follow and Like our Off Grid Living Facebook Group Page

Adelaide, Australia – Kathy Menzel says she used to be completely oblivious to power bills, “just running along in the hamster wheel like everybody else, you know, busy, busy, busy, spend, spend, spend”. She and her husband Bob, both IT professionals, did have an inkling they wanted something different though, yearning for a serene country lifestyle with no neighbors.

When they finally found their dream block in the Adelaide Hills, reality hit home. “We’d been looking for five years for this great piece of land in the middle of nowhere but still easy to commute to the city,” she says. “But it was going to cost $450,000 to get on to the grid.” The cost of connecting was far more than the $238,000 for the 10 acre block, which was only 1.5km from a main road.

Undeterred, Menzel researched sustainable housing and calculated their energy and water needs. The result was a self-sufficient home they’ve been enjoying for four years now – which cost $150,000 less than the price of connecting to the grid. “It’s completely changed my way of living and my whole understanding of everything to do with energy waste and carbon,” she says of her new minimalist, eco-friendly lifestyle.

These days Menzel is acutely aware of her energy and water consumption. “It’s not an endless resource; someone’s paying for it somewhere, and I mean look at the climate – the Earth is paying for it, isn’t it?”

What are the challenges and perks? “Oh, just perks,” she laughs.

For one reason or another, Australians are increasingly taking up the gauntlet while governments drag their feet on sustainable housing regulations. Even the six-star building standards, for instance, just don’t cut it, says Menzel. “You know, you can put windows wherever you like and you can just run a big great air-conditioning system and pay a fortune.”

They built their home guided by “passive house” principles, achieving a 7.9-star energy rating. With no air-conditioning and a combustion heater for cold winter evenings, she says it never goes below 16C or above 26C inside in a region that dips below zero in winter and can soar over 40C in summer. Two rainwater tanks provide plenty of water, with enough to spare for the South Australian Country Fire Service.

Off-grid living can vary widely, but generally embraces a sustainable, autonomous lifestyle. This includes generating your own power, water, waste removal and sewage solutions (such as a worm farm waste system) and can extend to growing your own food.

Possibly the ultimate answer to sustainable living is the earthship, a passive solar shelter made from recycled tires, plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans. “You can use other stuff as well,” says expert Martin Freney. “Like you can salvage sheets of metal from car bodies and old fridges and washing machines and use them as roof shingles if you’re really creative.”

Read more at => https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/nov/29/earthships-hemp-and-hay-the-houses-built-for-off-grid-living

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How to Heat Off Grid Homes and Cabins with Trombe Walls and Passive Solar Window Heaters

How to Build a Passive Solar Trombe Wall  Heater that Can Be Made with Stones and Sheet Metal for Off Grid Homes and Cabins

Off Grid Living - How to Build a Passive Solar Heater Trombe Wall with Stones or Sheet Metal

Off Grid Living – How to Build a Passive Solar Heater Trombe Wall with Stones or Sheet Metal

How to Build a Passive Solar Furnace Heater Also Called Trombe Wall

Phoenix, Arizona – Solar can also be used to heat a shed, cabin or home with no electricity by building a passive solar furnace heater, which is very similar to building a solar hot water heater except that you’ll be heating air inside a black box with a window and using aluminum/tin cans, copper tubing, rocks or sheets of tin roofing that are painted black to absorb heat.

As hot air rises it will flow from the heated box into a colder structure at the top of the room while sucking in colder air at the bottom of the using a Trombe Wall vacuum air pattern. To improve circulation, you can add a solar attic fan that will air circulation dramatically.

How to Heat Homes with Passive Solar Heaters and Solar Attic Fans

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Enphase: Demand for Solar-Battery Systems Could Soar After California Blackouts as Customers Forced to Live Off Grid

Grid woes “will only increase the attach rates for storage” in the country’s biggest rooftop solar market, Enphase CEO says.

Living Off Grid - Enphase - Demand for Solar-Battery Systems Could Soar After California Blackouts

Living Off Grid – Enphase – Demand for Solar-Battery Systems Could Soar After California Blackouts

Enphase’s current growth is based around its core solar microinverter business. But in discussing the company’s Q3 earnings Tuesday, CEO Badri Kothandaraman focused on how Enphase’s soon-to-launch integrated energy storage system could aid Californians facing the state’s unfolding wildfire and grid blackout emergency.

California-based Enphase is far from the only residential solar equipment provider adding batteries to the rooftop PV proposition. Sunrun, the U.S. rooftop solar leader, says that a quarter of its California solar customers are now choosing to add batteries to their systems.

While Kothandaraman declined to predict how many battery-backed Ensemble systems the company will sell, he expects similar “attach rates” to those seen by Sunrun in the California market.

The demand for solar-battery backup systems could skyrocket, Kothandaraman said, with millions of Californians undergoing days-long blackouts this month under the expanded fire-prevention power outage regime of bankrupt utility Pacific Gas & Electric.

Read more => https://buff.ly/34g7G6M

#California #OffGridLiving #LivingOffGrid #Enphase #MicroInverters #Solar #Panels #Batteries #PGE #Wildfire #Blackouts #Discounts

Elon Musk Says He has the Solar Solution for California’s Fire-Related Blackouts Starting at only $15,000

Order Tesla Solar + Powerwall battery for 24/7 clean power and no
blackouts!, Musk
tweeted, adding a link to the solar section of Tesla’s website

Living Off Grid - Elon Musk Says He has the Solar Solution for California’s Fire-Related Blackouts Starting at only $15,000

Living Off Grid – Elon Musk Says He has the Solar Solution for California’s Fire-Related Blackouts Starting at only $15,000

SAN FRANCISCO — As California faces massive wildfires and extensive power failures, Elon Musk has taken to Twitter with his latest cause: equipping residents here with solar panels and giant batteries to power their homes.

In a series of tweets last week, the Tesla chief executive made a simple case to affected state residents: buy his solar and battery setup to ride out the next disruption. Power shut-offs from the local utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, will only become more prevalent over the next decade. And solar-equipped homes are more efficient and better valued on the housing market. He even offered a $1,000 discount to those affected by days of power failures caused by wildfires.

“Order Tesla Solar + Powerwall battery for 24/7 clean power & no blackouts!” Musk tweeted, adding a link to the solar section of Tesla’s website.

Read more at => https://buff.ly/2PPUOAe

#California #OffGridLiving #LivingOffGrid #ElonMusk #MicroInverters #Solar #Panels #Batteries #PGE #Wildfire #Blackouts #Discounts

What Electric Power Outages Mean for Solar’s Potential in California to Solve the PG&E Electricity Blackouts

Recent blackouts in California have millions of people looking for ways to keep the power resulting in a huge spike in interest in another technology – solar panels and home batteries

What Electric Power Outages Mean For Solar's Potential in California

Living Off Grid – What Electric Power Outages Mean For Solar’s Potential in California

Solar Power to Solve Northern California Wildfire Electricity Blackout Crisis

The recent blackouts in California have millions of people looking for ways to keep the power on. Some bought portable generators, but there was a huge spike in interest in another technology – solar panels and home batteries. Lauren Sommer of member station KQED reports.

Interview of Anne Hoskins by Lauren Sommer, KQED

LAUREN SOMMER, BYLINE: Power is out at every house on this block in the Berkeley Hills. You could tell ’cause all the cars are parked outside the garages ’cause the garage doors won’t open, except for one.

HOWARD MATIS: Well, it works.

SOMMER: Hi, there.

MATIS: Hi.

SOMMER: I’m Lauren.

MATIS: Hi, Lauren.

SOMMER: The lights were on at Howard Matis’s house during the last PG&E outage. His fridge…

MATIS: Which you can see – fully powered and cold.

SOMMER: That’s because inside his garage…

MATIS: OK. We can go up here.

SOMMER: …Are two Tesla Powerwall batteries, about four feet tall, mounted on the wall.

MATIS: The whole house – everything – everything is powered by these two batteries.

SOMMER: The solar panels on his roof keep them charged. Solar alone won’t usually work during an outage because it’s still connected to the grid. But batteries let you wire a house to be its own little island, a 24-hour microgrid. Matis bought this system because he expects California’s fire problem to get worse.

MATIS: I lived through one disaster, and so I know what a wildfire is like.

SOMMER: Matis lost his home in the 1991 Oakland Hills fire. Some of his neighbors died trying to escape. People there are more fire-aware now. The power lines are buried underground. But they’re not immune from PG&E’s blackouts. Matis is still frustrated with the utility.

MATIS: I’ve talked to PG&E in the past, and I realized they didn’t know what they’re talking about.

SOMMER: Folks from the utility beg to differ. But other companies see an opportunity in that resentment.

ANNE HOSKINS: We’ve had a very big uptick in – I guess we would call them leads.

SOMMER: Anne Hoskins is chief policy officer at Sunrun. It sells solar and battery systems.

HOSKINS: We have a better way than relying on this, you know, over-a-century-old system.

SOMMER: Hoskins says the batteries aren’t just for emergencies. Homeowners can use them every day to store solar power, unlike portable gas generators.

HOSKINS: They’re loud. They’re dirty. And that also contributes to the problem, in our view, that we’re facing, which is climate change.

SOMMER: But batteries are pricey. A Powerwall costs more than $6,000, plus installation. Hoskins says state rebates and federal tax credits can knock thousands off that price, and Tesla is offering a discount for Californians affected by the blackouts. Still, there’s the potential for wealthier homeowners to buy their way out of these blackouts, leaving everyone else feeling the brunt.

HOSKINS: How can we build a system so that all those investments that people are making can bring a benefit to the grid as a whole?

SOMMER: Hoskins says that’s possible. You can have a bunch of solar and batteries in people’s homes that can feed into the local grid and supply everyone. It’s called a virtual power plant. Sunrun is planning one in West Oakland, where 500 low-income households will get solar and batteries. The idea is that making power locally means you don’t need as many big transmission lines to bring it in from far away.

Read more of Lauren Sommer, KQED report => https://buff.ly/2NM45Xk

Off Grid Living - How to Install Solar Lighting Systems for an Off Grid Property

Guide to Off Grid Living Launches New Living-Off-Grid.com Website to Complement Its Facebook Groups and Pages Targeting Arizona, California, New Mexico, New York and Texas

The Facebook pages/groups and off grid website provide info on building off grid homes, producing solar power, growing organic gardens, raising livestock and harvesting rainwater

Sacramento, California (November 11, 2019) – The Guide to Off Grid Living announced today that it has launched a new website, Living-Off-Grid.com, to educate people that want to buy a rural piece of property and build an off grid homestead in Arizona, California, New Mexico, New York or Texas.

“Today’s world is full of high-technology gadgets, computers, cell phones, cloud-based services that are all dependent on electricity, but as more than 2 million people found out in California, that can change instantly overnight and without warning,” said Robert Hoskins, Editor, Guide to Off Grid Living. “Our Guide to Off Grid Living is written specifically to help people learn how to survive as long as the sun is shining and the clouds are raining.”

“Even if you live in a suburban or a downtown urban environment, almost anyone can prepare themselves and their family to live in a world without water, gas or electricity from the local utility company, which might vanish overnight, whether it be just for a couple of days or many months at a time,” Hoskins continued. “Imagine what it would be like to live in a house with no utility or grocery bills.”

For shelter, the site provides insightful information that beginners can use to research, plan and build their first off grid home, cabin and/or shed.

Off Grid Living - How to Build a Shed, Cabin, Tipi, Yurt, Earthship, Tent, Wilderness Shelter, Bunker, Tiny House or Steel Building for an Off Grid Property

Off Grid Living – How to Build a Shed, Cabin, Tipi, Yurt, Earthship, Tent, Wilderness Shelter, Bunker, Tiny House or Steel Building for an Off Grid Property


For energy, the site details how to harness solar energy to produce electricity, heat, hot water, lights and ovens for cooking.

Off Grid Living - Installing Solar Power to Produce Off Grid Electricity

Off Grid Living – Installing Solar Power to Produce Off Grid Electricity

For food, the site details how to plant organic raised-bed gardens, how to build aquaponic gardens/fish farms as well as how to raise chickens, ducks, rabbits, bees and other live stock to put food on the table.

Off Grid Living - How to Build a Greenhouse to Support an Off Grid Aquaponic Garden and Fish Farm

Off Grid Living – How to Build a Greenhouse to Support an Off Grid Aquaponic Garden and Fish Farm

For water, the site details how to collect water utilizing rainwater harvesting systems using rooftops and collection barrels and cisterns, how to build a fresh water ponds for raising fish and aquatic plants and how to drill your own well if the water table is close to the surface.

Off Grid Living - How to Install Rain Barrel Cisterns to Collect Rainwater and Store It to Provide Water for an Off Grid Homestead

Off Grid Living – How to Install Rain Barrel Cisterns to Collect Rainwater and Store It to Provide Water for an Off Grid Homestead

 

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Contact:
Robert Hoskins
Living-Off-Grid.com
512-627-6622