Tag Archives: Solar Batteries

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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Batteries vs. Blackouts – 1,100 Homes Powered Through Vermont Outage With Storage

Utility Green Mountain Power’s pilot programs paid off with
clean, distributed backup power amid a statewide outage

Living Off Grid - Batteries vs. Blackouts - 1,100 Homes Powered Through Vermont Outage With Storage

Living Off Grid – Batteries vs. Blackouts – 1,100 Homes Powered Through Vermont Outage With Storage

Home batteries proved their resilience value during Vermont’s Halloween blackout.

Vermont – A major rain and wind storm struck the state at the close of October, knocking out power to some 115,000 customers. Among those affected, 1,100 homes managed to keep the lights on thanks to pilot programs specifically designed to promote resilient backup power with energy storage. The battery backup service lasted nine hours on average, but the longest instance stretched to 82 hours.

The event offers a timely data point for other jurisdictions mulling the use of home batteries for resilience. Northern California community power purchasers yesterday requested proposals for home batteries to keep customers powered during the region’s fire-season safety shutoffs. Such a model remains cutting-edge, but Vermont utility Green Mountain Power has shown it can be done effectively.

A couple of years ago, Green Mountain Power launched a Grid Transformation Pilot that allowed homeowners to pay a monthly fee to host a utility-owned and controlled Tesla Powerwall battery. The residents could use it for backup in an outage, and the utility could dispatch the capacity to manage peak demand at other times.

The program previously generated more headlines by saving hundreds of thousands of dollars during annual system peak events than for fulfilling the backup function. In 2018, GMP’s network of batteries reduced consumption during the ISO New England peak hour, saving about $600,000 on capacity fees. This year, a larger number of batteries, totaling 10 megawatts of capacity, responded to a late July peak, saving nearly $900,000 from a single hour of operation.

“We think about our need to deliver reliability constantly,” said Josh Castonguay, the utility’s chief innovation officer. “This has provided us with an amazing tool that can deliver reliability and also pay for itself.”

Those successes made for favorable economics for the utility system as a whole. But the Powerwalls hadn’t had a major opportunity to chance to demonstrate the backup benefit that was promised.

That changed on Halloween.

“We had near-100 mph gusts on top of some of the ridge lines,” Castonguay said. “We had damage across the entire state.”

The 1,100 homes that islanded from the grid accounted for the largest home-battery backup event in the utility’s territory so far, he added.

One reason for that: The utility keeps adding more batteries.

Read more => https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/green-mountain-power-kept-1100-homes-lit-up-during-storm-outage

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How to Make Money with Franchises Targeting Off Grid Doomsday Preppers that Are Stocking Up on Supplies

Some Top Franchises that Target Preppers that Sell
Supplies Needed to Survive in Case Shit Hits the Fan (SHTF)

Living Off Grid - How to Make Money with an Off Grid Franchises Targeting Doomsday Preppers

Living Off Grid – How to Make Money with an Off Grid Franchises Targeting Doomsday Preppers 

What Are Doomsday Preppers?

Denver, Colorado – If you’re not a regular viewer on the Reality Television circuit, you may not know about the television show that’s on the National Geographic Channel called Doomsday Preppers. In its third season, Doomsday Preppers is a television show about preppers and survivalists that are preparing just in case Shit Hits the Fan (SHTF). Here’s how the show is described on the National Geographic website:

“Doomsday Preppers explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations, and strategies, preppers will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties.”

Drama aside, being prepared is a way of life for a growing number of people. Some Americans simply want to be prepared for the aftermath of a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy or Katrina. Those events disrupted lives and businesses for weeks, months, in some cases years.

Did you know that there are meetings taking place for preppers all over the United States? Most are likely kept within close circles of family and friends, but some meetings are public. On the Meetup.com website I found many Meetups on topics such as preparedness, prepping, disaster, survival and similar terms. Go ahead and try searching. You may be surprised.

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of websites, blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels on the topic of prepping and survival. Some have large audiences.

Prepper Franchise Opportunities with Mainstream Appeal

Let’s look at franchise opportunities that may take advantage of the prepping trend, yet also have crossover appeal to a mainstream market. There’s also quite a bit of overlap in products when it comes to hikers, campers and hunters. Keep that in mind as part of the potential target market.

I emphasize the crossover appeal when it comes to a prepper franchise, because the potential market will be larger.

Also, unless you are living the prepper lifestyle yourself, you may find it hard to break into a niche market like preppers.

Metal Supermarkets

The Anderson shelter was a popular mini-bomb shelter that was distributed to citizens in the UK during WW2. It’s a well-known fact that The Anderson shelters performed well under blast and ground shock. That’s because they were made with curved and straight galvanized corrugated steel panels – 14 of them actually.

Those wanting to reinforce a basement or building with galvanized corrugated steel panels might turn to a place like the local Metal Supermarkets franchise that makes it easy to buy reinforcing materials.

Batteries Plus

In the event of a natural disaster or something more, it’s a safe bet that electricity will be disrupted, too. It’s a good thing batteries were invented. Long-lasting batteries will be crucial to our comfort, even to our survival.

Just-A-Buck

Preppers are able to stock up on lots of items at the local Just-A-Buck store.

Everything in the store costs a dollar. I purchased toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, razors, candles, lighters, flashlights, and hand-warmers. I also bought dozens of non-perishable food items like crackers, soup, nuts and candy bars, to name just a few.

Just search Google and you will find many articles and YouTube videos on the topic of prepping at a dollar store, such as this one at Apartment Prepper.

Dollar stores are great places to get lots of supplies for not a lot of money. It’s really about volume when one is focused on preparing for a time when stores may no longer be stocked. It has to be.

Gro-O

Most off gridders are going to have to grow some of their own food. Did you know that there’s a franchise that specializes in designing and setting up organic fruit and vegetable raised planter gardens?

Gro-O is the name of the franchise, and they’re big on education. You can attend a garden party at one of their locations where you learn how to set up your organic garden.

Once you’re done learning how to grow your own food in an organic garden, you can go to the Gro-O website and purchase a few GroEasy Redwood Planters. These raised planter boxes are portable and easy to assemble. Bonus: No hardware or tools are needed.

The Beef Jerky Outlet

Beef jerky is one of those food items that has been around since before refrigeration. And it is a food of choice for many preppers and survivalists, as well as campers, hikers and others who spend time outdoors. From YummyJerky.com:

“Generally speaking, commercially produced, vacuum-packed beef jerky has a shelf life of at least one year without refrigeration. Under ideal storage conditions, some varieties of beef jerky can last for two years or more.”

That’s why I paid a visit to The Beef Jerky Outlet, a young franchisor that specializes in tasty, high-quality beef jerky. Whether your local area could sustain a retail outlet specializing mainly in one niche product like beef jerky (and related items) is something to investigate.

These are a handful of the more mainstream franchises available that have overlap with the prepper market.  Do more research at the link below or put Google searches to work!

Read more => https://smallbiztrends.com/2013/12/prepper-franchise.html

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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