Don’t we all wish we could create energy and live off the grid? Living off the grid is possible and is no longer something that only hippies, vegans, and environmental activists can do. Becoming self-sufficient in terms of energy is easier than many would imagine. With investment and some creative thinking, living off the grid is not difficult. By creating Alternative Energy Sources, you save money, do your bit for the environment and add value to your property. There are a few ways to create alternative energy sources and live off the grid.
Alternative Energy Sources
There are three Alternative Energy sources for renewable energy, the wind, the sunshine, and flowing water. Each of these combined with a bit of creative thinking and some basic science provides a multitude of energy creating and energy saving ideas. Combining the ideas makes it more than possible to live completely off the grid or become less reliant on it. Here are five ways to create energy and live off the grid anyone can use
Solar Power Energy Source
For South Africans, Solar Panels is the most obvious method of creating energy. Solar panels of all sizes are more efficient today than ever before, used to power a simple camping lantern or an entire house solar panels have evolved. With plenty of sunshine that produces light and heat, solar power is popular and Eskom and the government subsidise many installations.
Using solar to produce electricity to power a home will require research and planning. Solar electricity generation is more than just placing a solar panel or a number of solar panels on the roof and plugging appliances in. Solar electricity requires a professionally installed sophisticated arrangement of panels, batteries, and inverters.
Using the right solar panels is important and positioning them correctly to ensure optimal sun exposure is equally important. With the objective to capture as much sunlight as possible and turn it into power, getting professional advice will enable you to create your own energy and live off the grid easier. The location of a property affects solar power production considerably; shade from trees or in Cape Town Table Mountain can adversely influence power generation.
Converting To Solar Power Use The Pros
Converting and storing the power in batteries is the other area that needs consideration. Many poorly installed solar solutions lose electricity because of poor quality or insufficient battery storage. Using a professional solar installation provider ensures leakage is kept to a minimum. And you get the best out of alternative energy sources.
Solar power is expensive to implement and Finweek estimated a solar solution, excluding a geyser, would cost around R250,000 to install. These costs are recovered over a period of between 24 and 36 months on a large home. The long-term savings are substantial and when installed as part of a well-planned project make living off the grid entirely possible.
Solar is the most obvious solution to producing power but the wind is also viable in many parts of South Africa. Yachtsmen, Caravaners, and farmers have all been aware of wind power as a form of energy for decades. Powering small appliances or remote buildings with limited energy needs by means of a simple windmill is a proven solution.
The Wind is as easy to farm as sunshine and wind farms have exploded on the landscape around the world. Wind power has become a great as alternative energy sources. In fact, Windmills that turn and face the wind are now familiar sites and wholly acceptable forms of energy creation. The same principles that apply to solar panels, using the wind rather than the sunshine, when installing a wind turbine to provide power for the home. A professionally installed system of the same batteries and inverters allows electricity to be stored and used.
Wind power requires more planning than solar. In fact, the wind is as reliable as the sunshine but gusting does cause problems. Some Wind turbines are noisy, can be unsightly and may require planning permission to erect. To produce enough electricity to power a home large wind turbines or larger farms of turbines are required.
Using smaller wind turbines to power certain appliances or in conjunction with solar power is a popular way of using wind power. As part of a balanced and well-planned energy project aimed at creating energy to live off the grid wind power is valuable.
As with the solar panels, wind turbines can be expensive. Smaller wind turbines such as those used on yachts and caravans are relatively affordable and can be useful is spreading the load. Wind turbines have become one of the popular alternative energy sources.
Wind and the sun are available to everyone on a lesser or greater scale depending on the need. Energy companies all over the world are embracing both solar and the wind as viable energy providers but there is another renewable resource open to some home users. Hydroelectric power is used in many countries; there are ten hydroelectric power stations in South Africa with the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme under construction.
Hydro Electric Power In The Home
Not everyone is lucky enough to live by a flowing river. With recent drought, the number of rivers that are flowing has reduced but it does not mean that homeowners cannot use hydroelectric power. Hydro power in some areas is the most popular of the alternative energy sources.
For thousands of years, water has been used to provide power using waterwheels to provide early sources of power. The power of the waterwheels sent through a series of cogs and gears to turn a grindstone or operate another piece of equipment today turns the same wheels to produce electricity. With sufficient flow, hydropower is extremely efficient explaining its popularity. The same power generation can be used provide power for the home.
Farmers and villages throughout Africa with some success have used micro-Hydro power. Hydropower is very efficient alternative energy sources and can play is the role in certain areas. For properties to generate power and live off the grid. Recent drought conditions place restraints on this form of energy production but this should not hinder the development and installation of these power generating solutions.
Getting off the grid bit by bit rather than taking a giant leap is for many homeowners the route to take. There is a number of smaller energy generating or saving solutions that reduce the need to use power from the grid. Looking at small ways to generate or save power is just as valuable and useful as going completely off the grid. One such area to look at water heating in the home. A geyser or hot water cylinder in the home is generally the highest electricity-consuming appliance in the home and there are two ways to overcome this.
Solar Powered Water Heater
Producing hot water uses a lot of energy, just boil and electric kettle and watch your electricity meter light up or spin round. While the amount of energy required to heat water is difficult to reduce choosing where the energy comes from is a great deal easier.
Solar powered geysers in South African homes are very popular. Affordable and easy to install solar powered geysers are a logical step toward leaving the grid behind. Many solar geysers are eligible for rebates or government subsidy and the return on investment is remarkable. Adequate insulation on the solar geyser further improves efficiency, insulating hot water pipes keep as well as the geyser keeps the water warmer for longer.
Professionally installed solar geysers save up to 40% on energy bills. This considerable saving put toward energy creation will eventually lead to living off the grid. Making energy savings to pay for energy creation is something all households should consider.
Fire Places And Wood Burning Stoves
Burning fossil fuels such as coal and gas is the most common method of producing electricity in the world. The non-eco-friendly production method is one of the drivers behind living off the grid. It would be difficult to recreate the same power producing heat that power stations rely on from a wood burning stove but wood burning stoves can reduce demand on the grid.
Wood burning stoves and fireplaces have long been used to heat homes and heat the water used in homes. Electricity made water heating and heating convenient and stoves and fireplaces died out. Smoke pollution was also a problem and older fireplaces were inefficient. Modern wood burning stoves and fireplaces are efficient, burn less wood, produce more fuel and release less smoke that is less toxic.
Efficient wood burners can heat water and heat a home efficiently. Installing and using a wood burner as a way of heating water and warming the home. Takes away the need to use electricity and is, therefore, a step closer to living off the grid.
Another high-energy consumption area of the home is cooking. There are some clever “appliances” that anyone living off the grid will appreciate and find beneficial. Simple and extremely effective cooking solutions that apply the basic principles of physics are available and have been for centuries.
Cooking With Almost Zero Energy Solar Oven
The fifth and final way to create energy and live off the grid. This is more an energy saver than an energy producer. A solar oven does generate energy but in a confined space. And it is easy and affordable to make and install. Solar ovens are available from many camping and outdoor stores but they are also very easy to make.
A solar oven made in a cardboard box is easy to build and saves a tremendous amount of energy. Using the same energy as solar panels and a solar geyser a solar oven is a quirky must have for any home wanting to create energy and live off the grid. People who use solar ovens believe meals cooked in a solar oven taste better than a conventional oven. It may well be true if only because no electricity is used.
A Few More Alternative Energy Sources
Listed below are a few more ingenious ways that people and home owners have found to reduce their energy needs. Or in fact to create an energy supply in areas where there is no energy or energy is nor affordable. In farm lands and in outlying rural African areas where the population is very poor and have no access to electricity.
The Bicycle Energy Method of Creating Electricity
All over the world, new ideas to create energy are being developed or tested, some with more success than others. Pedal power is used to power TVs or produces electricity in some homes. Static bicycles placed in living rooms encourage households to get fit and generate electricity while watching TV. The idea is simple and has a level of popularity and it works. Using the kinetic energy from anything can generate electricity. In fact, more homes are finding weird and wonderful ways of doing so.
Farms with cattle have found or are investigating unique ways to generate electricity. Cattle produce excessive amount amounts of methane and scientists are looking at techniques to catch and store this gas. The methane can then be burnt to create heat and power stations. It is not science fiction it is real science such is the need to find more renewable energy sources.
The second and most viable solution from cattle farmers and sports event is to use pressure mats with sensors that turn squashing into power. Small amounts of power from foot traffic from runners, pedestrians as well as cattle can power street lamps or barn lighting. Moving forward flooring in homes could generate electricity just through day-to-day movement.
There is no end to where scientists are heading in the quest to find renewable energy. Some scientists are considering harvesting body heat and using it to create electricity. There is some logic to this but an effective solution is some years away.
Alternative Energy Sources Are Top Of All Energy Saving Lists
No matter how sensible, mainstream, crazy or not the methods of generating energy to live off the grid are the goal is the same. Any move toward generating energy to move off the grid needs careful planning. Solar and wind power can be installed DIY but professional installation will generate better results. One needs to begin looking at the bigger picture and finding ways to provider energy back into the grid.
Despite home energy production being highly efficient. Eskom has made it difficult to sell or give energy back to the grid. This sees energy wasted and therefore opens up avenues where small neighborhoods rather than just a single home can live off the grid. When considered holistically, home energy production combined with good insulation can bring savings and benefits to many. Taking not just your home. In fact, also other homes off the grid placing less pressure on Eskom as the whole is possible.
Renewable energy sources are the only way forward. Solar and the wind will come down in price. And it is up to us all to work toward saving energy even if we cannot move entirely off the grid.
Benefit of Roof Insulation With Alternative Energy Sources
There are a number of very effective roof insulation products on the market. The SANS legislation governs the thickness of the insulation by means of the recommended R value. In fact, all new homes in South Africa must be SANS compliant with regards the roof insulation.
The 145mm Isotherm Insulation is SANS compliant with the r value 3.70 when installed. When selecting the type of insulation you need always read the Isotherm Insulation Specification to be sure of the legislation.
The 135mm Aerolite insulation is also SANS compliant when installed. In fact to get the best benefit from you insulation use the services of Aerolite Installers. The 135mm Aerolite has the installed R value 3.70. As above be aware of your requirements and read the Aerolite insulation Specifications to make an informed decision. R value is the most important factor for insulation.
For the best roof insulation prices, the use of professional roof insulation companies will be more beneficial. Not only do the professionals install the roof insulation correctly but they are usually very well trained. Especially when working in tight corners in the roof space.