There are many DIY projects you can start that you can take your first steps toward living Off the Grid. If you are fortunate enough to live near a source of flowing water micro hydro is another potential source of energy. Sustainable living is a concept that I believe many of us will be using more often in the future.
This entry was posted in Off Grid and tagged Off Grid, Off the Grid, Solar, solar panels, Wind by admin. Dave Eckert in the spring box that supplies potable water, irrigation, and hydro power to their homestead a mile away.
Simple and solar: passive design and energy efficiency combine with renewable energy for off-grid, country living. Solar thermal collectors, brought back online recently, reduce the run time of the heat-pump water heater.
A wood-fired furnace, with a water jacket, combines with a heat-pump water heater and a solar preheater (shown in photo above). The Eckerts upgraded hydro-electric system includes a heat shield for the diversion load and equipment grounding. Until modifications were made, the power shed amplified the noise of the microhydro turbine. A Schneider Electric charge controller and inverter are mated to the AC and DC distribution panel for a unified installation. David and Penny use their surplus RE energy to charge a new set of wheels, a Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid. BeginnerOur RE system is more a testimony to a lifelong interest in energy alternatives and experimentation—always looking for the ideal system—than it is to rational, market-driven decision-making. David—In 1975, I was working on a logging crew up a steep logging road in the Pacific Crest range of northern California, near the town of Orleans.
There was a bit of private property along the way—below that spring and above a river—that had some potential as a homestead site.
In 1976, by the time I wanted to develop that spring as a water source for my place, the Forest Service had abandoned the rocky old road in favor of a paved route that more closely hugged the ridge.


I got some friends together, put some beer on ice, and with my 1946 bulldozer, plowed a trench along the old road, rocks and all. Soon after we were married, I worked to develop a water right for a hydroelectric system to capture the winter high flows from the spring. A group of high-school students used their RE & energy-efficiency education to champion a 385 kW PV system, making their school net-zero-energy.
This off-grid intentional community includes its own microgrid to share a PV system among 10 homes. Up here, I recommend a small hot water tank, glass lined if possible or just used to install a resistance heater.
With the evolution 'one stop' design and video based installations from companies like Outback, most of the worry about this has been replaced with 'plug n' play' components, so I focus on the generator side and let a power dist. So it's back to expensive permitting---several thousand dollars, a wait of 5+ years, or discretely hiding the intake, penstock and generator house. Even tidal and riverine devices which float on the surface or just underneath it must be permitted; while jet skis, float boats, and a wide variety of commercial and recreational craft pass by. Meanwhile, gigantic wind farms with towers that can be seen for over 100 miles and whose 'footprints' clear-cut hundreds of acres of CO2 loving forest are routinely permitted.
Circulating the heated water into an insulated storage tank for later use can make a significant difference in your energy bills and bring you one step closer to getting Off the Grid. Each one of these is a stride in the right direction and by following one of these at a time can get you to the goal of being independent and Off the Grid a step at a time.
We enjoy experimenting, trying everything, discarding many things, and continuing with what works best for our household. They ripped up the old roadbed as best they could, which meant that it was available to lay my water line from the spring to my place.
Growing your own vegetables can be very rewarding and provide you with the peace of mind of knowing when they came from and what went into them. We have funded this passion with two full-time jobs over the years, and find that the investment provides delightful dividends in knowledge and independence. On the way home, we’d often stop at a reliable spring, where we would drink some water and wash off the worst of the dust before loading back up in the “crummy” to continue making our way down the hill.


It was cheap because the potential building sites were all above the two seasonal springs on the place, and water would always be an issue. Though it was full of rocks and went through some really nasty bedrock, it had a fairly steady slope.
The waterline then dropped fast across my property, barely buried, until it reached our building site. In fact, I met David in 1979 when he was applying for a minor change to his special-use permit to cross National Forest with his waterline. We also ended up with an official number from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as exempt from licensing for our hydroelectric project. It is not hard at all if you follow the instructions and have DIY mentality!This product offers a complete power conversion system between batteries and AC power. But I kept thinking about that deep, reliable spring on the old road, and I started clearing a little bit of land for a building site, in between jobs and when I was laid off for the winter. Because I worked for the USFS, some extra effort was required to become a co-owner in the property and the water line because of conflict of interest issues surrounding the Special Use Permit to cross National Forest. We now file papers annually with FERC and pay for all three water rights with the State of California. I came out to review the waterline, revised the special use permit—and married David about 18 months later. We periodically pay the USFS for the privilege of crossing National Forest to convey essential water to our homestead.
These fees add up to about $500 per year for the privilege of owning and maintaining our own water and power systems. PSTIf for some reason we are out of stock of this item on the time of purchase, your card will be automatically refunded!



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