Hey Nucleardiver I just wanted to say "good for you"!
My homestead has never been connected to the electrical grid and I've been living here for over two years now. No external utils at all (and to
everyone that needs to get into a semantic tizzy about this, yes, everyone that I know that is similarly not connected calls it "off the grid").
We get LOADS of sun here so my system is based upon photo-voltaic collectors feeding a battery array and then into an inverter to power the house.
We also a solar-geyser to make hot-water for bathing etc (with a wood-stove back up for cold and cloudy days).
Cooking is on gas, again with a wood-stove backup for in case gas ceases to be available.
Where I am it's mostly not too cold so heating the home is not a problem. But there is a big 'ol fireplace for when we want it.
I have SO MUCH wood I don't know what to do with it all so I use that as much as possible for fuel.
We harvest rainwater for drinking and washing and and the house's effluent is cleaned using a constructed wetland.
We grow almost all the veg we need to live and barter with our neighbors for things like eggs and milk.
And no, to the wanna-be cave-dwellers, this is not all about some kind of bizarre desire to return to the stone ages. This is not about "giving up on
technology". This is about making technology work for you in a new way. I am not reliant on a system that I don't believe in. I am largely
self-reliant, especially when factoring mutual community support in. And since most of my neighbors are in a similar way "off the grid" that makes our
community very robust in terms of survive-ability.
And, believe it or not, it even makes economic sense. If I amortize the cost of my system over the life-span of the components it costs me
substantially less than the cost of getting electricity to my homestead, the monthly line-rental fees and then the unit cost of using electricity. It
actually makes sense (where I am) as an investment!
But I still have all the technology I might want. I have pretty good internet access, laptop, phone, fridge... whatever. This is not the ludite
option, as I have said. But if those systems (phone system, internet, whatever) failed it wouldn't phase me. I'd "change gears" in my life and just
go on living...
But all of this aside: it just feels really good to be self-sufficient!
But anyway, what I really wanted to do is offer you some solidarity, ND. Its not only do-able but it's a really great way to live. Ignore the
haters. They're just doing what they do best.
edit on 29-9-2012 by Zingdad because: my gramma said my grammar was wrong