I want to go off the grid. What kind of generator do I need?
Dreaming of a simpler life
So maybe you’re starting to feel like the world is too small or too suffocating. Maybe you want to get out of dodge, quit your job, breathe your own air, and be surrounded by nature. Then maybe you should go off grid. This isn’t the craziest idea. It’s just a different pace of life, and it is more appealing than you think. Some people choose to have a home that is off the grid in a rural area so that they are not surrounded by other people. And some choose to be on the road indefinitely, living a van life. The van life trend has gone up in the last few years with people choosing to live a simpler life and hitting the road (or trails).
Finding your tribe
Some people think that if you go off the grid, you become isolated from the world’s everyday happenings. That is somewhat true, depending on how detached you want to be. When you go off the grid, your home or van and everything about you becomes highly independent and self-sustainable. If you choose to be on the road living the van life, you will also meet some kind amazing people that will help you along the way.
Powering your existance
If you’re living in a van and being on the road mostly, you’re going to need a portable generator to have power at all times. The most common portable generators are fueled by gasoline or propane, and each one has different advantages and disadvantages. Read this article if you want to know more about living the dream van life and how to prepare for it.
If permanently living in a middle of nowhere area, you have to become self-sustainable, in which you need to consider resources. You’re going to need power, water, heat, fuel, good soil, and food sources. Choosing land needs to be based off of sources being available to you. Food sources can come from the earth, while meat can come from animals that you have on your land. Remember that water doesn’t run uphill and you are going to have to be able to heat your water. This is why having power and fuel is important.
Running off the grid
Instead of standby or portable generators, you’re going to need a prime power generator or continuous power generator. Prime power generators are created to run for longer periods of time and your generator choice should rely on the electrical load you will be using. Prime power generators are generators that are designed to operate continuously for extended periods of time, while standby or portable generators are designed to supply power for short periods of time, in emergency situations like power outages or natural disasters. A very important consideration with respect to the selection of prime power generators is the power rating of the generator. Generators that have a prime power rating, or indefinite time prime power, can supply power at that rating for an unlimited number of hours per year as long as it doesn’t exceed 70 percent in electrical load. These generators can supply power for long periods of time as long as the load is variable and not constantly at the same power level. This means that as long as you are not using your power at more than 70% and you mix it up when it comes to energy use, you are all good. Turn some appliances off when turning others on and vary up your power usage.
Powering up with a generator
Another option for a generator while being off grid is a generator with a continuous power rating. Continuous power generators are designed to provide power on a continuous basis at a constant 100% load for an unlimited number of hours each year. This means you can use all the power at the same power level at all times of the year. This is probably the best option for people going off grid, since the power grid would be inaccessible. To purchase a prime power generator or continuous power generator, use our generator sizing calculator to get an estimate and match with independent dealers who will compete to give you the best price.
Preparing for this leap
The most important thing about going off grid is that it is a lifestyle change. And you don’t have to do it all at once, or in such a hurry. If you choose to go down this journey, you can have “testers.” Rent a cabin that is off grid for a month or two and see how you like it. Or dabble in composting and gardening. Or rent a van and try living a van life for 2 months before committing to doing it indefinitely. Going off grid can be an amazing life experience and will sharpen your survival skills while making you highly independent and self-sustainable. The big change can have huge rewards.
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