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Considerations to keep in mind before going off the grid
When most people think about alternative energy, the first thing that comes to mind is solar panels and solar power.
Where this is a great way to harness renewable energy, there are many more ways in which you can use alternative energy and ways it is being misused.
Understanding the various alternative energies available is the first step in deciding which method is best.
However, even with a basic understanding of the 5 types of renewable energy many people have had the wool pulled over their eyes concerning some factors of alternative energy.
Here are three things you should know.
Number One: Hydropower is the cheapest form of Alternative Energy
Hydropower (power which relies on water) accounts for only 7% of the electricity generated.
However, the costs to implement hydropower plants are cheaper than any other renewable energy source.
Why is it then that we are not seeing more of these plants available, especially since an executive bill was just signed stating that the goal is to harness renewable energy?
I would venture to say that it is still all about how much profit can be gained.
To make the point Idaho, Washington, and Oregon which rely primarily on hydropower have the lowest energy bills in the United States.
Where every state uses hydropower, not every state uses it to its fullest potential.
Most states use no more than 10%.
Some would claim that creating hydropower negatively affects the ecosystem. To this I would state that watermills and dams have been working well for thousands of years.
With the advances in technology, new methodologies have been implemented into newer dam designs that allow for fish and wildlife to move about freely, thus the argument is bleak.
Properties that have rivers and streams should strongly consider harnessing some of the renewable energy.
Keep in mind that if the water is seasonal (being that the river dries up in the winter or that you have a drought season) you will want to use an additional source of renewable energy such as solar panels or wind turbines.
Number Two: Biomass Energy affects your food prices directly
You would think that alternative energy would lower the overall cost of living.
Idealistically, this is true.
Yet, then biomass energy is used and the supply is not increased to meet the demand, then the overall costs rise.
The primary example of this is found in Ethanol.
Ethanol is fuel which is made from corn.
Since the implementation of ethanol into most gas providing stations, corn has seen an increase in both seed costs as well as consumer costs.
Where this does not mean a lot to a person that does not eat corn, consider:
If corn seed is increased then the price per bushel will increase. This will drive up the price of gas (for those of you who use gasoline).
If corn prices increase, other produce will fluctuate to make the margin of increase seem smaller.
For example: If corn goes to $6 a bushel then carrots may go for $4 instead of $1. Consumers are more willing to spend more money on corn when the overall cost of produce increases.
If corn prices increase then the cost of meat will increase as animals eat corn.
The solution, of course, is to increase the number of crops to facilitate the demand.
Do not combine both the eating and the energy crops into one.
By allocating our biomass energy into a dedicated crop sector, we can effectively and efficiently have an alternative energy that does not drive up economic spending.
Also, exploring additional biomass power options will expand the diversity of power options on the consumer market, lowering the overall demand for a particular crop.
For example: if it was found that milkweed can be used to make gas (which it does not) then the corn crops would be lowered because a second option is available. It is common sense.
Diversify the market and dedicate more crops to the production of the biomass power and you will have better results.
Number Three: Solar power may soon become taxed
Solar power may not be living off the grid for much longer.
States which have seen an increase in residential properties implementing Solar Panels have begun to push for solar power taxation.
Arizona has proposed a bill which would charge a monthly tax for solar panels. Oklahoma also will charge you a fee if you install solar panels or wind turbines on your property.
The main advocate for taxation on alternative energy is the ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).
As you would expect, the members consist mostly of corporate activist and those who have their hand in the oil and gas industry. ALEC is an active “anti-green” and against off grid living calling those who do “free riders”.
In 2014 77 energy bills in 34 states were submitted by the council in an effort to tax those who install solar panels on their home.
With the executive bill signed on mandating renewable energies in corporations and having states meet target CO2 levels, states are going to have to make up for the loss of profit from companies which cannot comply.
The standard way in which to do this (governmentally speaking) is to tax something. Since the culprit of the lack of funds is renewable energy, the chances that the alternative energy will become the next ticket item for taxation is high.
A final note
Where it is true that there are negatives to alternative energy, it still holds more benefits than traditional energy consumption.
For example solar panels last on average 25 years or more.
Those wishing to live off the grid should consider which natural resources are most abundant in the area and use the best method.
You will want to check what regulations your state and local area has about installing alternative energy power on a residence.
In today’s world of advanced technology and multi-national industrial expansion, there is constant and growing concern about ecology and how to grow natural foods in a clean, healthy environment.
One solution is to initiate and oversee the cultivation of aquatic animals and plants grown together in a completely health-promoting structured interior, called aquaponics.
Aquaponics is symbiotic cultivation of aquatic species and plant life within an environment that continuously recirculates.
An aquaponics system combines the two types of aqua-farming—aquaculture (growing fish) and hydroponics (cultivating plants in water).
Fish effluent (waste) accumulates in the system tank’s water supply, making the water rich in plant nutrients but toxic to the tank’s aquatic animals. Within this nutrient enriched water, plants are cultivated and absorb these nutrients.
During the process, the plants lower and sometimes eliminate toxicity levels in the tank water, rendering the water healthy for the fish. This cycle continues, benefiting growth of both plants and aquatic animals.
No water is drained or exchanged, and fresh water is added only when significant amounts of this tank water have evaporated or been absorbed by the plants.
When the fish produce ammonia, a bacteria named Nitrosomonas sp transforms this substance into nitrite.
Subsequently, a second form of bacteria, Nitrobacter, causes conversion of the nitrite into nitrate. Absorbing the nitrate, the plants cleanse the water, creating a purified tank environment once again for the fish.
Aquaponics systems can contain fresh or saltwater, and system sizes can range from compact indoor units to large commercial systems.
Plant and fish types cultivated vary according to water type and system capacity.
While fresh water aquaponics systems depend on plants, aquatic species and nitrifying bacteria for operation, saltwater systems need just the two life forms of saltwater fish and seaweed or algae.
A major reason for using an aquaponics system in your home or as a business venture is to increase your self-sustainability or promote this idea and system to other people.
For this reason, it is sensible to power your aqua-garden with solar energy.
It also makes good sense to operate your ecologically sound, purifying aqua-farm with the natural power of the sun’s energy.
You will save a tremendous amount of money by eliminating your need for costly electrical power supplied by your local utility company.
Once you have installed solar panels for operating your aquaponics system, you will most likely want to convert your entire home energy source from electrical to solar energy power.
Important benefits to be gained from solar power for your aquaponics system include:
There are strong advantages to utilizing solar panels to power the operation of your aquaponics system.
If you have been practicing aquaponics cultivation for a while, you most likely have encountered problems with an electrical power interruption. You may have even had a power outage lasting a day or two, especially during harsh weather conditions.
If so, you probably had to rely on temporary power from a noisy gas-powered generator. By installing solar panels, you can start operating your aquaponics system with the sun’s pure, natural and reliable energy source.
Solar energy is a totally eco-friendly, inexpensive power source.
It is also completely safe.
You will never need to worry about fires or harmful gas fumes in your home when you use solar power.
In addition, generation of solar power produces no annoying sound like the noise from many gas generators. With batteries as a backup for power, you can benefit from energy from your solar panels for many hours at a time.
Although the presence of bright sunlight throughout the year in states like Florida and Arizona is a great benefit for consistent use of solar power, it is not a necessity.
Solar panels can store energy from the direct light on sunny days for use on cloudy or overcast days and, of course, during night hours.
The first major item you will need for installing your solar-powered home aquaponics system is a pump with low amperage.
With an efficient, dependable pump, you can have steady power for your aqua-farm with fewer solar panels.
A pump drawing just 24 watts of power can support water elevation up to nine feet. It is best to install your solar panel or panels in close proximity to your aquaponics setup.
You may want to mount solar panels on the roof of your home or on a high pole support.
Your panels should face south if you live in the northern hemisphere and north if you are located in the southern hemisphere.
Taking into consideration the voltage of your solar panels and voltage needed for your pump, it may be necessary to wire a pair of panels placed together to achieve correct potential difference.
You should obtain a pump controller that will regulate the power flow from the solar panels to the pump.
This controller should also include a battery for storage of extra energy from the panels to be used during night hours or on cloudy and overcast days.
The solar panels and the pump should be properly wired to form a complete and secure control circuit for operation of your aquaponics system.
You can charge your solar-powered aquaponics system using just a few essential elements for generating power.
A typical solar energy charging kit for a home aquaponics system includes four 15-watt solar panels with sturdy mounting frames and a 200-watt modified sine wave inverter device along with a 7-amp charge controller for solar power.
An installation wiring kit and accessories will also be provided. Nighttime battery discharge will be prevented by the diode blocking technology that is built-in.
This convenient kit has other handy capabilities as well.
It can be used to sustain a 12-volt battery charge. It can also be used as a charging source for electric-powered vehicles, equipment, boats, computers and other items.
With a 250-watt charging kit, you can gain more power, and with use of an expansion kit, you will have power increases of 310, 375 or more wattage.
Once your new aquaponics system is in place and powered with solar energy, you are ready to start populating this ecologically sound environment with aquatic animals and plant life.
You will soon be reaping the benefits of this pure, simultaneous cultivation of fish and plants.
This biologically balanced system will operate in continuous harmony. Now that your cultivation system is up and running, your role in the growing process is to maintain water levels, feeding and harvesting the fish appropriately so the tank is never overcrowded.
You, your family and friends can now enjoy the benefits of a completely safe, ecologically balanced source of sustainable food supply.
Want step by step plans to build your own Home Aquaponics system?
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Every good survivalist wishes that they had started sooner. Becoming a prepper requires a keen awareness, and cultivating this heightened level of attention leads to the revelation that precautions have always been needed.
Most newcomers to the ways of preemptive vigilance realize that they have been missing out on vital tools and skills. This list shows 12 reasons why most preppers regret not initiating their safety practices earlier in life.
Preppers happen to be some of the nicest people on the planet. Safety is their top concern at all times, and the group efforts of survivalists are creating extra stability for society.
Because their philosophy revolves around disaster prevention, these are the kind of individuals to raise children around. Their mere presence ingrains a sense of well-being that is indispensable, and it is hard to imagine reverting to life before their help arrived.
Survivalists are attempting to prepare for every kind of emergency situation. Logically, it takes plenty of time for amateur preppers to accumulate all of the necessary resources.
There are always more potential problems to anticipate, and new dangers must be countered every single day. Those who have been doing this for a long time will naturally be better suited for moments of crisis.
There is no such thing as too many rations. Inevitably, the people who have been prepping for the longest amount of time will possess the most materials. Unfortunately, a limited budget can slow down the process of collecting supplies. Starting sooner would have permanently remedied the fear of being caught off-guard.
Personal security will never have to be left to others again. An enormous quantity of prideful self-defense can be instilled. No bodyguard has as much to lose as the person they are protecting.
This factor generates significant risks that can be avoided by managing one’s own safety. Preppers will feel scared for their past selves whilewhile looking back at all of the risks that came with letting others take care of serious concerns.
Being able to handle any scenario will create a heightened level of self-esteem.
Most preppers cannot believe that they ever lived without the extreme confidence engendered by implementing a philosophy of total protection.
This self-assured composure could have been useful for years, but most incipient preppers are only just discovering it now.
There are countless possible apocalyptic scenarios that mankind knows about, and knowledge is the sole key to surviving these potentially devastating worldwide incidents.
Once the information has been passed down, the previous level of ignorance is absolutely terrifying. Most preppers regret the period of their life where oblivion took precedence over facts.
The lifestyle surrounding the prepper approach is fundamentally invigorating. Survivalism involves endless pasttimes, pursuits and hobbies. Becoming a prepper is an especially favorable endowment for those who appreciate the outdoors.
Firearm enthusiasts will also be pleased with ample amounts of gun training and collecting. All of these wonderful additions to life can be enjoyed right away, but today’s survivalists often hesitate until the undertaking becomes a chore instead of a mindful practice.
The days of dealing with a broken car are long gone for preppers. Their worldview stresses the importance of a trustworthy vehicle. They usually have a couple back-up cars and trucks for emergencies.
While this is intended as preparation for cataclysmic events, it is also quite convenient for handling daily hassles.
Many preppers can looked back at times that they were stranded, and they will fill with remorse knowing they could have staved off misfortune with practical reasoning.
When getting stuck on the side of the road no longer happens, preppers know they made the right decision in switching their philosophy towards life.
Here is an extension of the previous entry on this list. Because of their vehicular expertise, preppers are rarely restricted on the basis of geography. In truth, they like to travel a lot.
This allows them to sample various survivalism techniques, and it makes their activities difficult to trace when they are bugging out.
Self-reliance is vital and useful, but modern culture deprives people of this trait through excessive comforts and forced complacency.
No one is equipped to handle today’s challenges through regular means, and isolation is becoming increasingly prevalent. Fortunately, being alone is never an issue for preppers; in fact, they usually appreciate a little bit of solitude.
Many preppers live with the regret of knowing their family’s safety was improperly enforced all along. Before the transition in lifestyle, everyone was at risk and they didn’t know it.
In hindsight, this perceived mindlessness was very reckless and feckless. This is why the majority of survivalists will never turn back. They have learned through experience that life’s lurking dangers are not worth encountering in any manner.
This notion is at the center of all preppers’ mentalities, and it is the scariest thought in their minds’ collective repertoire. Doomsday could arrive at any moment, and it just as well could have happened at a time when preparedness practices were non-existent. This threat of worldwide annihilation is constantly looming over humanity, and it is only a matter of luck that we have survived this far into the future.
When preppers commit to the survivalist lifestyle, they intrinsically discover the fragile nature of reality. Mankind’s perseverance up to this point has been downright miraculous, and preppers know that a lack of precaution in the wrong moment would have been devastating.
They may be ready to face any future emergency, but it is only a consequence of fate that they lived long enough to confront these hazards in the first place. This realization is frightening, and it culminates in a deep regret for having previously risked everything by not paying attention to today’s pervasively imminent dangers.
You are moving your family to a vast homestead in the country.
You have an excellent start on your prepper plan: a large wood pile, plenty of backup medication, a huge stash of non-perishable food and water filtration tablets, a strong method of home defense.
What plans have you made for alternate energy?
It is essential to remove your household from the grid. The following are the top 10 reasons why you should consider using green energy instead.
The fossil fuels (coal, gas, and oil) many Americans currently rely heavily on have become very limited resources. One day they will completely dry up. You need to ensure your home’s continued functioning by implementing green energy practices.
Americans continue to drive around in gas-guzzling Hummers, leave lights on around the clock, and keep television sets running day and night. Once the fossil fuels are gone, panic will ensue. Cars will not be drivable. People will be at a loss regarding how they should function in this new, powerless world.
Without power, water will no longer magically appear from your kitchen faucet. There are over 300 million people in the United States alone. While it is usually easy to find a body of water, not everyone has the knowledge or means to ensure this water is properly and safely filtered.
Most American households are only equipped with electric or gas fireplaces and stoves. Wood-burning fireplaces and stoves have become unwelcome dinosaurs in our modern age.
Most people will not be able to get in touch with loved ones living far away. There are many devices out there that run off of solar or hand-crank power, such as radios, phones, and flashlights.
They are unbelievably easy and fairly cheap to build from scratch with tools and materials you can find at your local hardware store. The guide found here will give you all the information you need to build them. Solar power can be used as an energy source, it can be used to heat your water, and it can also be used to cook your food. It is clean, free, and readily available. Just ensure that you have a suitably sized battery bank to store your solar power for nighttime use and cloudy days.
Windmills as power generators are another excellent energy source that is easy and cheap to build by using the instructions in this guide. You will need to ensure you have an appropriate sized battery bank to store this wind power for times when the wind is low or not blowing.
If you live near a flowing stream of water, you can build a water mill that will provide continuous power.
Vegetative roofs are a fairly new enterprise for America, but they have been around for centuries and they offer many benefits to the user and the environment.
They provide insulation, reduce rain runoff, and you can even plant a vegetable garden up there. Get rid of those shingles and add some vegetation.
In this technique, fluid is piped through the ground to capture the Earth’s natural heat. It is then piped into a geothermal heat pump located in the house. The pump then uses this energy to heat and cool your house.
These are ten important reasons to convert to green energy. There are many more reasons that can be found with a little research. In the end, the crucial question is just how ready do you want your home and family to be for an energy deficiency?
Today we’re proud to present another DIY project from a fellow Doing the Stuff Networker. Jamie Burke is a master at repurposing trash and junk. His latest project shared on our DTSN Facebook Group not only saves money, but would be very useful both now (free is always good) and after a SHTF event.
If you’d like to see more of how he and our other members are Doing the Stuff, join us on our journey to self-reliance and preparedness!
Here’s Jamie’s down and dirty tutorial…
This process only requires: Two buckets, a drill (or stabbing weapon), piece of wood (or bottom of another bucket), kinda a custom drill bit, water. + your TRASH!
Out of all of the physical spam you receive in the mail, leaves you rake, dead foliage, paper towel rolls, paper plates, napkins, beer boxes, egg cartons, etc., etc., etc., (any biomass material you can think of) – why not turn it into useable logs for your furnace, campfire, or cooking? Just don’t use the plastic coated things.
I’ve seen ‘devices’ you can buy that makes ‘newspaper logs’, but they never seem efficient, require you to pre-shred, take way too much time and the logs are not very solid. This is a much better method and doesn’t really cost anything.
Get two 5 gal buckets. $3 each at walmart. Drill a lot of holes in it, about 2 inches down from the lips and around 3/16 size-ish. I used a soldering iron. You can use a screw driver and stab holes all in there. Go around all the bucket and on the bottom. [Todd’s note: Buckets can be had for free at bakery’s and construction sites]
Place the holy bucket inside the other normal bucket. Start putting your papers, leaves, bio material in it. Add your water and fill’r up. Doesn’t really matter if you have too much water. You can leave these buckets of water setup by the mailbox, then just walk by and toss stuff in.
You need a custom drill bit, which I have. A good thing to do is find an old table saw blade and weld it to s shaft of steel. This is “the hardest” part of this setup. Drill away and in seconds you will have a nice pulpy wet mess.
Next, pull out the holy bucket and let it drain. I put the draining bucket on top of the other bucket to save the water – you can re-use the same water many times.
You should have a press that goes far down into the bucket to press out the remaining water. I found a bucket that someone cut the bottom off.. well perfect. But you will probably want to place a bucket down on some wood, trace around the base and cut out that piece of wood to use as a press.
Set your press inside the bucket over the pulp. Then I set the re-used water bucket inside of that bucket (because water is heavy). That will work over time. I also sat on it.. put my anvil on it.. and stood in it. It’s pretty quick. whatever heavy you have for the top.
Now once most the water is pressed out – take it out to a sunny/dry place. Turn over the bucket and tap on the top. It will take some time to dry, depending on your location. We live in the desert so this will happen fast. If you want it to dry faster, cut these logs as you would a pizza, into sections.
Once dry, these will burn a long time.. and cost you ~ nada.
Todd’s note: Hope you enjoyed Jamie’s tutorial. He’s a fine example of people who have traded theory for ACTION! Come check out all the other folks busy Doing the Stuff!
If you try it yourself, we’d like to know how it turns out.
Keep Doing the Stuff of self-reliance,
P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…
It’s tough being self-sufficient in a society where everything is tied together.
Utilities lock us into a grid of water services and electrical energy. Well, it’s a little easier to survive the loss of water, the contamination of a water source. Top up a room with plenty of bottled water, and purchase some high-quality water filters.
Boil the water if you have to in order to survive.
Electricity has a few more challenges to cope with.
There’s the expense of a portable generator, and you need a constant supply of fuel to make this route realistic, right? Pause for a minute and think of one source of power far from the grid and available all day long. The sun is overhead, and the energy it radiates is free.
Their reputation used to fall into the average, impractical category, simply because they lost more energy than they stored.
Today’s panels are a whole lot more energy-efficient, staying cooler, absorbing greater amounts of energy, and converting that energy into heat for your property as well as electrical power.
Even when the clouds have sent the sun away for the day, the newer classes of solar panels will still soak up any light filtering down. That’s a massive benefit if you’re preparing a cabin out in the backwoods, or even if you’re just getting your family residence prepped.
And, unlike older technology, you’re no longer using the solar panels just to warm water for a hot shower, cutting your utility bills.
You’re partway to cutting the dependency you have on the city grid, using the electricity generated by the solar panels to light your rooms.
It’s age-old, comforting peace of mind, knowing that when the power goes down, for whatever reason, you’re ready to switch over to your backup system, conserving precious fuel in your generator by using battery stored energy from the sun.
Argue against fitting these panels by saying you already have backup power from your basement generator and solar panel systems are too expensive to fit and install.
Well, that’s only partially true.
Inexpensive solar panels can be found at larger hardware stores now, and they’re a great deal more portable than they used to be.
A 50-Watt system only costs a few hundred dollars, while a larger system may reach upward of a couple of thousand dollars.
But, remember, this is free energy from the daylight sky.
It pays for itself within a couple of years.
Keep using the solar panels, heating household water, lighting, small appliances, and watch utility bills shrink.
The technology is there right now, in hardware stores and from dedicated manufacturers.
Okay, the 50-Watt and 60-Watt versions may only hold a limited amount of energy for lighting and low current devices, but this is portability that can fit in the back of a four-wheel drive vehicle and be ferried up to a cabin.
Meanwhile, the larger systems, expensive as they are, use larger photovoltaic cells and an inverter panel to convert DC electricity to AC and power larger appliances, filtering the power directly into the power distribution panel and cutting power bills by up to 50%.
Do your homework and buy the system that suits you.
Visit your electronics store or local hardware store and look for a portable version, buying solar panels to fit any need, from log cabin in the woods to emergency solution for unscheduled blackouts. Feel the peace of mind from generating your own power.
What are the benefits of free energy systems?
One of the biggest benefits to free energy systems is that you won’t have to pay monthly electricity bills ever again. This is the number one reason that people start looking into free energy systems. If you are anything like me, you’re sick of paying for energy!
Before we get started on exactly how to build a free energy system, we’re going to learn a little about how it works. Don’t worry, it won’t be too technical but it is important to understand the basics before you dive head first into this.
Free energy products work on different principles and are developed by free energy specialists all over the world. Out of a wide variety of techniques, some free energy methods have been found to be more effective and dependable than the others.
One of these techniques involves the generation of electricity from TV and radio waves around us. These waves are constantly floating around whether we are aware of them or not. Especially in major cities.
Another involves the production of electricity from electrostatic charges in the atmosphere. Yet another method focuses on the conversion of radiant energy ever present in the atmosphere to electrical energy.
Whatever the technique used, free energy systems are reliable and easy to set up. The installation process is so simple that you can easily do it yourself, without the help of any professional electrician. To set up a free energy system for your home, you would need a few auxiliary devices such as a charge controller, a battery, and an inverter. You could also use a system meter between the battery and the inverter, to determine how much electric charge is left in the battery.
The free energy device is connected to a charge controller for regulation of electric charge from the device. The charge controller is then connected to a battery for storage of energy produced by the free energy system. Batteries tend to work better in warm temperatures, so it might be a good idea to encase the battery in a battery box. The battery box also helps you keep things clean and organised.
The battery, with or without the battery box, is then connected to an inverter. Once done, the output of the inverter can be connected to the mains of your house. That is all the set up required for a free energy device. Once done, you can say good bye, and happily too, to your electricity bills!
Below are all of the components used in the video above for a DIY Solar Panel System, where you can buy them and how much was paid.
– Grape Solar 250 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel: http://amzn.to/1eWZWMl
– BZ 500 MPPT500 Watt PV Charge Controller: http://www.bzproducts.net
– 6Volt Rayovac Ultra Pro Golf Car Battery: http://www.batteriesplus.com/product/…
– Samlex PST-150S-24A 1500-watt 24V Pure Sine Wave Inverter: http://amzn.to/1gNoO4i
– Battery Tender 24 Volt Battery Charger: http://amzn.to/RF7MQl
– Battery Saver Desulfator: http://amzn.to/1r8LiDi
– 24″ Starter to Switch Battery Cable: http://amzn.to/1i2SDlu
– 6 AWG Multi Strand Copper Wire, 60 Feet: http://amzn.to/1iDfbJu
– 4’x8′ 1/2″ Plywood for Battery Box: http://www.homedepot.com/Lumber-Compo…
– 2-1/2 in. Polypropylene Wheel Swivel Plate Caster: http://amzn.to/1r8LYIR
– KIll-A-Watt Meter: http://amzn.to/1eX0uSq