Home Energy and Self Sufficiency

There are many reasons why some consumers prioritize partial or complete independence of the electrical grid. For some people, it is a way to take pride in their independence. For others, it is a statement about producing greener energy. And just as there are a wide range of different reasons for opting for some form of electrical independence, there are also a huge number of options for consumers looking to make some electrical additions to their home.

Solar Energy

The first thing that everyone thinks of when it comes to electrical independence is solar. Solar panels have become much cheaper over the past few decades for what they offer, and this is a field where there are major innovations still being made. As solar technology becomes greener, cheaper, and more reliable, consumers will likely continue to follow this trend. Solar installation can be a complicated endeavor however. If you are installing solar panels, there will be a huge number of choices which need to be made. Some companies offer programs where you do not actually own the panels on your house. With proper permitting and preparation, you can typically allow any extra energy produced by your panels to be used by the electrical grid, with your account being credited for the electricity you contribute.

Alternatively, you could opt for an extensive battery system, where your solar panels charge a battery bank during the day, and then your home drains it overnight. While this has some benefits for those who are unlikely to be able to hook up to the electrical grid, it may not be a great idea otherwise. First, it is unlikely that your consumption will exactly match production. If you end up needing more electricity than was stored in your battery, you are out of luck until the sun returns. If you end up consuming much less energy than your panels can produce, your battery will quickly fill, and the panels will be sitting there doing nothing. Again, this is typically only a good option for people who are unable to connect their system with the local electrical grid.

Additionally, the work which will need to be done before installing a solar arrangement can be more extensive than the layperson realizes. From upgrades to household circuits to the installation of larger conduits on the property, make sure that you have a good idea what will need to be done, and its cost, before beginning a project like this. You can often save money by using a local trusted electrician to do all of the preparatory or general electric work, as some solar installation companies end up charging a premium for the items which may not be discussed during the initial sales pitch.

Home Energy Storage

Batteries and generators can also be excellent choices for allowing some energy independence. While these do not actually offer true independence, as you will need fuel for the generators, they do allow you to ensure that should anything happen to the electrical grid, you can guarantee a certain amount of electrical energy for yourself. Additionally, the cost of installing a backup generator or battery bank can scale with what your needs will be. Keeping a few essential functions running and the lights on will require much less energy than if you want to ensure that your jacuzzi stays heated and your electric car gets charged. Therefore, cost conscious consumers can opt for a relatively cheap system which will help them, as well as their families stay safe and comfortable in the event of an outage, where those with larger disposable incomes can opt for a system which allow them to live in luxury even when the power goes out for those around them.  While these technologies are not currently very widespread, more and more companies are offering products which offer some degree of independence from the electrical grid.

One of the best things about these technologies is that they are still developing rapidly. New innovations are being made every year, and you as a consumer will benefit from them. Staying up to date on how affordable and effective these technologies are is a great way to ensure that you live the life you deserve. Many consumers brush off technologies in their initial unrefined iterations, but then fail to realize that the technology has improved massively since they last checked. If 2017 was not the year where this technology became worth it to you, don’t give up yet. We have no idea what manufacturing and technological improvements will be made in the next one. And with all these products, if you see a slick sales pitch, don’t forget to call your trusted local electrician to see you might be getting overcharged for some of the basic electrical services which go alongside these products.

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