The benefits of living off the grid can be very rewarding for those who are willing to make the adjustments. There are however a few disadvantages in living off-grid. Here we will discuss both the pro’s and cons too off-grid living with links to all articles we used at the bottom of this page.

Pros.

  • Reduced energy costs: When you live off the grid, your electricity bills will go away or become very small. In fact, in some cases the electric company may even cut you a check.
  • Freedom From utility grid dependency: You will no longer have ongoing dependency on the utility grid. Some people believe that we won’t always have the grid around. We won’t, that’s true. Will it affect this lifetime – likely no. Still, the sooner we learn to live without it the better. We do pass learning skills on to the next generation.
  • Less risk of weather-related power loss: If and when the weather takes a turn for the worse, you may still have power. During a storm that knocks down poles, it will be the people relying on alternative energy that have their lights still on and hot water running.
  • Many home design options: Most styles of homes can be off grid.While off grid homes are usually smaller, this is not always the case. Off the grid living is not just something that folks in earth shelters or straw bales do. Although, both these styles of homes are energy efficient and great options – so you may want to look into them. However, if your heart is set on a classic cape cod, you can have one and live off grid.
  • Increased environmental knowledge: You will get a whole new education. Managing alternative energy systems, living more simply, and learning the best ways to conserve offer a hands on education that you can’t get entirely from books. Many people who are living off-grid do come to think of it as a lifestyle choice instead of simply viewing it as the way their home is designed.
  • Diminished carbon footprint: You’ll be lowering your carbon footprint when you live off the grid.
  • Low Monthly Rates: Despite the initial cost, installing renewable energy will save you plenty on your monthly power bill. The amount you save will differ depending on the area you live and the systems you use, but the average monthly savings from solar panels alone is around £67 ($84). Most solar panels have a projected lifespan of over 20 years, so the savings can add up to over £15,825 ($20,000) in most places. Aside from the lower base cost, you can further cut your monthly bill by selling surplus energy back to your power company via net metering.
  • Flexible Living: If you prefer wide open spaces, refreshing views of nature, or the peace of rural life to noisy, rude neighbours, you can benefit from renewable energy. Producing your own power will give you the freedom to live just about anywhere. Connecting a remote residence to the electrical grid can be a major hassle. However, the flexibility of renewable energy provides a simpler alternative solution: it removes grid dependence entirely. If you don’t need to stay connected to a power grid, you can avoid the long and costly process of getting your land connected to everyone else.
  • Positive Environmental Impact: Global warming has been a major topic of global political discussion, and with good reason — climate change is projected to significantly alter the way we live over the next century. Switching to renewable energy and staying off the grid can lessen global emission rates. The impact you can personally make by going off the grid is huge. Over the course of 30 years, a single residential solar array will offset 178 tons of carbon dioxide, and a personal wind turbine will offset 200 tons of greenhouse gases over the same amount of time. Using both can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

Cons

  • Logistical Challenges: Renewable energy requires a significant financial investment upfront. A 5 kW home solar panel array costs between $25,000 to $35,000, and a 10 kW wind turbine costs around $48,000 to $65,000. Even though you’ll recoup those expenses over time, the initial price can be a major obstacle to living off the grid. Renewable energy also favors certain locations over others — solar energy generation slows drastically in cloudier places, and wind energy is unfeasible in any property smaller than an acre. Tax breaks and rebates are only available in certain states, and sometimes staying on the grid can be significantly cheaper in specific parts of the country due to lower local energy rates.
  • Space requirements: Not all alternative energy sources work for all land or already built homes. If you don’t have the right home or land, you may have to search for new suitable buildings or land.
  • Conservation: You’ll need to learn to conserve energy correctly, so that when you need it, the energy will be available. Conservation depends on energy system size and source, but a more powerful system, one that stores more, will cost quite a lot more money. Conservation is not just a con though; it’s an excellent learning goal.
  • Hassle of Initial Setup and Maintenance: Taking control of your own energy production is complicated and requires a lot of research. You will need to determine which system will benefit you the most, and once you’ve settled on a setup, you’ll then have to figure out which parts of your property receive the most exposure to your chosen renewable energy sources. After installation, renewable energy systems also need regular upkeep. Most solar arrays are self-cleaningas long as there’s adequate precipitation, but systems in arid locations may need regular washing. You will also need to receive a yearly maintenance check to make sure your solar panels are performing correctly. If you opt for a home wind turbine, you’ll have to replace the bearings and blades after around 10 years, all while staying on top of regular bolt, connection, and guy wire checks.
  • Limited Power Supply: Americans use more power than almost anyone else in the world. Depending on your usage habits and the size of your family, renewable energy systems might not meet your electricity needs by themselves. Users with larger power demands, urban users, and those in less sunny or windy climates may need to stay connected to the grid to supplement their renewable energy with power from their local providers. If you’re dedicated to living completely off the grid, you’ll need to consider your current lifestyle and make changes to conserve energy wherever possible. You may need to downsize your electronics collection, make a habit of turning off lights and appliances when not in use, and find alternative ways to cool your home in the summer — all of which may prove challenging if you’re accustomed to a certain level of connectivity and comfort.