In the struggle for cutting daily expenses, one culprit pops up all over the web: the power bill. There are thousands of guides, books, blueprints and videos on different generators, inventions and inventors that lay strong and hard-to-believe claims like “$100 gets you off grid”. So… can they really do that? Can we get off grid for a mere 100 bucks?
I’ve been building and testing such devices for the past 4 years… Some worked… Some didn’t do @#$%… But none were “$100 gets you off-grid” material. The ones that did work needed some extensive up-scaling for self-sufficiency, and the $100 turned into $1000 before reaching Home Depot.
So… No. I don’t think $100 cuts it for going off-grid. But what if we raised the price standard a bit? Sort of lowering your expectations in reverse… Will that do?
As I said… I’ve been buying all the guides I can lay my hands on and building the generators… And by far, the best one I came across and tested has been a portable solar panel array.
I was a bit skeptical at first… Having some experience with solar and all the other devices I worked on over the years… “No way I can do this for $200… these guys are full of it!”. That was my exact thought. I kept an open mind. You have to in this line of work… And started watching the videos. Somehow it all made sense after I finished the last one.
It’s all about cutting costs and being efficient in both buying parts, building and consuming the electricity it produces… Sure, plugging in a 1980’s fridge will drain the battery in minutes… But a good A grade green one will work for 2 days without a second charge. So it’s all about efficiency.
First thing that really kept me positive about the system was that indeed, I was able to build it and got it fully charged for $213 using their suggestions for buying parts (panels, battery etc). So yes! You can build a solar panel system for $200 that will work as advertised. And depending on your needs can sustain an entire house. Of course, if you have a big house with a lot of non efficient power guzzlers you’ll probably need 2 or three systems. But they’ll do the job.
I only built one and I’m using it to power up my garage. The door is electric, I have a lot of tools and a big ice box… So far I haven’t seen the battery charge drop by more than half. A friend of mine got so into it he built one for his camping and fishing trips. He just folds the panels, puts them in the trunk along with the battery box and off he goes.
It’s a really cool and versatile device that works… And although it won’t suffice alone if you have a 3000 sq ft home, it will come in handy as a back-up and camping generator, or a medium sized off grid home power supply.
If you want to take a look for yourself here’s the link. I think you’ll like it. The guy that put it all together has a very interesting and touching story on how he first built one.