Ever wondered what it's like to live off the grid up north? We get asked that a lot. And not just by people thinking about why we live off the grid. Even other families who live off the grid and homestead in other parts of the world are curious about our lifestyle.
Worldwide, and in a variety of environments and situations people choose to avoid connection to the electricity grid. They're embracing alternative energy options. Becoming self-sufficient, embracing minimalism, leaving the hustle-bustle of the city-- people have many reasons to move off the grid. Yet living off the grid up north has some unique challenges and rewards.
When we arrived in the Northwest Territories, we thought our biggest challenges would be due to the bare landscape and frigid temperatures. Although we planned and prepared to live off grid in this subArctic climate, we totally missed a few things.
If you’re dreaming of moving off the grid to Alaska, Yukon, or the Northwest Territories, here are six things to watch out for.
#1. Solar Panels Are Swell in the Sunny Summers
Twenty hours of sunshine per day make for a good amount of power during northern summers. es, solar panels and northern summers are a great combination. Yet northern winters and solar panels aren't a great combination.
During the winter, the sun rises for just over hours here during the short days of December and January. This means we have to run our generator more often. And this means higher fuel costs and more potential breakdowns.
Our eight 80-watt solar panels sit high on the roof of our two-story chalet-style home. They charge our batteries well from April through May. And they’re really good at keeping our home powered from June through August when we get 20 hour days of sunshine.
Each autumn we adjust the panels to grab every ray of the watery winter sun moving across the treetops for a few hours each day. We reposition them again in the spring to maximize the summer sun, which moves higher in the sky. The more solar power we create, the less dependent we are on our generators.
When you’re building or buying a northern off-grid home....