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Lamar’s Small Off Grid Solar Cabin

I have been emailing back and forth with LaMar, of Simple Solar Homesteading, for more than a year.

Today he’s going to tell you a little more about himself. You have probably seen his small off grid solar cabin around the web before.

Here are some questions I had for him and I think you’ll enjoy his answers below. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us, LaMar.

What got you to start the construction of your solar cabin?

How has it changed your life, what do you love most about it compared to before?

How long have you been in your current design?

What’s in store for the future for you, your cabin, or are there completely different plans for you?

What has been your biggest challenge during the process?

Tell us about your solar power ebook/plans.

I’ll hand it off to LaMar now. By the way I own a copy of his solar building plans and they are a great value if you are wanting to learn all of this stuff. A link to where you can order them is provided for you below at his website.

LaMar's Small Off Grid Solar Cabin

How long it’s been and how I started

I have been living off grid for over 15 years now and love it! I started out after an illness ended my teaching career and a divorce left me homeless with only an old truck and camper to my name. I owned a small piece of land inherited from my parent’s homestead so I pulled the camper on that and lived in the camper for two years while saving money to build a small cabin.

Cost of cabin and design

Because of building restrictions the cabin had to be under 200 sq ft print and no electricity or water connections. So I designed a 14×14 cabin with a full loft that gives me just about 400 sq ft of living space. Downstairs is a kitchen, bathroom, living area and dining area and a large bedroom and office is in the loft.

The cabin was built for just under $2000 from all new materials not including the windows and doors which were recycled. It is fully insulated and can be heated with just a small propane heater.

Appliances and utilities

I didn’t have money for appliances so I recycled the water tank, sink, water pump, stove, furnace, lights and fridge from my old camper in to the cabin. Since I would be using solar power the 12 volt appliances work perfect. I purchased a small OD water heater and the furnace, stove, and water heater all work on propane. Mt propane bill was about $300 for the entire year and we have cold winters in Utah.

I also have passive solar heat from windows and I enclose the porch with clear plastic in winter to create a solarium. I use a porta potty which is emptied once a week in to a solar composter of my own design.

Modern luxuries gone off grid

I have all the luxuries of any modern home including wifi, antennae tv, cell phone service, microwave, washer and dryer. My solar electric system is 600 watts and 400 watts wind turbine power. That system cost about $4000 and was put together over time as I had the money.

How it’s changed my life

What I love about this off grid life is having no house payments and no monthly utility bills. I own a small business and only work when I want and take winters off to write and enjoy my hobbies. The only real challenge has been dealing with heavy snow which takes some work to keep the solar panels clear.

I love to share my of grid ideas with others and I have complete step-by-step plans for building my cabin and many other homesteading projects on my website for anyone interested: http://www.simplesolarhomesteading.com

There are videos of my cabin and step-by-step directions for installing solar and wind power on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/solarcabin

How to build a 14×14 solar cabin

Small home with no utilities or payments

Off grid solar installation


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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Jaime
    May 6, 2013, 2:20 am

    Thanks for sharing. I am liking the sound of no mortgage payment and low to no monthly utilities.

  • henry
    April 21, 2014, 7:46 am

    I have found Lamar’s site inspiring and amazing, he has such dedication and enthusiasm that impresses. His videos are very very watchable and helpful. Judging by these alone he must have been a great lecturer as well.

    • Linda
      May 22, 2014, 5:58 pm

      Yeah… I like LaMar. I’ve been watching his videos for a long time now. What I like about him is that he doesn’t assume you know anything. He explains every detail in a way that’s easy to understand. And yes, he DOES have a lot of enthusiasm. BTW, he also plays guitar and sings 🙂

  • Glema
    May 22, 2014, 1:21 pm

    Lamar, maybe you could design a small fan system to keep the snow from your panels in the winter? Just a thought, you could position it to blow the snow toward the back of the cabin, set up a catch system to collect it so that when it melts, you have fresh clean water 🙂 and when it’s frozen, you have a free freezer to store your winter meat, just cage style inclose it so you don’t get unwanted animal guests. off grid style ideas, just a thought. God bless!

  • Alberto
    May 26, 2014, 8:49 pm

    Hey Lamar! Been watching your videos since I first heard of your 14×14 cabin a long time ago. I was wondering if you could say how many watts/hour is your battery bank now. Thanks!

  • Denise
    May 27, 2014, 6:20 am

    I am very happy to see this post today on LaMar’s solar off grid building. I am *right now* in the process of building a tiny cabin that will be an addition to a small 8×10 existing shed (I just got the subfloor finished yesterday). I will be installing the sole plate later today and then will begin working on the walls and have already marked off the places for power to come in underground where I will pull #10 wire for a 30 amp sub panel that will be pulled off the main house. However, I would like to add some solar panels and off grid options so the cabin will be able to run without being on the grid. I am going to watch the videos and see what my options are so I can decide exactly what I want to do. It may be that I change my mind and do the thing entirely off solar and propane. Thank you Alex for what you do and the timing of this feature/post is perfect for me right now. And thank you LaMar, a person never knows when their own hardship will down the road give experience that will help someone else!

  • Bj
    July 26, 2015, 3:14 pm


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