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Living Off the Grid, Solar Power and the Simple Life

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Today, this post by Solar Baby was brought to my attention. While she and her husband do not live in a tiny house I would argue that they do live intentionally and having solar power is a big part of their identity. I love that she takes on the myths of solar power systems and shares her insight on what solar power isn’t.

Since I do live in a tiny house which happens to be off the grid, I thought I might chime in on some of her topics here.

It is not camping. I love camping. I go camping frequently. I would say that my experience camping influences my tiny life and vice versa, but they are not the same thing.

Living in our tiny house is not in any way “roughing it.” Some people might argue that it is because of our air pressurized shower and our outdoor kitchen, but I would argue back that these are value judgments. One person’s “roughing it” is another’s luxury. I don’t rough it when I camp either.

6 course dinner at recent camping trip. Photo by my friend Lamyka.

6 course dinner at recent camping trip. Photo by my friend Lamyka.

I encourage you to read more of my thoughts on off the grid living below:

We are connected to the World Wide Web. Both Matt and I work from our tiny house. I am a freelance writer and I primarily produce blog content. All of my research happens online and all of my submissions are through email. Matt works for a large company that allows work from home as long as there are reliable connections. Even in our off the grid house half way up a mountain we needed to make sure this would be possible. Before we bought the land we tested out the cell service and which company was better. We use a Verizon Wireless Hot Spot. We ran an antenna cable through the wall and up to the roof where it the magnetic antenna essentially makes our entire metal roof one big reception device. We don’t have running water but we do have 4G internet.

My cat also works from the tiny house.

Piglet, are you selling things on eBay again?

We do live without refrigeration. Living without a traditional refrigerator was a conscious choice for us and quickly found we didn’t miss it or need it. We have our efficient electric cooler and honestly I expected that we would use it more, but we really don’t. Many fruits and vegetables don’t need to be kept cold as long as you eat them quickly. Fresh eggs and even hard cheeses can also withstand room temperature for a few days. We stock up on staples like rice and pasta so we always have components to make a meal. Then we make a trip to the local farmers market once or twice a week.

Roasted root vegetables are delicious.

Roasted root vegetables are delicious.

It is not like a power outage. I found it interesting that Kathleen at Solar Baby made a point of this. Honestly I had never thought of our off the grid lifestyle as a being anything like a power outage. When the power does go out on our mountain and our neighbors are running their generator our house is still happily powered away by the sun. We do have a small generator which we can run in case of emergencies, but it can also charge our batteries so if we have a number of rainy days in a row we can run it for a couple of hours and be fine for a couple more days. We bought it when we were building the house but it is a useful item to keep around.


Have you considered an off the grid power system for your tiny house. What would it look like?

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Laura LaVoie

Contributor and Tiny House Owner at 120SquareFeet.com
Laura M. LaVoie is a professional writer living in the mountains of North Carolina in a 120 Square Foot house with her partner and their hairless cat, Piglet. Laura graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Anthropology. She has been published in magazines and anthologies on the subjects of mythology and culture. She spent nearly 15 years in the temporary staffing industry before deciding to become a full time writer. Laura works closely with the Zulu Orphan Alliance volunteering her time and the skills she's learned building her own small house to build a shelter for orphans and other vulnerable children living near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Laura also enjoys simple living, brewing and drinking craft beer, and popular culture.
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