Spending time “off the grid” could mean weekend trips to the cabin, living in a remote location year-round or spending a season in a cottage. If your cabin is off the grid (meaning you don’t have access to utility power) or you can’t (or don’t want to) rely on the utility power available, you need to engineer an alternate power generation method.
The process for determining the best power source or sources for your off-grid cabin should begin with a calculation of how much power you use. When and how you rely on electricity at your cabin for items such as appliances, power tools, chargers and hot water will help you determine which power generation solution is the right fit.
Renewable energy sources are especially convenient when living, working or vacationing off the grid. Wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal energy make good primary power sources because, once installed, they don’t require additional materials to produce usable electricity. In contrast, relying solely on a generator to power your cabin means constantly transporting fuel to your remote location.
However, a generator is part of a complete off-grid power system. This is because there are times when renewable energy can’t be generated or isn’t meeting your cabin’s electricity needs. Large solar arrays or windmill installations capable of powering the modern conveniences of your cabin can be expensive. Generators, while more costly to run over time, have a lower purchase price than the upfront cost of installing renewable energy generation equipment and powerful storage batteries.
When choosing an off-grid generator, you should consider the fuel type based on efficiency, price forecasts and availability.