Today there is an increased demand to find more sustainable energy sources, and customers desire to reduce or eliminate their energy bills thanks to the rising price of electricity. Fortunately, recent innovations in technology have made this goal more possible than ever, and generating your own electricity no longer requires nearly as much time, effort, or money as it used to.
Learn about three ways you can produce your own electricity at home below.
- Hydropower Systems
Hydropower systems rely on running water to generate energy, so this option is a fantastic way for those whose properties have running water on them. Hydropower systems are also advantageous because they don’t rely upon more varied factors like the wind or sun, and running water is much more reliable and consistent than other energy sources.
At the same time, these types of systems can be difficult to plan and install, and they require a very specific set of circumstances to work properly. There aren’t yet many easy-to-install hydropower kits on the market, but many DIYers have figured out ways to harness the power of running water.
If you don’t have a stream or river on your property, you can also consider installing water turbine generators within your home’s plumbing system to generate small amounts of electricity from water that is already running through your pipes. This won’t even come close to eliminating the need to find other ways to generate electricity, but they can work in conjunction with other types of power generators to allow you to completely avoid the need to pay high electricity prices
- Solar Panels
Solar panels have been a popular and more mainstream option for home electricity generation, and the technology has gotten more efficient and less expensive in recent years. Startup costs still tend to be relatively high, but they can often give you the most bang for your energy buck.
Perhaps the most difficult parts about using solar panels are finding an ideal spot to put them that gets adequate sunshine and calculating how many individual panels you will need to power your home. Various professional organizations and businesses can help you accurately estimate your energy needs and determine how much power output will be necessary to stop relying on a power grid.
Some states offer tax breaks or incentives for getting solar panels installed to sweeten the deal, which can save you thousands on their installation and maintenance costs. Unfortunately, many of these tax credits will be reduced or expire in the coming years, so it may be in your best interest to have solar panels installed sooner rather than later.
Once the solar panels are installed, they typically require very little attention and can last 20 years or more. Even if you can’t get completely off the grid, having at least some of your home’s electricity come from solar panels can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars per year and reduce your carbon footprint significantly.
- Wind Turbines
Wind turbines are the giant white machines often seen in corn or wheatfields, but you don’t have to have one quite that large in your yard to still get some energy benefits. Even a relatively small wind turbine can generate a fair amount of electricity as long as you live in an area that gets a decent amount of wind.
One of the most important factors when it comes to at-home wind turbines is ensuring that it’s installed by a knowledgable professional. This helps to ensure that it’s placed in a safe area that will actually receive wind to power some or many of your devices.
Permanent wind turbines may not be well suited for areas that receive hurricanes, but portable units can simply be removed and put inside when strong storms roll in.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a strategy to only use one form of electricity generation to get completely off the grid, solar panels are likely your best bet. Other devices simply haven’t caught up to the energy generation or efficiency of solar panels, though people who are serious about eliminating the need for external electricity should consider combining hydropower, solar, and/or wind turbines to get consistent levels of energy throughout the year.