As the weeks went by after I first moved in, I would wonder how I was making it without electricity. One month went by and no electricity. How is that possible? I went over my list: water from a well, heat from a wood stove, propane camping stove to cook, Waka Waka lights and candles for lighting, a cooler for my food, outhouse for waste, cabin for shelter . . . all good. What do I need electricity for? Life is fine without my toaster, blender, coffeemaker, blow dryer, TV, or computer. I either substituted or did without.
TV? I haven’t watched TV for over 10 years. I was accustomed to watching a DVD occasionally, but hey, I didn’t miss them yet. Music comes from my mp3 and some small speakers that can be recharged. A few solar lights have a USB port to charge my cellphone and mp3. Life is still good.
Well, there was a minor downside with the Waka Waka lights. They have a solar panel on the back side and two LED lights on the front side. They are approximately 4” x 6”. I set them out each day to be recharged. Even on cloudy days, they will gain some charge. The charge may last a day, but if there is a cloudy day, they aren’t as bright.
One night it was particularly dim due to some cloudy days. I hit a breaking point. Could I just have some normal light so I can at least cook, eat, and do my dishes? This is not asking for much. Right? Think about it. Of all the conveniences I wanted, lights were it! Forget a hot tub. Give me lights.
There had to be a solution without having to install a massive amount of solar panels that would be very expensive. So I searched online and found a solar system with 3 hanging dome lights by Solar King with a small solar panel approximately 8” x 12”. It was $150. Backwoods Solar also had some small systems that would have run about $500-$600 with a 12 volt battery and a solar panel that would run lights on AC with an inverter. Running on DC would be a little cheaper.
I went with the Solar King dome lights. It was a perfect solution. We have had a good mixture of sunny and cloudy days, and the lights are always running and charged. Eventually, I will get a small 12 volt battery and one solar panel system for lights in the living room. But now, I can cook, eat, and do my dishes and see what I am doing.
I also caved a bit and bought a small generator, just in case we got the cloudy days we had last January. They lasted all month. The generator would ensure I had light. There are a few downsides to the generator, like exhaust and a little noise, but I would be able to have light, charge my phone, watch a movie, use a drill, etc. No items with heat would be used on this generator like a blow dryer, toaster, coffeemaker, etc. because it is not big enough.
This lifestyle is doable without electricity. There is life without a toaster.