It's been a two-year journey, but this past weekend, I finally flipped the switch on my off-grid tiny homestead!
In one fell swoop, a few solar panels and batteries have rid my life of so many things: Electrical bills. The stress of paying electrical bills. Watching the ever-increasing price of electrical bills. Okay, well, mainly just electrical bills.
But it's more than just the savings. As an ideological anarchist, I am loathe to comply with arbitrary building and zoning codes. I hate the idea of multinational conglomerates providing such a necessity as electricity and chide at the notion of outsourcing any job I'm capable of doing myself.
With the advent of advanced photovoltaic technology and increasingly high-tech batteries, forking over hundreds of dollars a month to your local corporate/State electrical apparatus is no longer a requirement - it is a choice.
While the modern anarchist and off-mainstream media viewer is apt to romanticize the exploits of Nikola Tesla, the 120-volt Alternating Current technology he invented has become a pervasive tool for control; in no small part due to the aspirations of Tesla's financier, J.P. Morgan, we now find ourselves hopelessly dependent on a select few for access to electricity.
The 21st Century, though, has us looking back to the 19th for answers from none other than Tesla's fierce rival, Thomas Edison. While Edison's 12-volt, Direct Current grid was hardly ideal for a centralized system of electrics, it is ideal for self-generated power. Such a model was out of reach 100 years ago, but no longer!
And here's the kicker for the would-be off-grid anarchist: 12 volt electrical systems remain virtually unregulated in most parts of America today. No inspections to deal with, no worries of red tags, no having to participate in the State-owned monopoly of "Safety Compliance." A 12-volt system is yours and yours alone... you can quite literally become your own power company. Just be smart about it!
12-volt power is already pervasive in our world today - RVs, campers, house boats, and even your car already run this proven technology. And for those who fret about having to abandon modern appliances in favor of 12-volt independence, worry not! From fridges to water pumps, from televisions to laptops, virtually every appliance you're using now has a 12-volt equivalent.
So whether you're pondering going completely off-grid in defiance of technologies like Smart Meters or merely want to exercise your independence by throwing some solar panels on your house, just remember:
120-volt AC is their technology, and to use it requires playing by their rules.
12-volt DC is your technology, and abides only by the Laws of Nature and electrics.
Note: While 12-volt electrical systems do remain widely unregulated across the country, some municipalities are more free than others. Comb over all local building, zoning, and electrical codes and proceed at your own risk!