Eco-Friendly Electric Generators for Off-Grid Living: Powering Your Sustainable Lifestyle


For a growing number of people, off-grid living has become the preferred way of life. They choose to power their homes using only what they produce, which makes a statement that they are philosophically opposed to electricity burdened with an environmental impact. Using even a small portion of the power public utilities produce still appears to be an endorsement of environmentally harmful power. But living off the grid, people still need some sort of electric substitute. For that reason, more and more of them these days are turning to electric generators that run on fossil fuels as a last resort. Pharmacies, banks, and essential services, however, are powered by toxic, and often explosive, diesel generators.

In our digital age, electrons have not only made life more convenient but are also at the core of our existence. So many of these are not just an off-grid necessity but also an essential part of off-grid life.

The Appeal of Off-Grid Living

  • Carving out a life for oneself primarily not connected to the power grid offers some clear benefits. 
  • It gives one the energy independence to not be vulnerable to either fluctuations in energy prices or to the lack of energy security. Without a doubt, if one person or family is not connected to the power grid, that is one less household vulnerable to terrorist attacks on power plants (or to the insidious and slow terror of poorly maintained power plants, as happened in Ohio). 
  • When you live off-grid, you are no longer (by definition) part of the power problem.

Eco-Friendly Electric Generators: The Heart of Off-Grid Power

Off-grid power systems rely heavily on electric generators to supply homes and other structures with electricity. When it comes to these types of systems, generators basically serve as the “power plants.” And just as with any power plant being run for long durations, you must keep an eye on the generators to be sure they’re working correctly and at the right times to achieve the system’s overall reliability.

Types of Eco-Friendly Electric Generators:

  • Solar Panels: Clearly, they’re the most popular option. Using the power of the sun and (ideally) big solar panels, they can be an effective tool for far-from-the-grid living with big or even small power requirements. Of course, combining the panels with energy storage—usually in the form of big batteries—makes sense if you want round-the-clock power (especially for devices that obviously can’t operate directly from a panel) or to have power when the weather is poor—like the pathetically overcast day when I attempted to simulate and test far-from-the-grid stove, fridge, and lighting combinations for this report.
  • Wind Turbines: For certain areas of the world that have consistent wind, turbines can be a very strong contender.
  • Hydroelectric Systems: A basic hydroelectric system—what CP and Cook call a pico-hydro system—can serve our pilot kitchen with a kilowatt or two—sufficient for basic cooking and modest refrigerator needs. It serves a continuous supply and is basically set-it-and-forget-it, especially when you’re within earshot of the even a few-hundred-cubic-feet-per-second transit of a stream or small river.
  • Biomass Gas & Steam Engines: If our forest has taught us anything, it’s how to be great at folding and unfolding chainsaws and handsaws and also chopping with axes. So on one level, if you can obtain cubic feet—and especially if you can layer on green-and-dry effectiveness—with not just trees but also shrubs and grasses, you’re already in the ballpark of a significant power supply, and using a kind of feedstock that modern power plants (as I do with the accompanying test/simulation) is already set up to use.

Choosing the Right Eco-Friendly Generator

  • Choosing the perfect generator for life off the grid comes down to several key factors:
  • First and foremost, how much power do you require on a day-to-day basis? This is the most important question to ask yourself and the most crucial calculation to undertake because it will dictate what size generator you need and what kind of output to look for.
  • Next, where are you located? What kind of resources are available to you in limitless amounts? And what do those two preceding elements say about your budget? The answers to these questions will help you narrow down the choices and ultimately pick the portable generator that will work best.

Maintenance and Considerations

In general, green generators need less upkeep than traditional, fuel-powered models. However, some maintenance is necessary—especially because most problems are usually easy to fix and will ensure the generator’s reliable performance. … A battery bank is also recommended, storing the excess electricity generated for use when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.


Living off the grid holds a lot of appeal—at the heart of your potato-topped vision of the good life is the prospect of self-reliance, of harnessing an energy source you yourself control and making it work for you. And for most people who live off the grid, that very essential requirement of energy satisfaction can’t be achieved without an electric power generator.

Your generator, even more so than your battery pack, is the core of your system—it’s what makes it work. So, whatever kind of generator you choose, it places a lot of importance on your selection. How do you pick a good generator that will fulfill this core position in your system? This article is here to help you out.

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