As a prepper and a homesteader the quest for self-reliance underpins all that I do.
That drives me to grow my own food, source our own water supply, design our own sewage system, burn our own wood…
Disconnecting, and going off-grid in the wider sense that @wwf puts forward, is my grand goal.
Taking it to that next level of going as far off-grid as White Walking Feather is achieving is a target I aim for. How far I get on that journey only time, courage and perseverance will reveal.
What I strive for in the here and now is the ability to disconnect from the electricity grid – or at least have the ability to do so in times of need.
Although sunshine levels in Wales are not remarkable, with the continually falling price of PV panels solar electricity economics are becoming ever more attractive.
So much so that last year I started planning, and costing a project with a local renewables company to install PV panels on the barn roof.
With the required battery banks and associated components the system has been designed to provide all the electricity for the barn as well as a 4 day backup supply for the house if the grid goes down.
The cost of the project was not cheap! Around US$ 12,000 with all the additional components, cabling and labour costs.
#### It was in fact this project that brought me to steem.<br><br>
It was around 18 months ago I started planning the project. I had just been introduced to the crypto world by a friend who persuaded me to buy a little Bitcoin.
As the price of Bitcoin started to move upwards I realised that this might be the vehicle that would allow me to gather enough money to build my solar offgrid dream.
When I came across a company in England ([Bimble Solar](https://www.bimblesolar.com/) who took Bitcoin for solar panels I was locked in and fully loaded on the idea.
But I needed to buy more Bitcoin to ensure I had enough wheels on the wagon to really make this roll.
Very quickly though the plan came unstuck. After one transaction to buy Bitcoin my bank blocked crypto related transactions. Then I tried a different back and similar issues arose.
Buying Bitcoin for a novice in the UK was proving difficult.
Then I came across a couple of videos on YouTube (by @jerrybanfield and by @thedollarvigilante) both talking about steem as a place where you could earn cryptocurrency just by making posts.
I signed up in double time and just over a year ago I was up, running and posting on steemit.
It was of course slow to begin with but I stuck at it, dug in and kept on hitting the Post button.
As I busied myself day and night on steem, my little pot of Bitcoin kept on growing in value.
Just around Christmas I decided my steem wallet needed a bit of a push to make it to dolphin status (5000 SP) by the end of the year.
So I started converting my stash of Bitcoin into steem.
Bitcoin was peaking out at $18K+ when I converted to steem which was around $3 at the time. I jumped into the pool of dolphins.
A few days later steem shot up to more than double what I paid.
Super lucky! I suddenly had enough for the solar PV system.
If only I had sold then. But steem, I heard from all around, was going to the moon.
I hit the HODL button, and watched steem gradually slide down again.
So I kept at it, building my account bit by bit, steem by steem. Ready for the next big rising.
In the meantime my offgrid aspirations have begun to grow further.
I had the good fortune to have solar expert @makinstuff as a guest on my Alternative Lifestyle Show on MSP Waves Radio a few weeks ago.
Talking with Greg @makinstuff I have begun to learn more about micro-grids.
We have a stream running through our property. It is only small in flow, but it does enter our property 80 feet above our house.
If I could install some form of pico-hydro system I could mesh that in with the solar PV to form a little micro-grid.
And the two go together perfectly. The stream has maximum flow in the winter when the solar hours are at their minimum.
This sounds super tempting and could take us toward a total off-grid solution.
I have no idea yet on the likely cost of a hydro setup but I would imagine it will push the whole micro-grid and solar project up to the $20K ballpark.
With 10K Steempower I am not too far short of this. But I really don’t want to wipe out my steem account now.
If steem did head back to its $5 point, then I could use just half the account value to build my offgrid microgrid.
That really would make my offgrid steemdreams come true.
Come on steem, lets make the sun shine…
[Note : unfortunately Bimble Solar stopped accepting Bitcoin payments shortly after I found them – citing the volatility of Bitcoin as the reason.]
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[ stream photo by pennsif // solar PV images from pixabay – Creative Commons CC0]