What do I need to go "off-grid"?
To begin your journey towards energy independence, you'll need a few basic components.
First, you'll need a way to capture energy. You can capture energy from the sun using solar panels or from the wind using personal wind turbines. You can also borrow energy from other sources like a wall outlet or a gas generator.
You'll also need a way to store the energy you capture or borrow in the form of a battery. There are many different battery chemistries each with its own set of pros and cons. We prefer using LiFePO4 batteries.
Next, you'll need a component, called a charge controller (e.g. solar charge controller), to manage the flow of energy from your energy source to your battery. A charge controller is like adaptive cruise control - you set your desired speed and the system adapts your speed to match traffic ahead of you so you're always going at the speed of traffic. A charge controller finds the appropriate charge rate (speed) based on inputs from the energy source (desired speed) and battery voltage and charge state (traffic ahead).
Finally, unless your devices are powered by Direct Current (DC), you'll need a component, called an inverter, to convert DC into Alternating Current (AC).
Put it all together in a box and you have an all-in-one mobile power station. Or, you can purchase each component individually to set up your own modular kit.