My Second Winter Solstice: Over 1.5 Years Unplugged From the Electric Grid (and counting). More freedom than ever.

December 21, 2023 by Joshua
in Freedom, Tips

Today is my second winter solstice relying on solar for my electrical power. Tomorrow I’ll have more daylight than today, not counting clouds. Last year I couldn’t believe I was making it as long as I was and was going to NYU several times a week to power my phone and computer. I didn’t notice, but last week began my sixth month since my last electric bill.

This year, courtesy of the manufacturer EcoFlow, I have a battery that holds more energy and delivers more power as well as a bigger solar panel that collects more solar power. I also have the experience of last year, so I only plugged in at NYU one day in September since April 13. I don’t think I recorded what day in September I plugged in or what deadline I felt like I was responding to. The day I plugged in my computer and phone in September, I drew about 100 watt-hours from the grid.

I didn’t keep track of how many flights of stairs per week I climbed last year. Lately, I’m climbing twice a day three or four days a week. The bigger battery enables me to cook more with the pressure cooker while still using the computer and phone as much as I want. I even toasted the seeds from some squashes and pumpkins I’d dried. I wait to toast them when I have several sunny days in a row since the toaster uses as much energy to toast a few seeds as the pressure cooker does to cook several days worth of stew.

Who knows how long I’ll last off-grid? I feel like I’m living with more abundance than when I plugged into the wall despite using less energy. I’m more resilient. I’m less addicted. I’m hurting people less. The new battery uses LiFePO4, which doesn’t use cobalt, so relying less on slave labor, and lasts longer than lithium ion, though still relies on nonrenewable resources. Still, if all Americans who used as much as I did drop their impacts as much as I did and increase their resilience as much as I did, we could dramatically drop our power grid size, pollution, and security risk while increasing our feelings of abundance, volunteering, nutrition, deliciousness, and many other benefits.

Why don’t you try unplugging your home from the grid twenty-four hours to start? You won’t die.

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