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Alternative Heat and Energy Sources

Updated on May 4, 2020
Cynthia Hoover profile image

Cynthia is a homesteader who grows and harvests food for her family. She preserves her harvests and stores foods for the winter.


Are you wondering what alternative energy is. If you are pursuing survival skills alternative energy solutions are an important topic. In many survival scenarios the potential for a power grid shut down is high. How will you continue to power some basic necessities if the power is out? Running the refrigerator, or even just using the lights at night time all need a power source. There are many alternative energy sources available today. Researching different types of alternative energy will help aid you in deciding what best suits your needs.

There is no shortage on the market today to power our homes in the event of a grid failure. Not all are without issues. Weighing the costs involved and practical applications are important. Alternative energy can weight heavily on the budget. Though we all need heat sources in the winter. Research your basic needs, what can you live without, and what do you need to power. Finding the minimum needs of you and your family is the best place to start. Once you decide what the basic requirements will be for energy. Then you are ready to work towards researching the options that fit the bill.

There are so many options that fit just about any energy needs and even budget types. If you are looking to learn about the options available for alternative energy look no further. I will cover many options and some you may have never knew even existed.

Solar Energy

One of the most common forms of alternative energy is solar panels. Using solar energy is a bit more complicated than adding the panels to your home or property. There is a fair amount of maintenance involved and that will vary depending on the type of setup you choose. Solar panels absorb the sun's rays and convert it into usable energy for your home.

A solar setup is for powering your lights, or running the heat in your home. It is possible to completely power your home with solar energy. Going solar is one option that can be an expensive investment. With the tax credits offered in the US, the initial cost of a solar setup runs around $17,000. Are you a homeowner? If so some companies are willing to place solar panels on your home. They do so in exchange for paying for the cost of the electricity they produce. With survival in mind, switching from a grid power service to paying for solar may end up being a smart move. You will still have the access to your solar power even in the event of an economic collapse, or grid shut down.
If you are looking to hire a company to put in your solar panels there are a few things you need to look for:

  • Inverter warranty of at least 10 years


  • Panel warranty of 20-25 years


  • Check for a bonded and licensed professional


  • Where the panels are manufactured


  • Any additional warranties


If you do not make sure that your inverter and panels have a decent warranty. Then you may find your solar adventure proves to be a costly one in the long run. If you in the US, make sure that your panels are manufactured there as well. This will make getting anything under warranty fixed much easier. Always check for a licensed professional with no complaints. You can do this with the Better Business Bureau.
There are several options you have available for obtaining your solar energy:

  • Buy


  • Lease


  • Finance


There are low interest rate loans available for easy solar financing. Though financing may seem like a good choice, you then have additional costs to pay off your finance. Weigh the pro's and con's before deciding to finance. You can also choose to lease from a supplier. Or if you are financially able then best to buy them outright. If you want to buy them you can start small. Add one or two small panels and then add more as money becomes available.

Wind Energy


If you live in an area with ample breezes and wind year round, you could consider wind energy as an alternative. Wind energy has been around for a long time. People used to harness the wind to grind grains, pump water and other tasks. These days harnessing wind energy has become much easier over the last 100 or so years. Modern wind turbines can be very useful alternative energy sources. Depending on the set up they can produce energy for simple tasks like pumping water into your home. Or the energy can be converted with a generator for electricity.

If you need to power a large home, you will need a 10 kilowatt wind turbine. The cost of a turbine that size will run around $60,000. A very high investment for alternative energy. If you are not afraid of a little hard work, you can build your own wind turbine and produce energy. There are many different DIY wind turbine kits available at a low cost. Though none will likely power your entire house.

If you choose wind energy as an alternative. You may find using the smaller kits available you can power certain areas of your home. Only powering what is needed at any given time can prove useful. If you are a mechanical you can find plans for building larger scale wind turbines on the internet. Building your own will no doubt save you the high installation cost. The only cost will be the materials you need and a fair amount of elbow grease.

Biogas

Wind and solar energy outside of your budget?
When all else fails, you can raise pigs! This is perhaps the cheapest alternative energy option available. If you already have hogs of course. Hog manure can be converted into methane gas, with a few simple items.

  • Biogas Digester


  • Storage Container


A biogas digester can easily be made with items from your local hardware store. Sure you can pay a professional to come and create your manure methane converter. Bottom line, it really is not at all complicated to make it yourself. Plus you will save a lot of money doing so. It is also possible to use a basic compost in place of manure. Though not everyone has access to a large amount of rotten fruits and vegetables. If you are raising livestock animals, you already have a source of alternative energy. It just needs converted to methane.

An additional perk to biogas is this alternative energy will also yield some amazing fertilizer. Slurry is a byproduct of the process. It is drained off, and it is a concentrated powerful fertilizer you can use in your garden.
This is the cheapest alternative energy source, building your own system will run you at most around $2,000. Much cheaper than tens of thousands for the other methods. Plus if you raise pigs, you will always have a stead supply of meat as well energy.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Cynthia Hoover

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    • Anita Hasch profile image

      Anita Hasch 

      3 years ago from Port Elizabeth

      Thank you Cynthia, I look forward to the hub. I would like to install a unit just for a few lights and my computer for emergencies. Fortunately in South Africa we have the ideal weather for solar power.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Hoover 

      3 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Anita, I recently purchased a small solar panel kit and I will never doing a more detailed article about it very soon. If you own your home many companies will do in depth consultation for free, and often install the panels for free as well depending on how much wattage you can produce (sun exposure etc).

    • Anita Hasch profile image

      Anita Hasch 

      3 years ago from Port Elizabeth

      Love your article on alternative power. I am thinking of getting solar power as a standby power source. Would appreciate it if you could add some more info to your article. How much watt is in one of the solar panels on the house in the article, and what could you run on one such panel?

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