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Can You Live Off-Grid in NSW?

We talk about living off-grid and if it is right for you


What does ‘off-grid’ mean?

Living off-grid means maintaining a home that produces enough renewable energy to meet all electricity needs without connecting to the power grid. With electricity prices on the rise, more and more Australians are looking into off-grid options.

There are a few ways to live a sustainable off-the-grid life. As a result of these possibilities, many families are starting to enjoy the freedom of living away from traditional power sources.

Tiny homes and shipping container homes are popular choices. Vans are also an option for those who prefer a mobile lifestyle. Living off-grid in NSW means that a family has to provide its own power source, food and water supply, and waste management system. While this may sound inconvenient, complicated and downright difficult, living off the grid has many economic and ecological advantages for Australian households. But first, here are some things to consider:

· Is it legal to live off the grid in NSW?

· Are there permits needed?

· Do I need survival skills?

· How do I source food, water and power?

· Are there off-grid communities in Australia?


What are the benefits of living off the grid in NSW?

Urban housing costs continue to rise, which is why living off the grid has become an attractive option. Off-grid homes aim to achieve independence instead of hooking up to city resources such as water, gas, electricity and sewerage. While a significant amount is required to cover initial costs, the returns are substantial, once the family has settled in, potentially paying for itself within three to five years.

In addition to eliminating the high cost of urban living, going off-grid offers the following benefits:

· Control of own utilities.

· Growing own food, creating more healthy options than mass-produced food.

· Disconnection from the stress of urban living.

· Enjoyment of a calmer lifestyle.


Is It legal to live off the grid in NSW?

If a homeowner in NSW wishes to live independent of the national energy grid, it is completely possible – whether it is in a transportable tiny home or a self-sufficient home on a block of land. While living off the grid in Australia is not illegal, there are some conditions and limitations.

· Zoning and housing permits. Each county or town has a different set of laws when it comes to off-grid living. Be sure to check off-grid living regulations in the neighbourhood before making a move.

· Incentives and rebates. The Australian government may offer rewards to households that decide to live off the grid that could help offset the costs of starting a more sustainable lifestyle.

· Land ownership. Building an off-grid house may require special land. Before planning, always check the local laws on construction and land use.


Factors to consider when living off-grid in NSW



Finding appropriate land

Some homes are convertible to off-the-grid living. But if a homemaker does not have such an option and does not own land, they will need to start looking for a place to build. Unfortunately, urban centres rarely offer space for off-grid living. And since most available land is located outside of the city, this can be an issue for those who work in the metro.



Securing permits

As mentioned earlier, counties and towns have their own regulations for off-grid living. Apply for planning and construction permits before building a new home.

If the requirements seem too restrictive, it is also possible to purchase land without requiring permits. However, these no-permit zones are most likely located in remote areas away from schools and places of work. Living in the Outback is not for everyone, especially if the family still depends on urban facilities to make a living.



Sourcing food, water and power

When living off-grid, the household generates its own power and sources its own food and water. This requires one or several kinds of off-grid power systems such as solar, wind or other renewable energy sources.

Living off-grid does not mean cutting off the rest of the world. An off-grid home can still enjoy the benefits of modern electronics such as laptops, mobile phones, and washing machines. Disconnecting from the grid simply means that the house will need to sustain itself by generating enough power to run these appliances.

Solar panels, batteries and generators are key to producing electricity in an off-grid home. Thanks to advances in technology, solar power equipment has become significantly more affordable compared to 10 years ago. When choosing an energy source, make sure it can generate enough power to accommodate the daily household needs. If you need help with this, contact your local ASP level 2 certified electrician at Real Electrical Solutions, servicing Newcastle, Maitland, the Central Coast and the Hunter.

As for water supply, deep wells and freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes are the most common sources of off-grid water. Just make sure to purify the water before drinking it. Additionally, establishing a sustainable method of heating water can be a challenge in an off-grid home. The most practical way to do it is through a solar heating system.

Solar water heaters with evacuated tubes are the most efficient way to collect energy from the sun since their cylindrical shape allows them to track the sun for long periods. Solar heating systems can also be used with certain wood stoves for cooking.



Disposing of waste

Living off-grid means disconnecting from public utilities – including the main sewer line. This means that the household has to determine how to dispose of all types of waste – bodily or otherwise. This is a crucial factor in off-grid living since improper waste management can lead to disease and illness within the community.


Ready to start living off-grid?

Off-grid living can be charming and peaceful, but it comes with a lot of work. If you cannot deal with anything mentioned above, then off-grid living might not be for you. However, if you are comfortable growing your own food and handling your own waste, then off-grid living has plenty of benefits.

Before you start living off the grid, be sure to provide for your family needs without depending on the society and, if you have finally decided to make the switch but need help disconnecting from the grid, or understanding off-grid power, contact us at Real Electrical Solutions by calling 0403306842 or sending an email to jye@realelectricalsolutions.com.au and we will contact you right back.

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