While there are certain stereotypes of off-grid living being a solitary endeavor, or at least one that removes people from the greater world around them, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, over the years many advances that may have originated or were intended for the off-grid community have seen implementation to improve the quality of life for people all over the world. The fact that going off grid means finding solutions, especially as they relate to energy, in a wide variety of situations, has lead to ideas that are now providing power to remote or underserved areas across the world.
This year at the 3rd annual International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference over 500 participants came together to discuss solutions and technologies that can help provide access to electricity for the more than 1 billion people who currently go without it. The technology that can help larger communities power their hospitals, schools, and homes, often can be, and is, scaled down to consumer products for those who simply prefer to live off-grid. This means that it is a two way street, where existing off-grid technology and methods are applied to help those in areas who lack electricity and have a need for it as well as any technology specifically designed for those needs can then help off-grid communities who are simply trying to be more self-sufficient.
The aims of the conference are to be able to provide power to the almost 15% of the global population who currently lack efficient and environmentally friendly methods to cook, heat their homes, water, power homes, schools, and hospitals. Providing this energy helps to increase economic production, reduce environmental impact, and more importantly, save lives. As an added bonus, many of the ideas will end up being available on smaller scales.