If you can read this… then you’re probably gonna make it through the day, just fine.
Alex has been forced to take some time off.
Readers of the blog know that he recently tried to belch up his chest contents and blew his eyes out in the process. Too many hours, too much work, too little sleep and intake of food. You either do what needs to be done, or a mountain falls on you. So, while he gets some rest, we’re taking temporary control of the helm.
It’s a good thing that Alex takes extensive notes… We’re pillaging his notebook and ISBU journals as you read this.
We think this “End of Times” myth pretty overrated…
… but there are those among us that will party today until their brain cells cry out in anguish, so that their owners can have one last “alcohol fueled fling” before the planet goes dark, or implodes, or does whatever planets do when they get sick and tired of the parasites that infest them… LOL!
But just in case the world doesn’t end… just in case the Mayan Calendar and it’s alleged “prophecies” was really just their version of a “Nigerian Lottery Letter” scam…
Alex talks a lot about “The Bottom Billion”.
It’s simply the “defining and then developing of processes and systems that help support people worldwide” – people that lack safe shelter, clean water, reliable electricity and good sanitation.
In our words, this also includes ANYWHERE on the planet immediately after a natural disaster.
Each of these naturally occurring events create an almost exact simulation of how MANY in the world live daily.
Much of what Alex does is targeted at insuring the provision of those conditions necessary to improve the standard of living for people scattered across the globe.
You’d be amazed at his phone log. One day he’s talking to guys hanging out on the beach in the Caribbean, the next he’s talking to “Heads of State” or various foreign Government officials staffing UN Committees on “The Housing Crisis in the Third World”…
As we’ve talked about on-going projects (their numbers are legion and frankly, we’re exhausted…) we’ve been getting email from naysayers who cannot fathom HOW a family can “up and move into undeveloped areas… aka: “the boonies”.
They cannot imagine how you could possibly consider moving from “Suburbia” to a place “less traveled” to gain a higher level of sustainability, responsibility and self-reliance.
We liken these people to ostriches, their heads stuck up… um… er… in the sand, or their lips firmly attached to the straws that deliver the “Kool-Aid Du Jur”… they number among those of us who regularly cut off their own noses to spite their faces…
Those who cut off the branches of technology instead of embracing them…
Making life changing decisions is indeed “hard”. It’s a quest taken on by many that begins in those life-changing moments when they realize that the only real form of continued happiness for most rational people involves either;
- a move to greener pastures several off-ramps from the nearest relatives…
- better healthcare and stronger medication, or
- a procedure called a “pre-frontal lobotomy”.
For the rest of us, those who have the inner strength and fortitude to saddle up and voyage to places less traveled, it’s just a matter of lacing up our boots and then overcoming the obstacles.
And to those who think us crazy or (gasp!) “anti-social”… know that we’re just smart enough to build ladders to allow us to get to the fruit at the top of the tree that most of you lazy (expletive deleted) people miss! :)
That leads us to today’s post;
(I bet you never thought we’d get here, hmmm?)
So, you want to live off-grid, but you’re afraid that “the obstacles” will stop you…
And, you’re not going to harness the mule to that Conestoga by your “onesies”. You’re also gonna haul your children, their families, your mother in law and your idiot brother in law complete with his entire tribe of intellectually challenged, thumb-fingered, always arriving right as you’re sitting down to a nice home cooked meal, beer stealing… um… oh gawd… where did that come from? :)
Relax, you can do it…
The village of Tanjung Batu Laut seems to grow out of a mangrove swamp on an island off the coast of Malaysian Borneo. It’s a place that looks much like the mangrove-strangled beaches of the South Florida coast popular with so many Americans.
It’s about as remote as you could possibly imagine. We’re talking “third world” with several exclamation points. Zero Culture. Insects large enough to carry off your young! Little in the definition of “sophistication”…
And Tantung Batu Laut is pretty remote, too! :)
(Gawd, we’re gonna get “hate mail” from places like Naples and Ft Myers, FL… I can just see it now…) LOL!
The houses, propped up over the water on stilts, are cobbled together from old plywood, corrugated steel and rusted chicken wire.
If I didn’t know better, I’d venture that these homes were constructed after a vacation trip to America’s Louisiana Bayou, but I could be wrong… :)
But if you walk inland a little bit, daring gnats and mosquitoes who will certainly try to use you as a “fluid filled pin cushion”…
… you reach a small clearing covered with an array of a hundred solar panels mounted atop bright new metal frames. Caution will insist that you keep your eyes focused on your feet as thick cables transmit power from the panels into a sturdy building with brand new doors and energy efficient windows.
Beg entry, step inside, take a deep breath and you’ll discover that you’re in another world, a world where high humidity gives was to cool, dry air.
Welcome to the world of “Micro-Grids”.
It’s reminiscent of a Sci-fi movie… one where a mad scientist lives in “isolation”, surrounded by a gaggle of local, exotic, curvaceous lovelies that assist him as he uses advanced science to interrupt Darwin’s plans for evolution by tinkering with the DNA of the local monkeys – to breed a new form of life, one that won’t drink all his beer, return his truck with an empty fuel tank, or borrow his tools and never return them…
Wait… that’s not it… :)
You’ll actually see fluorescent lights illuminate a row of steel cabinets holding flashing lights and computer displays.
The building is the control center for a small, two-year-old power-generating facility that provides electricity to the approximately 200 people in the village.
Computers manage power coming from the photovoltaic (PV) panels (as well as an occasional assist from diesel generators) storing some of the generated power in large lead-acid batteries while distributing most of the power out into a grid connecting a growing local populace. You should know that before this power station was built, the locals fortunate to be able to afford it relied on small diesel generators to make all their own power. The rest of the populace lived in the dark.
Much has changed with the introduction of the MPS (Microgrid Power Station). Many of the corrugated-steel roofs in the village sport small satellite TV dishes. Many of these modest homes – with sagging roofs and crude holes in the walls for windows – contain flat-screen televisions, ceiling fans, power-hungry appliances like irons and rice cookers, and devices that need to run day and night, like freezers.
On any given Saturday afternoon in paradise, kids wander around sporting crocodile smiles shaped by cool wedges of watermelon they purchase locally from a small “grocery store” tucked neatly into a tin-roofed shack complete with a refrigerator to keep “those most coveted of childhood treats” ice cold.
Just thinking about it makes me want to be a kid again.
Now all the residents of this little “semi- solated community” have virtually unlimited power 24 hours a day.
Folks, this isn’t “unreachable technology” targeted for “masses with millions” or for those backed by grants from the United Nations”.
The components for this life-changing event are available off the shelf. It’s not a “custom power application” designed by Rocket Scientists who demand that you pony up piles of gold bullion in exchange for them.
No roads lined with power poles?
Miles from the nearest power tower?
With Photovoltaic panels now easily obtainable for less than $1 a watt. systems can be built almost anywhere (above ground) that can provide power, refrigeration, conditioned air and even reliable commerce zones.
Sure, you can call it your own personal “Rural Electrification Program”if it makes you feel “special”… :)
Is it “expensive”?
Yes, taking the bull by the horns costs a little bit of money.
You’re going to have to sell off that third car in your driveway or wait until next year to buy that new BMW.
But, know also that your new freedom gained by this simple embrace of technology has about 1,357,228 fewer moving parts and requires literally almost ZERO maintenance – once properly implemented.
You won’t need a $100 an hour mechanic equipped with a rolling cabinet full of specialized tools to resolve issues. High School kids regularly put these systems together as class projects. (Of COURSE they have proper supervision.)
PV (Photovoltaic) Power Systems are an integral part of what we do here at RR.
WE often ship systems similar to this, housed in 20′ ISBUs that can be deployed in hours to begin making power…DURING the building process. Unpack the box, assemble the frames, mount the panels, connect the dots and then use the ISBU as a”Power Shed” that is secured and ready to run… regardless of the incoming weather.
And there are a LOT of other guys and gals looking hard at using this kind of power generation system to help get them out into “sustainable, affordable living”.
Heck, even guys like Steve Spence can do it… :)
(In fact, if you’re thinking about building your own Photovoltaic based power system, and you reside on the East Coast of the US, – STEVE is a great place to start that planning.
The guy’s a treasure trove of information and he can guide you down the path to enlightenment without being forced to pull out his “big gun” vocabulary of three and four syllable words…
Now we suspect that the lack of big words comes from the fact that he hails from the “Carolina’s”… but he’ll probably tell you that his use of small words makes advanced concepts in power generation embraceable to”simpletons like us…”
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. ) :)
The point is… with some forethought, you can indeed move anywhere you can find clean water, IF you have the drive, the courage and the desire to get out there beyond “a 10 minute drive by your relatives”.
Now get out there and live the good life… in spite of those who would watch you fail.