Alternative energy sources for your cottage

Wind power

Solar: Solar is by far the most popular and continues to be the system of choice in open areas where the panels can receive full sun throughout the day. Solar panels are also continuously dropping in price. Where solar is not an option is at home sites that are in the forest surrounded by trees or tucked against a mountain.

Micro Hydro: The suitability of micro-hydro systems depends on the volume and rate of flow of a particular watercourse. If adequate, and the stream/river flows 12 months of the year, then micro-hydro is the most practical alternative energy source because it generates power 24 hours a day. On the downside, there may be environmental and permit hoops to jump through depending on the location of the stream and whether it is fish bearing.

Wind: The cost of wind turbines and their towering mounts (which must be well above the level of any obstructions) can only be justified in areas where the wind blows an average of about 15 km/hr for the entire year.

Generator: Some off-grid properties rely solely on generators to provide power. The generator, powered by gas, diesel or propane, can simply be turned on when electricity is needed, or hooked up to a battery bank and inverter system. Due to the ongoing cost of fuel, generators are the least efficient method of generating electricity. Despite this, most off-grid systems, regardless of the type, include a generator as a backup power source.