Off Grid

Innovative Maine Company Provides Dependable Drinking Water

Are you looking to buy land in Maine to build an off grid, strategic location property?  Maine has some great properties for sale that will fit your needs.  There are a lot of criteria to consider but a few basics hit the top of the list.  Today, let's just look at the basic need of drinking water.

After listening to the news about the California water shortage, I realize how blessed we are in Maine.  Being born and raised here, I do not remember a time we ever had to ration water.  The quality of drinking water in Maine is excellent.  Once in a while you may run into some higher mineral contents but nothing a filtration system can't fix.

My home has a 160 foot deep drilled well with 20 feet of casing and produces 10 gallons per minute of some of the best drinking water you will find on earth.  Right out of the tap with no filtration!  The cost to drill is $12/foot for drilling and $12/foot of casing.  20' of casing is the minimum amount required by code.  Then factor in some excavation work and the well pump and that will add about another $1,300 to $2,000 depending on your location.

My home is connected to the grid but what happens when you lose power?  That's were Bison Pumps enters the scene.  Their slogan "The Premier Hand Pump" and after having one installed at my home, I have no doubt that my drinking water needs will be met during my lifetime with or without power.   The design, engineering and quality of the working components are second to none.  I was not looking to buy the cheapest hand pump on the market but I wanted to be confident that no matter the season (Maine can get some extreme cold winter weather), I would be able to get drinking water when the need arises.

Bison Pumps, www.bisonpumps.com was founded by David Harbison, Jr of Harbison Plumbing in Houlton Maine.  We've all heard the saying "necessity is the mother of invention", well (no pun intended), Bison Pumps is a true example of this old saying.  Maine's ice storm of 1998 left 1000's of people without power in the middle of winter, some for a few days and some for weeks.  After seeing so many people struggle to meet the need of basic drinking water, Bison Pumps was developed.

I had the pleasure of meeting David and his son Jonathan (3rd generation plumber) this summer as they installed my pump.  They are first class people and hard working Mainers.  It was very interesting talking with David and his vision of how Bison Pumps could help around the globe with the world water crisis.

Whether you are looking to build off grid or just looking to have a drinking water solution in case of power outages, Bison Pumps should be top of your list.

I Want To Live Off Grid

I can remember the tag line for FRAM oil filters, "Pay me now or pay me later".  The same line of reasoning can be applied to building an off grid power system.  Living off grid has many advantages, one of which is having no monthly electric utility bill.  Another benefit is your land purchase may be less expensive, because there is no utility power available.  A third is being able to live truly independently of the utilities wherever you want to.  A forth benefit is no unplanned power outages. The following paragraphs are just a beginner's sketch of the basics of deciding whether going off grid is truly what you want to do.

Building an off grid electrical power system utilizing solar panels, wind turbines, or combinations of the two can be done anywhere the wind blows or the sun shines. There are costs that go along with building your own power system that is truly off grid.  The major components that go into having your own off grid system are the battery, charge controller, solar panels and/or wind turbine, an inverter system and a back-up generator.

The battery for an off grid power system is used to store energy from the wind turbine or the solar panels.  The charge controller regulates the energy from the solar panels or wind turbine to the battery bank.  The inverter converts the power stored in the battery bank from DC power to AC power which most homes in the United States are wired to use.  The backup generator is used to charge the battery bank if the state of charge drops down too low where the battery bank can be damaged.  Today's alternative energy components are highly sophisticated and reliable devices that once installed and programmed will operate nearly independently of you for long periods of time.

A well designed system closely matches the electrical needs of the off-grid home with the charge and storage capacity of the battery, solar panels and/or wind turbine and the average wind speed as well as the amount of sunshine available in your area.  When designed appropriately the back-up generator should run infrequently, and only to top off the batteries or if there is a repair being made to the system.

In 2014 dollars, an off-grid solar system costs $10-$15 a watt installed for solar.  The smaller the system the higher the cost per watt will be.  The average home in the U.S. that is connected to the electrical utility uses 600 kwh of electricity per month.  To produce that amount of electricity with solar panels in Maine requires a system of approximately 6000 watts.  The installed costs of all the components in an off-grid home will run about $60,000-$75,000.  The system if well maintained should last for 20 years or more.

The utility rate in my area of Maine is rapidly approaching $.20 per kwh.  Using that figure the average home in Maine pays $120 per month for electricity.  That brings us back to the FRAM filter.  "Pay me now, or pay me later", when building an off-grid home your electricity is purchased up front at a fixed cost for the life of the system.  Alternative energy is not free energy.  There are costs involved.  Living independently of the utility on a property located miles from the nearest power line can be done, and makes sense if that is what you want to do.

There are currently federal income tax incentives that reimburse you 30% of the installed costs of your alternative energy power system.  In the example system described above, your tax credit would be $18,000-$22,500 reducing your true cost to $42,000-$52,500.  Living off-grid in a modern home built where you want to live regardless of whether there is power available can be done if you want to do it.

When contemplating the possibility of living in the Maine woods miles from a utility line, realize that you can live comfortably with modern conveniences, but there are costs involved.  A future article will discuss energy conservation, versus energy production for an off-grid home power system design.  Until then I encourage anyone thinking about alternative energy to read some books on the topic.  A very good reference is The Renewable Energy Handbook by William Kemp.

Buy A Maine Island And Relax

Have you dreamed of having the privacy that a northern lake could offer?  Consider the opportunity to purchase an entire Maine island for sale. Pitch a tent, build a yurt or construct a cabin. This is a rare opportunity on a great body of water.

Where: Marion Township

  • County - Washington
  • Lat/Long 44.796145, -67.375532

 

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Canoe Landing on 3.8 acre island

 

Lake Description: Gardner Lake  

  • Size - 3886 acres plus connected to 1,650 acre Second Lake
  • Max Depth - 56 Feet
  • Fish - Salmon, Smallmouth Bass, White Perch, Chain Pickerel, Smelt
  • Boat Launch - Paved ramp with a well marked and designed facility, plenty of parking

 

Island 2

Rugged Shores of Gardner Lake

 

The Island - Unnamed Island

  • Size - 3.8 +/- Acres
  • Building Site - Elevated site with panoramic views
  • Trees - spruce, pine and maple

 

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3.8 +- acres Island - You can own it all!

 

Nearby

  • University Maine Machias
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Maine Public Reserve Lands

 

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Possible building or tent site

 

Price and Terms - $70,000 cash

 

Conservation Vs. Production in an Off-Grid Power System

I've produced most of my homes electricity for several years now.  Seven years ago I installed a 10 Kw Bergey wind turbine and three years ago I added an additional 3000 watt solar array with battery storage and inverters.  At peak production with both devices I am producing 13,000 watts of power on a sunny and windy day.  On a monthly basis I have seen as much as 1200 kilowatt hours of production from my turbine and an additional 360 kilowatt hours of power from my solar array.  The average home uses 600 kilowatt hours of power on a monthly basis, so at times I am able to produce more power at my home than two average homes in the U.S. consume. This production ability came at a pretty steep upfront cost.  I have around $60,000 in my turbine and about $20,000 in my solar array with its associated inverters, batteries and top of pole mount.

 

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3 Kilowatt Solar Array

 

I have read in various places studies showing the costs for energy conservation compared to the costs of energy production.  The number that I have seen is on the order of for every $1.00 spent in conservation, it would take about $8.00 spent to produce that amount of energy.  So what does this have to do in real life when thinking about building an alternative energy system?  Well quite simply the less energy you really need to produce to live comfortably, the smaller the investment you need to make to produce that energy.

A well thought out off-grid home is going to be well insulated as well as well positioned to take advantage of passive solar heating, natural lighting and have efficient electrical appliances and lighting.  The lifestyle of the inhabitants of that home will be different as well.  They will turn off lights when not in the room.  If they watch television, they will turn it off when it is not being watched.  Pretty common sense items you would think, but not in reality.  It is amazing the people that I have had as guests in my home that leave the lights on, leave the television playing and just waste electricity.  I guess they either believe since I produce my own, it is free to waste it.  It just takes a second to turn off appliances not being used, and all that conservation adds up pretty fast when you figure it is an eight to one return.

 

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10 KW Wind Turbine

 

The inhabitants of a well designed off-grid home will most likely heat with wood, cook with propane or natural gas, and use efficient LED lighting in the home.  The electrical appliances will be energy star rated and they will decide what is truly important to them.  The home will probably not have a dishwasher, although it could.  It depends on what they consider necessary for their lifestyle.  I have seen some pretty amazing properties that were built off-grid and produce all their own electricity.  I have also seen some pretty modest homes with modest energy production investments with above average energy consumption as well.  Utilizing a conservationists approach to living your life will yield large dividends in money saved and still living comfortably in an off-grid home.  Decide what is important to you, what you could use less of, what you can get by without entirely and have an appropriately sized system installed for your home.  A good friend of mine with hundreds of off-grid system installations under his belt has stated that he never tells anyone that it can't be done, what he says is "how large is your budget?"  Eight to one adds up pretty fast.

An Amazing Off Grid Home

 

Eagle Lake Maine Home

 

With over 600 acres of land this 3,600+ square foot quality home has a lot of luxury to offer in an off grid setting. The land consists of 50+- acres of open fields and the balance of the 634+/- acres is a mixture of diverse timberland.

 

One of four fields

 

The open fields surrounding the home would be perfect for organic farming or grazing pastureland for livestock.

From the home the views to the east are of the surrounding hilltops with no other homes in sight.

The property has a lot of sugar maple large enough for tapping.

Two small trout streams run through the property one complete with a beaver pond.

 

The home has a wrap around porch offering panoramic views of the largest field. Moose and deer are regular visitors to this part of the property.  The property sports a large barn with stalls for horses. A tractor barn, tool shed, power supply building and other storage sheds plus a two car garage provides space for all your storage needs.

 

Barn

Barn

 

 

Beaver Pond

Beaver Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electric power is made on the property with a combination of solar, wind and propane generator. Heating is a mixture of wood, oil and gas allowing you to use whatever is most economical in the market place.

 

Solar Panels

Solar Panels

 

 

 

 

 

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The 11 room 3 bedroom 2 bath contemporary farm home has features rarely found in an off grid setting. Ten foot ceilings on the first floor, hardwood flooring throughout, large open kitchen and dining room complete with an antique cook stove.

Cook stove copykitchen 2living2 copy copybed 2

 

 

 

 

This property is priced at an unbelievable $525,000. Hurry and call Rick Theriault at 207-731-9902 today before you miss this rare opportunity to purchase the most amazing home and land combination for sale in Maine today.

 

Off Grid in Maine and Loving It!

Some of the most affordable and beautiful properties for sale in Maine don't include power lines! Check out this new off the grid listing in Otis, Maine in the heart of Hancock County.

 

Off Grid Maine Cabin

Off Grid Maine Cabin

 

The cabin has nearly 1,200 square feet of living space with 1 bedroom on the first floor and a large loft to accommodate multiple guests. A fully functional kitchen and full bath/laundry round out a cabin with a large living rooms with cathedral ceilings.

DSC_1220The cabin sets on the western boundary of the property with sunrise views over the hardwood forest. The 52.4 +/- acres has some beautiful hardwood timber with impressive examples of ash and maple trees. There is a lot of game sign on the property from whitetail deer to grouse and other upland birds. The lot has a babbling mountain brook running through the property with slow pools mixed with small waterfalls.

This property is located on a ridgeline between several of Hancock Counties best cold water lakes and Ponds. Beech Hill Pond, Green Lake, Floods Pond, Mountainy Pond and Burnt Pond are all within a short distance of the land.

 

This is a great property for a seasonal vacation spot, hunting cabin or year round home. Located between Bangor and Ellsworth it is a reasonable drive to an international airport and Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

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Are you ready to get back to a more simple lifestyle and relax in the woods of Maine? Maybe you just need a weekend place to get away, no matter your motivation, come see this perfect coastal mountain retreat today.

 

beech hill pond

Aerial View of Beech Hill Pond