Building an Off-Grid Cabin

Having property up in the mountains made it easy to decide where to build our off-grid cabin, but I didn’t realize that there would be so much work involved. There was a lot of planning and I’ve detailed it all on this page. We walked the 10 acres and finally decided on where to place the cabin. It’s in a great spot to utilize solar power.

We plan on opening an excavation business so we have the equipment to do the clearing and site prep. In 2015 a  bad wildfire went through the property so the trees that we had to remove were already dead but we still have a healthy forest around us.

We cleared the land for both the cabin and the snow roof for our 5th wheel. I took these pictures while my husband and brother were running the equipment. We will let the areas sit until next year so the ground will pack and to see if there will be additional leveling needed prior to our starting to build.

Cabin Placement for Solar Utilization

We will be setting up so that the cabin gets full sun all day and it shouldn’t take a lot of solar panels to keep everything charged and working. I’m hoping that we can do it with 4-6 solar panels on the roof. The cabin will be small, about 600 square feet, and we will set it up much like an RV so we will be utilizing propane appliances and 12 volt lighting until we can get the solar system in place.

Off-Grid Cabin Plans

I started researching plans for tiny cabins and discovered there is a wealth of plans and information for off-grid building, Texas Tiny Homes is one of my favorites. The plans cover everything from stationary tiny houses to towable tiny RV’s. Our cabin will be built in a long house style and will be 20 feet wide and 30 feet long. The solar will be placed on the back side of the cabin and will get sun all day.

Solar – Choosing the right system

There are so many options for this that you really must figure out what you want to run with solar and how much power you will need to produce. We are still in the planning stages and right now we would need a solar system with both an inverter and converter to run our satellite \ WiFi and the laptop to run our business. That may change as our plans evolve and I’m still trying to figure out the kilowatts per hour that I would need. Here is the difference between a converter and an inverter.

Converters convert the voltage of an electric device, usually alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) and inverters convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).

More Research

I’m happy that there is so much information available on the internet. I have been reading that a satellite with the modem uses between 2 and 20 kWh depending on the system. There is a lot more research to do before I have all the answers.

7 thoughts on “Building an Off-Grid Cabin”

  1. Michel says:

    Wow, what an exciting project to undertake. I am not sure if you are planning to live there permanently or use it for a retreat, but either way, staying off the grid and using solar power is a great idea.

    The hardest part for you I think is already done – deciding where to build the cabin. I think once that decision is made then everything else will start falling into place.

    Sorry to hear about the wildfire killing all the trees, but at least the clearing of the area has basically been taken care of.

    Please keep us posted on your progress. I am sure lots of people would love to follow in your footsteps.

    1. admin says:

      We plan on moving there in the summer of 2021 and I will be adding posts and pictures of our progress.


  2. Henry says:

    Just reading your post gets me excited. Thanks for sharing your experience building your Off-Grid Cabin. I was specially interested in your opinions concerning choosing the right Solar system. Yeah, there are so many options. And I agree with you, the best choice has to include both, an inverter and converter. I’ll continue tuned!

  3. Lana says:

    Building a cabin off-grid is a fantastic idea! It’s always nice to get away, but it’s even nicer to get away from the city and off-grid for a change. It can be quite relaxing. Thank you for sharing this great and useful information on the building process of an off-grid cabin.

  4. Henry says:

    I can relate to what you’re describing here concerning site preparation. Boy, what a job it is! And I see by the pictures that you’re well equipped. Good for you. We also fell in that same trap of thinking it wouldn’t take us much time and that it would be easy! But even with all the work it took us, once the site is prepared, it’s so refreshing! I think we now value the site even more!

  5. Bavi says:

    I live in a country where we suffer from what is called “load shedding” which means in a nutshell that because our national energy SOE has been riddled with corruption we suffer scheduled blackouts to allow for maintenance of these mishandled power plants but reading a post like this is quite informative and I appreciate that because this gives me an idea of how to reduce the dependency I have of services rendered by my country i live in. Thank you.

  6. Stevie says:

    Hi Bavi, That is actually happening in California right now and the utility company has people that have solar feeding back into the grid and those customers don’t have power either. If you are able to get a solar system make sure you are independent from the the utility company. Best of Luck!

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