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IPFS News Link • Venezuela

A Venezuelan's Guide to Off-Grid Power

• The Organic Prepper by J.G. Martinez D.

by J.G. Martinez D.

My dear fellow preppers:

I have used these last few weeks in my freelance work some ingenuity, in order to accomplish some goals. Therefore, I have come to think a lot about how I could provide a roof for mines, if for some reason, God forbid, our coming back to Venezuela is delayed.

I just saw a website about a businessman refurbishing old bunkers, and another about greenhouses. Living now in a different climate has made me appreciate the need for heating, for instance, and understand how paramount it is for people living in such climates.

Therefore, I have some suggestions that I have compiled and adding some things that I learned firsthand with the Venezuelan collapse as well as what I have learned in engineering school and my former job. Some interesting stuff is in my mind that I will share with you.

Power rationing is getting worse in Venezuela

The lack of power is getting increasingly common in my home country. Those without a good battery pack and solar panels to charge it are going to be powerless. The norm of the rationing now in Venezuela is just like the 4 hours a day of power in Cuba.

Soon, it will be even worse. The lack of maintenance to our dam and hydro power facilities is going to generate a breakdown of the system.

As a side comment, a former functionary of the Chavez era called Nervin Villalobos was Viceminister of Electrical Energy, and he is determined to be the biggest responsible in this crisis.  If some of you still believe that we deserved this, perhaps this will change your mind. A thief is a thief, Democrat, Republican, or Communist.

That being said, let´s see what options we have. Fuel is not as available as it was once, neither engine oil. I have explained the reasons and won´t do it again as there is no need.

Here are some options for power without the grid

Therefore, let´s face the different options. Solar, wind or some other if you are lucky enough to live nearby a permanent water stream (which I strongly suggest to use as selection criteria for buying a location).  Not very large, as it could be a hazard if rain happens to get out of control. That is another reason why I like the idea of a semi-permanent base like a good diesel RV. I know, I know, there is no fuel for the RV. OK, but you will have to agree that diesel is a good choice, but I won't come back to that, as the controversy is futile.

I would mount a good freezer, and avoid the microwaves, for obvious reasons (if you don't see this, check the consumption, as well as your blender wattage). A good quality freezer would hold large amounts of food, and should not drain your batteries too much. Anyway, you have calculated your consumption and planned your budget to procure a battery pack large enough. I would go with basic needs, like water heating, frozen food storage, and cooking.

Why cooking? I will try to find some of the pictures of the rows to buy propane gas for our kitchen, in our now wannabe-communist country. Those are not easy to find, though: National Guard will take to prison to those who take pictures of the rows. Then they usually let people out after paying a ransom and deleting the photos. Induction stove for me, thanks. And scr*w propane mafias. Induction is efficient, and I have always asked myself if with the extremely bright sun we enjoy in my former area about the recharging rate. Using a wind setup, of course, is going to improve our independence.

I would go with an independent small, expandable, but highly reliable lighting systems with just one dedicated battery, and a small charge controller running in a proper solar panel. Warm LEDs, they are cozier and soft than white LEDs.