Alternative Energy Solutions for Preppers and Survivalists

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by Mike Roth

Are you searching for dependable alternative energy solutions as a prepper or survivalist? Given the fragility of the power grid in disaster scenarios, investing in reliable and sustainable power generation is necessary for maintaining safety and connectivity.

Delving into renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower, this article offers insights into diverse power solutions and their setup requirements.

We will provide the following:

  • A comprehensive overview of these energy alternatives.
  • Exploring their roles in prepping.
  • The pros and cons.
  • The critical factors in selecting the ideal power source are tailored to your needs and circumstances.

While some folks are already totally off-grid, the rest of us are still looking for answers. Equipping yourself with this knowledge empowers you to harness nature’s power effectively, fortifying your preparation for any contingency.

Solar Power – Definition and Explanation

Solar is a renewable energy source that harnesses the energy from the sun and converts it into electricity.

The technology behind solar power has come a long way since its inception in the seventh century, and it is now one of the most significant green energy sources available. It is an environmentally friendly power source that is plentiful, cost-effective, and easy to maintain. Solar power is a great option for preppers and survivalists looking for alternative sources of energy to traditional sources.

Advantages and disadvantages of using solar power

Solar power is considered one of the most popular and widely used forms of alternative energy.

One of the biggest advantages of using solar power is that it is a renewable source of energy that doesn’t produce any harmful emissions or greenhouse gases. It also helps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, a finite resource becoming increasingly scarce.

However, the initial cost of installing a solar system can be quite expensive, and the storage of solar energy can also be costly.

Moreover, solar power is weather dependent, and during periods of low solar activity, homeowners may need to rely on other power sources. Read more here and here.

Factors to consider when using solar power

Several factors need to be considered when solar power is an alternative energy source for prepping and survival planning.

Firstly, the location of the area and the specific micro-climate should be analyzed to determine the amount of direct sunlight available and the optimal positioning of solar panels.

Other important factors include the cost of initial installation and maintenance, the lifespan of the panels, and the need for a battery backup system to provide power during periods of low sunlight.

Additionally, the system’s capacity should match the prepper’s or survivalist’s energy requirements to ensure a sufficient power supply.

Hydroelectric Power Definition and Explanation

Hydroelectric power, also known as hydropower, is a renewable energy source that harnesses the natural flow of moving water to generate electricity.

It works by using a dam or reservoir to trap water and create a height difference between the water levels on both sides of the dam.

The water flows through a small tunnel with turbines that generate electricity from an attached generator.

Hydropower accounts for about 28.7% of total U.S. renewable electricity generation and approximately 6.2% of total U.S. electricity generation.

It is also a cost-effective source of electricity that costs less than most other sources. 

However, large-scale conventional hydropower dams significantly impact the environment, including displacement of people, loss of valuable farmland and wildlife habitats, and disruption of natural river flow.

Advantages and disadvantages of using hydroelectric power

Hydroelectric power is a popular alternative energy source due to its renewable nature and reliable energy production.

It is also considered inexpensive in the long run and associated with job creation and economic benefits.

However, environmental concerns are associated with constructing hydroelectric plants, including the potential disruption of natural river flow and impacts on wildlife.

Additionally, the reliance on river water for energy production makes hydroelectricity susceptible to droughts, which can limit its capacity.

Despite these drawbacks, hydroelectricity remains a viable alternative energy solution for preppers and survivalists to consider in preparing for any disaster. Learn more about it here and here.

Factors to consider when using hydroelectric power

When using hydroelectric power, there are several factors to keep in mind.

Firstly, location is key. While not necessary, having a fast-moving river or stream on or near your property can increase the potential for power generation.

Another factor to consider is the amount of water flow available. If the water source is seasonal or unreliable, hydroelectric power may not be a viable option.

It’s also important to take into account the potential impact on the environment and local wildlife. While eco-friendly in theory, dams and other infrastructure can disrupt ecosystems and affect fish populations.

Overall, understanding the limitations and benefits of hydroelectric power can help individuals evaluate whether it’s a suitable alternative energy source for their prepping and survival needs.

Wind Energy Definition and Explanation

Wind is a renewable form of energy that is harnessed through the use of wind turbines.

Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy of the moving air into electrical power, making it a clean and sustainable energy source.
The wind turbine blades are designed to rotate in response to the wind, which turns a generator that produces electricity.

Wind energy has several advantages, including being an abundant and inexhaustible resource that does not produce harmful emissions.

However, like all energy sources, it also has its challenges, such as being dependent on wind speeds and the need for suitable locations for wind turbines.

Advantages and disadvantages of using wind energy

Wind energy is one of the cleanest and most sustainable energy sources available. It does not produce any greenhouse gas emissions, nor does it emit any pollutants into the air.

Wind power also has the potential to generate electricity at a lower cost than traditional power sources, and it can provide a reliable and consistent source of power in many areas. 

But wind energy also has its drawbacks. Wind turbines can be expensive to install and be noisy and visually unappealing.

Additionally, wind turbines can pose a threat to wildlife, particularly birds and bats, and they may require additional infrastructure to connect rural areas to urban centers.

Despite these challenges, wind power remains a promising alternative energy source for many preppers and survivalists.[11]

Factors to consider when using wind energy

When opting for wind energy as an alternative power solution, there are specific considerations you need to bear in mind.

One key factor is the wind speed and direction in your location, which determines the amount of energy that can be generated.

Another important consideration is the size and type of turbine, which should be chosen based on your energy needs and the available space.

The cost of installing and maintaining a wind energy system is also a significant factor, and ensuring that the benefits outweigh the costs is important in the long run.

Finally, it’s crucial to have a backup energy source in case of low or no wind conditions. Considering all these factors can help you make an informed decision about whether wind energy is a viable option for your needs.

Other Alternative Energy Sources

Apart from solar power systems, hydroelectric power, and wind energy, there are other alternative energy sources that can be explored for prepping and survival planning.


One of them is biomass energy, which is produced from nonfossilized plant materials such as wood, wood waste, and biofuels.

Biomass energy can be burned to release chemical energy and generate electricity. 


Another option is geothermal energy, which derives heat from the earth’s hot interior or near the earth’s surface.

Wells drilled into the earth allow a controlled release of steam or water to the surface to generate electricity, with the earth’s constant temperature utilized in geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling buildings.

Both have advantages and disadvantages, and it is essential to consider individual needs and circumstances when selecting the best alternative energy source.

Advantages and disadvantages of using these alternative energy sources

Biomass is a renewable energy source since it uses organic materials like wood and agricultural waste as fuel.

This efficiency makes it a cost-effective energy solution.

However, biomass has a higher carbon footprint compared to other renewable energy sources, and its supply chain can contribute to deforestation and land use issues.

On the other hand, geothermal energy uses the earth’s natural heat as a power source.
It is a reliable and constant energy source.

Still, it requires a specific geography to be viable, and drilling geothermal wells can be expensive.
It is essential to weigh the pros and cons of each alternative energy source to select the best solution that fits individual needs and circumstances.

If you need help choosing the right alternative energy for your needs, don’t hesitate to get more information here.

Tailoring Your Energy System to Your Needs

Strategically planning for your energy needs requires an in-depth understanding of your power consumption habits. This process can be streamlined through a series of steps.

Inventory Analysis

Firstly, take stock of all electricity-consuming equipment appliances in your premises. This will provide a comprehensive picture of the devices contributing to your energy usage.

Energy Consumption Metrics

The subsequent step involves identifying the energy usage of each appliance, which is generally indicated in watts or kilowatt-hours (kWh) on the device or in the product specifications.

Appliance Usage Patterns

Consider the average duration each appliance is utilized daily. This will contribute to determining your overall energy consumption.

Individual Energy Consumption

For each appliance, compute the daily energy consumption by multiplying its wattage by the daily usage duration.

Aggregate Energy Consumption

By summing up the daily energy consumption of all appliances, you will get a snapshot of your total daily energy requirements.

Peak and Low Demand Periods

Incorporate considerations for energy needs during peak and off-peak times. This factor is crucial to accurately size your power system to meet fluctuations in usage levels.

Power System Configuration

Decide on your preferred system configuration: complete independence with an off-grid system or a grid-tied setup with net metering capabilities.

Gaining insights into your energy requirements enables you to make informed choices about the most suitable type and size of renewable energy systems for your needs.

Calculating Your Power System Needs and Appliance Energy Usage

Here’s how to figure out how much energy you need.

Daily Energy Demand

Start by determining your daily energy demand in watt-hours like above. This entails adding up the wattage of each appliance and multiplying it by its daily usage duration.

Inefficiency Adjustment

To account for potential system inefficiencies, multiply your total daily energy requirement by a factor of 1.3. This provides a more accurate estimate of your power system requirements.

Power System Size

This systematic approach enables you to estimate your power system needs accurately and ensure the chosen setup can meet your energy demands reliably and efficiently.

How to select the best alternative energy source based on individual needs and circumstances

When it comes to selecting the best alternative energy source, there are various factors to consider.
First, individual needs and circumstances should be taken into account. For example, a solar power system may be the best option for those living in sunny areas.

At the same time, wind energy may be more suitable for those in areas with consistently cloudy weather and strong winds.

Other factors to consider include upfront costs, maintenance requirements, and local regulations.

It may also be helpful to consult a professional to determine which alternative energy source would be the most beneficial for a specific situation.

Selecting the right alternative energy source can help save money on energy bills and reduce environmental impact.

Importance of considering alternative energy solutions for prepping and survival planning.

Considering energy sources is crucial for preppers and survivalists due to the unpredictability of natural disasters and other SHTF scenarios. When the power grid fails, we rely on electricity for our essential needs, such as communication, food, and heating. Alternative energy sources provide a sustainable solution, enabling individuals to have enough energy to be independent and prepared even in the toughest times.

While traditional fuel sources such as gasoline or diesel are finite resources, renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro, and wind energy are abundant and have far fewer environmental impacts.

Therefore, considering alternative renewable energy sources for prepping and survival planning is necessary and an environmentally responsible choice.

For more information, check out our article on how the odds are for a Massive Global Energy Crisis.

Recap of the different alternative energy solutions

In summary, alternative energy sources offer a viable solution for preppers and survivalists looking to live off the grid or prepare for emergencies.

Solar power, hydroelectric power, and wind energy are the most popular alternative energy sources. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, as well as factors to consider when implementing them. Additionally, biomass and geothermal energy are also alternative energy sources to consider.

Ultimately, selecting the best alternative energy source depends on individual needs and circumstances. It is important to consider these options when prepping and planning for survival.

Do you have any alternative energy sources set up? What do you plan to use when the power goes out? Have you tried any sources that ultimately did not work well for you?

Let’s discuss alternative energy solutions for preppers and survivalists in the comments section.

About Mike

Mike Roth, the founder of SafeBlackout, is a dedicated advocate for preparedness and self-sufficiency. His work focuses on educating others on how to handle unpredictable situations confidently. With a commitment to transparency and thorough research, Mike’s writings provide a reliable source of information on survival scenarios, blackout preparedness, and more. His goal is to empower individuals to navigate any challenge with confidence and self-reliance.

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  • Good Info, but it poorly addresses a real SHTF scenario (lasting anywhere from 5 years to forever) and its problems relating to long term energy production.

    Solar is great, except many batteries won’t last more than 5 years with constant use. Then there are the charge limiters and DC to AC converters, all which have a relative short lifecycle. Even though the solar panels might produce energy for up to 25 years before starting to fail. But that also excludes weather related failures caused by high wind, large hail and such.
    So you better have a large inventory of critical parts available.

    Remember that you can not count on there being replacement parts for your energy technology, after a real SHTF scenario.

    Wind is not constant enough in most locations and will require a large battery farm to hold energy whem there is to much or to little wind. Which is the same problem with solar, batteries.

    Rain and flooding will create havoc with a poorly designed small scale Hydro plant.
    Most of these solutions and info are based upon large scale commercial applications, not small scale consumer applications, especially, Wind and Geothermal.

    Biomass does have some good possibilities for small scale production and various usages. Wood gas or a wood Gasifier has a well proven record in many applications.
    So does Steam, (produced by a boiler system) and it also has a proven track record, in both small scale and commercial applications.

    So do a lot of reesearch into long term solutions, not short term fixes or “Off grid” fixes and expect them to get you through a long term SHTF.

    • I’ve found it excellent and timely, as this kind of scenario will unfold long, long before any “real” SHTF. Which BTW is more of a fantasy because it hasn’t happened anywhere so no one can say for sure exactly what will and won’t happen.

      And the “not real” SHTF described here will be in fact very real, and cause great distress to a lot of people, because that’s how things happen all the time in many places in the real world.

  • Some random thoughts

    Windmills were used by farmers (long before rural electrification came along) to pump water for both people and cattle. Part of the trick was to locate such windmills far enough away from the family outhouses so that such water supplies would not be contaminated. It was an old county water inspector’s practice to pour a little kerosene down such outhouse holes … and then wait to see if the residents complained of kerosene taste in their well water. If so, the outhouse(s) were too close to the well(s).

    Solar power can be saved and stored in more than just batteries. There are places in the world where large heavy weights are being hoisted way up in the air on a pulley and gear system. At time when power is needed and the sunlight is not available (clouded over, or nighttime), the stored energy in those weights can be slowly accessed by letting them slowly fall so the gear system can turn electric generators.

    Solar energy can also be used for occasional cooking and even water distilling. If you look up the how-to of thermal cooking which requires high heat for a very short time, a brief opening in a day’s cloud cover can provide an easy way to provide the briefly needed heat for a thermally cooked meal for several people even as the cooking continues for several hours (with no sunlight) inside the heated and well-insulated thermal cookpot.

    The historical use of biomass is worth mentioning. During World War II when the Germans availability of petroleum energy was severely diminished by allied bombing, many Germans modified their cars and trucks to run on wood-gas. The how-to of making wood gas and the how-to of modifying engines to run on it is an easy online lookup.

    Homemade alcohol has a place in this discussion. Up until 1919 Ford Model T cars and trucks were duel fuel. The driver could switch between gasoline or alcohol depending on what was available. Some alcohol was homemade and some was locally made for sale. (I inherited a radiator cap from one of those duel fuel Model Ts.) The Rockefeller’s nationwide network of gasoline stations was their motivation for despising the competition from alcohol, so they kicked off a deceptive “morals” war against alcohol with a $4 million dollar grant to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. That led to the Prohibition Amendment about 1919. That was kept in place until 1933 when the Rockefellers announced to the New York media that Prohibition wasn’t needed any longer. (Ford had discontinued the duel fuel option in his vehicles given the unavailability of alcohol, and the now-ancient Model Ts were replaced by single fuel Model As.) By December of 1933 Prohibition had ended at the national level.

    Alcohol, whether homemade or commercially made, is especially interesting. It has historically been used as money, as medicine, as recreation, as a cleanser, as well as motor fuel.

    The point is that alternative energy sources have a long (and sometimes political) and proven history.


    • Excellent points. Every car sold here in Brazil can run on gasoline, methanol or any mix of either. Except some imported sports cars and SUVs of course. The tech is called ” flex”, and has been in use for decades here because we produce a lot of cane everywhere.

    • Nice insight Lewis … but what many commenters here make a mistake on is the battery systems. Once exclusively a liability to generation and storage – most can only think about the Teslat 18650 LiOn format where there are abundantly available alternatives in more stable chemistry’s that arent prone to fire and short life span.

      One common platform is Lithium Iron phosphate. (LiFEPo) which offers immense current capacities and long lifespans in a way more stable charge and discharge process.

      Solar an LiFEPo is the best as of now … but with advances in the worlds of wind ( and interface technologies to allow on the fly usage with storage … things get better all the time.

  • Interesting article! However, living in an urban environment with power when everyone else has none begs the question of what else one might have worth stealing. In my case, I’ve opted for some portable solar panels that can be hooked up to a small battery for the purpose of charging batteries for flashlights and other small items. I can also run my computer from the battery. The drawback is that the battery takes quite a long time to recharge via solar, in the area of an entire day in fact. It’ll recharge via an electrical outlet in a couple of hours, for comparison. But I’ll do what I must if required! Since my strategy is gray, the last thing I want is to attract attention by being the only one in the neighborhood with power. Even a solar oven would draw unwanted attention.

    Wind farms have been in the news for the bad health effects of living near them. Take a look on YouTube. Sadly, the only river by my house won’t produce hydropower. Oh well! Therefore, my choice as detailed above.

    • I agree with you Jane. I was disappointed that the article glossed over the problems with wind power. The environmental problems with hydro power construction were mentioned but the health effects of wind power as well as the carbon footprint from wind turbine construction were ignored. Wind turbines also have no feasible way of taking care of the waste when they become useless. Batteries from solar have a similar problem. Bio mass is practically dismissed in the article even though it is also renewable. The trees on my property continue to grow. When I burn wood in my wood stove it is only returning carbon that the trees removed from the atmosphere, true recycling. I don’t believe in global warming but the author of the article seems to. I was hoping for more information about wood gas as some other commenters mention but was disappointed. I have a charcoal oven to make charcoal for use in cooking and it works great. There are You tube videos about wood gas but sometimes these videos are misleading and I don’t want to waste my time and money on something that doesn’t work. When things fall apart my neighbors will see smoke from the chimney and smell the BBQ but I would like some electric power for a fan, the summers are too hot.

  • An EMP renders solar and wind useless.

    As for this comment, “It also helps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, a finite resource becoming increasingly scarce” we have enough fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) to last for centuries at current rates of increase. Stop with the silly scare tactics.

  • Ina long term survival situation where there are no utilities available nor will there be, simple mechanical solutions will be the best answer to the need for power. Water and wind can be harnessed and used without any electricity being involved as each can generate direct mechanical power. Horses and other animals can provide mobile mechanical energy too.
    During the initial phase of a SHTF, year one to year three, electrical equipment of all types will be usable. After the first two years, not going to be a reliable resource. Direct mechanical power, a waterwheel turning a grinding stone, can last indefinitely as all parts can be sourced low-tech/no-tech. Same with a windmill. Basic windmills have been in continuous use for more than a thousand years.
    Basic mechanical energy can help with machine parts production, food processing, wood product making, and a host of other needs that will be in short supply as the skills and trades that were used to harness this basic energy have been neglected having been supplanted by electronic tech.
    A lifestyle change will be mandatory and anyone who expects to survive a long term trip back to the 18th century will need to be prepared to master the lost arts. When the supermarket no longer exists, knowing how to harness a team and plow a straight furrow will be the path to food and life.

  • A generator. With spare parts. Spark plugs. Filters etc. Honda 2000 or Yamaha.
    The brand does not matter. I bought 8 15 gallon fuel containers. And using stabilizer cycle them every 2 years. Do not buy a cage generator. They are loud and will attract attention. My Honda cannot be heard on my front street.
    All other options are highbrow and not practical for regular folks.

  • While these may be viable energy solutions, they are totally impractical for the average person. Not everyone has a raging river in their backyard, a windy location that is regular, lots of trees for biomass, geothermal wells or even daily sun. (although, the solar option is probably the most do-able one for most people, even on a small scale)

    Not only are they impractical, but to be of ANY use they must be completely in place before they are needed. Who has the money for that?

    These all are huge systems that are not suited to the majority of the people, and as mentioned here, are more for a city or other socially contained society, not for individual use.

    The cost alone is prohibitive. Not to mention who can do this as a ‘project’ in their spare time, with their ‘extra money’?

    Sorry, not one of your best “for preppers” post.

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