“Off the grid” living has become increasingly popular in recent years. It means something different to everyone. For one particularly strong-hearted Republican, it might mean dodging the tax man. For a survivalist, it might mean living off in a cabin in the woods without electricity or running water. For someone whose heart is bent on making a self-sustaining living, it might mean homesteading with a heavy reliance on renewable energy like solar and wind power.
But is it possible in West Virginia? The quick answer is “yes” because there are no laws that specifically prohibit this type of lifestyle. But first you should take a long look at why you want to live off the grid and what you hope to accomplish by doing so.
Adam Fullman built his own debt settlement firm in California, and he was kind enough to tell us about his experiences with clients who were really just looking to escape from their problems. He explained that people sometimes panic when they accrue too much debt or feeling themselves sliding toward bankruptcy, and while lifestyle changes are recommended, off the grid living isn’t one of them.
But some people are wired that way. These are the people who enjoy building their own home, digging their own wells, setting up their own electrical and plumbing systems, planting their own garden, breeding their own livestock, etc.
Choosing to live off the grid in West Virginia means reliance on alternative forms of energy that don’t require a subscription. Most of these individuals will set up a combination of solar and wind power, and supplement energy by storing it in batteries. They have a generator or two for emergencies. Solar power systems are great if you want to apply for a federal tax credit.
If you don’t want to be connected to the county water system, that means digging your own well and septic tank. Many off the grid enthusiasts will collect rainwater in barrels and recycle and reuse as much of it as they can. Some of the more hardcore individuals will build an outhouse as the primary bathroom! We wouldn’t invite the parents.
Keep in mind that living this life becomes more complicated if you have kids. Homesteading requires a lot of hard work, which means free time — and you won’t have much free time if you have to homeschool the kids because school is too far away.
The price of land in West Virginia is significantly lower than the national average, which makes it the perfect state for off the grid living. It also ranks much lower for property taxes and in cost of living expenses. The latter might not be as important because hopefully you’ll be producing much of what you need by yourself.
Another obstacle is the prevalence of natural disasters, which pose more of a problem for those living off the grid. If you own land, you might be able to apply for a land patent to avoid property taxes — but that also means you won’t have access to emergency services if disaster should befall you or your family.