Do you dream of building an off-grid solar home in the Intermountain West? You have lots of options for your location, as land is plentiful and affordable in this part of the United States.
However, finding land that is ideal for living off-grid with solar energy can be challenging — unless you know what to look for.
Like any type of real estate, location is key for building your off-grid solar home.
Consider how far out you prefer to live. Do you want to really get away from it all and build a life as a rural homesteader? Or do you want to be off the grid, but still able to get to the city in 15 or 20 minutes? Knowing your limit will help narrow down your search.
Powering your off-grid property with solar energy means you need a location with full access to the sun. So while you can always cut down a few trees here and there, you probably don’t want to buy heavily forested land or acreage that sits in the shadow of a mountain range.
When considering land for your solar home, inquire about zoning restrictions. Many areas — particularly in larger cities — have rules about how property can be developed.
Zoning codes often restrict the types of structures that can be built on a given property. The number of buildings allowed per acre and their manner of construction could also be regulated.
If you buy land that isn’t zoned in your favor, you may not be able to get the building permits you need to build the type of off-grid solar home you want. Before you make an offer, be sure that you will be able to build a home that is not connected to municipal sewer, water and power. If utilities are available nearby, the municipality may require that you connect to them before you build.
In some cases, property buyers find out too late that they cannot legally access their land. Unless public roadways are in place — and they probably aren’t if you plan to live off the grid — you must cross someone else’s land to get to yours. Unless the owner of the property you must cross grants you a legal easement, you may find yourself unable to access your lot.
Even if the property is located along a road or has an established ingress route (like a driveway), don’t assume you have legal access rights. Easements are not automatic, and if the previous property owner didn’t have one, you need to secure legal access before you agree to purchase the property. The title company may be able to assist you, or you may need to enlist the services of a real estate attorney.
The Intermountain Wind & Solar team are the experts in off-grid solar in Utah, Idaho and throughout the Intermountain West. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists. We can help you identify the necessary elements for making your dream of off-grid solar living a reality.
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