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A Cheaper Off The Grid Alternative

ID 116401673 © Andrii Yalanskyi | Dreamstime.com

Finally, a trendy, off the grid mini-home us normal folk can afford. That’s right, the VMD by Studioroca and Taller Escape is available for purchase at just a little over $49,000. The only catch is that it’s only for sale in Mexico...

The 323-sq-ft home is carved out of a shipping container and comes fully equipped with UV-protected rooftop solar panels, solar heaters, an optional incinerator toilet, smart lighting and video surveillance technology, and a rainwater collection system. 

The VMD is also built tough and tight to conserve energy and withstand the elements. The internal walls are thermally and acoustically insulated, which, as you’d guess, helps with heating and noise. 

A Studioroca rep explained the new product, saying: “The concept of minimum housing in the world has become a trend that by its characteristics provides freedom; the minimum spaces demand less energy and resources; resources that we can use for activities focused on our physical, mind and soul.” 

So, how is this relevant to utility biz? Well, first of all, it signifies the proliferation of this off the grid tiny home trend. For the longest time, it seemed the only demographic these home designers aimed for were the wealthy, Santa Monica anti-vaxxer types. Is it possible living off the grid, or having off the grid vacation homes, goes mainstream? Would such a change in tastes ever have any real impact on the grid? I think that’s a long way off, personally. 

I’m more interested in the popularization of old shipping containers and how they could be used by utility operators. A couple months ago, I highlighted the benefits of shipping container microgrids in Dominica’s hurricane recovery. More recently, at the Co-Motion conference in LA, I saw a number of EV charging station concepts using similar containers. I wonder if there’s a chance containers become a widespread, integral part of our nation’s grid sometime soon.

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