Living Off the Grid in the Panama Highlands

By Ryan Braasch ryan@ipreinfo.com

After leaving Hawaii for Panama seven years ago, building a home off the grid in Panama was an easy decision for Rhody and Lane:  “There was no electric service to the property,” Lane says, “and the estimates (to put it in) were $35,000 to $50,000.” Instead, they chose an environmentally friendly solution and built a home designed to run on solar power and hydroelectricity. The property receives plenty of rain in the wet season and plenty of sun in the dry season: perfect for what Rhody and Lane had in mind.

The result was a beautiful three-bedroom home, a two-bedroom guest house, and a one-bedroom casita on 25 acres near Boquete, Panama. Knowing the home is self-sufficient — and never having to pay an energy bill — is reward in itself, but there are additional benefits to going off-grid.

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A gorgeous three-bedroom home just 20 minutes from Boquete — with no electric bill!

As you may know, residents of Panama have to deal with the occasional (and sometimes long-lasting) power outage or water shortage. Earlier this year, while the country waited for the rains to come, residents were asked to conserve energy and large stores and other public buildings were forced to ration electricity by closing early or only running air conditioners for certain lengths of time. A flood in Boquete once left many residents without water or power for weeks. Rhody and Lane have never had one day without water or power at their home.

“If I were to enhance the project,” Rhody says, “(I) would…add a second battery bank and a few more solar panels.” It’s a great time to do it, as prices on solar panels are less than what they were when the house was built in 2008. Other than that simple upgrade, there are no regrets when it comes to their off-grid mountain estate.

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