What could be more liberating than providing your own electricity, and not getting a bill each month? With a small renewable energy system, you can use alternative sources to create energy—maybe even enough to power your entire home.

There are several options to choose from when considering a renewable energy system, such as solar electric systems, which can gather sun even from scattered areas. Solar electric systems can also be used as outdoor lighting. If this perks your interest, read considerations for installing a small solar electric system for a helpful list of questions to ask when selecting a qualified contractor to install one in your home.

Another option is a wind electric system. Wind electric systems can be one of the cleanest options, and could provide as much as 90% of your electricity needs. To get an idea of the work and cost involved, check out our page on installing a small wind system for your home.

If you have water flowing through your property, microhydropower can create enough electricity for a large home or a small resort, and "hybrid" systems that combine more than one energy source can provide electricity with no interruption to your service.

As an added perk, those who connect their renewable energy system to the grid may be able to sell extra electricity to the local utility company. There are also several tax credits available for some systems, so check out our Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency Web page to see which systems make sense for your home.

With so many options for creating your own electricity, you can soon be "off the grid" no matter where you live. Just be sure that you consult a professional before doing any work yourself

Amanda McAlpin works for New West Technologies supporting the Vehicle Technologies Program at the U.S. Department of Energy.