Off grid living in Arizona ( The Grand Canyon State )

Arizona is located in the southwestern part of the country, and it is one largest states in the nation. Although the state is one of the largest, the population density is fairly high, currently, there are around 7.3 million residents calling Arizona home, and every year the population is slowly growing. The main reason why the population is growing is that Arizona is considered a good state for retirement, although through the years the population growth has been slowing down.

Arizona is not a good state for living off the grid, although living off the grid is legal there are far too many things that make it extremely difficult to live off the grid. One of the major problems in Arizona is the lack of water, even though harvesting rainwater is legal, currently, but the entire state is relying on just a few sources of water like the Colorado River which is in a severe drought for the past couple of years.

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Arizona has 10 cities with a population of over 100k people, although the population density around these cities is fairly high, the rest of the state has mostly a low population density. The biggest cities in Arizona are Phoenix with a 1.6 million population, followed by Tucson 540k, Mesa 490k, Chandler 250k, Scottsdale 246k, and Glendale 245k residents. The population of some of the cities grows exponentially every year especially as students come to study at universities like ASU.

From an off grid living perspective, Arizona doesn’t seem that good as the population density is fairly high and this usually has more drawbacks than positives when it comes to off grid living. Arizona has a lot of drawbacks when it comes to off grid living, like the high temperatures and the lack of water, on the other hand, you might argue that this state is great for generating power with solar panels.

This is true but if you have ever hooked up an air conditioning unit that runs 24/7 to only solar panels you probably know that it will not work. Most people who live here have an AC unit, and people who live off the grid here either do not use any air conditioning or they use something like a fan. In addition to being extremely hot almost all year round, Arizona is also one of the most dangerous states to live in when it comes to wild animals, especially rattlesnakes. If you want to compare Arizona to one of its neighbors then check out my recent article Off grid living in Utah ( Cheap Land & Low Property Tax ).

Arizona climate

Most of the state has a semi-arid climate, although in some areas the climate is continental or alpine in the northern parts. The average summertime temperatures are around 100°F and the average wintertime temperatures are around 60°F, although in the northern parts of the state the temperatures can drop significantly. Even if the daily temperatures are fairly hot, in some areas of the state the temperatures during the nighttime can drop significantly. If you want to check out a state on the east coast then take a look at my recent article Off grid living in New Jersey ( The Garden State ).

Types of crops grown in Arizona

When it comes to growing crops Arizona is not ideal, there are three things that will limit what you can grow. The first problem is the high temperatures, most crops struggle to grow with the local climate, the second problem is that due to the semi-arid climate most of the lands are not fertile enough for growing crops. The third and the biggest problem is water, mostly the lack of it, the annual rainfall is fairly low and only some areas have access to groundwater.

Generally speaking, most people who grow crops in Arizona tend to grow, cabbages, dates, melons, oranges, apples, lemons, dates, potatoes, tomatoes, and nuts. Most of these crops need a lot of water, especially nuts, melons, and dates, so these are grown only in some areas. If you want to take a look at one of Arizona’s neighbors which has a similar climate then check out my recent article Off grid living in Nevada ( Silver State ).

Freshwater availability in Arizona

Due to the local climate, Arizona has a massive problem with water, and it seems that this problem is getting more and more serious as the years go by. Arizona relies on the Colorado River for its water, and the Colorado’s reservoir is only 40% full due to drought. In addition to this, the Colorado River doesn’t get sufficient water flowing into it to satisfy the local demand and this will mean big problems in the following years.

The average yearly rainfall in Arizona is around 13″, and in the mountainous regions it is around 20″. The good news is that you can legally harvest rainwater in Arizona and store it for later use. Although if you are planning to grow your own crops you will probably not be able to harvest enough rainwater.

Arizona wildlife

Most of Arizona’s wildlife is desert animals and reptiles like coyotes, jaguars, jackrabbit, rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, and roadrunners. The most common fish found in the local rivers and lakes are bluegill, panfish, flathead catfish, black crappie, white crappie, and redear sunfish. You will need licenses both for hunting and fishing https://www.azgfd.com/license/.

Generating power off the grid in Arizona

  • Solar power: Arizona is one of the best states for generating power with solar panels, even during the wintertime the sun shines powerful enough to charge the solar panels and batteries. Arizona offers a $1000 tax credit, and you can also apply for the federal tax credit which is around 26%, although the federal tax credit is getting lower each year with around 4-5%.  Some areas also offer rebates although this will depend on the local utility company.
  • Wind power: Arizona offers a small incentive for wind power of around $0.01/kWh, which in turn they sell for around $0.12/kWh, so you will definitely end up with the short end of the deal. On top of this “incentive”, you can also apply for the federal tax credit.

Arizona off grid laws

Living off the grid in Arizona is legal, although it can get expensive. The main problem with Arizona is the lack of water if you are planning to grow your own food you will have to find some way of getting enough water on your property. Harvesting rainwater is legal at the moment although this can change if the Colorado rivers reservoir doesn’t fill up, and as it has been declining over the past decades this probably won’t happen.

Although Arizona has a couple of famous colleges and universities, the general education system is still one of the worst in the country, it is not as bad as in Mississippi but fairly close. You can legally homeschool your children and many people choose this over sending their children to the local schools. The homeschooling laws are not the strictest although you will have to fill out some paperwork and notify the local authorities. If you want to know what are the best places for off grid living in this state then check out my recent article Best Places To Live Off The Grid In Arizona ( Top 6 Counties ).

Arizona road access

Generally speaking, Arizona has maintained its infrastructure fairly well, this is also helped by the lack of snow and low temperatures. Although in some areas due to the high temperatures the local roads can simply melt and make you feel like you are in an oven, you will understand this the first time you will be in a traffic jam in Arizona.

Price of land in Arizona

The cost of housing and land in Arizona is around 8% higher than the national average, although you will easily find areas that are below the national average when it comes to the cost and some of them can be fairly good for off grid living. With some luck, you will be able to find dirt cheap land, although always think of how you will get your water as harvesting rainwater will not be enough.

Arizona property tax

Arizona’s property tax is 0.72% which is below the 1.08% national average. The county with the lowest property tax is Maricopa County with 0.64%.

Cost of living in Arizona

The cost of living in Arizona is slightly above the national average, you will pay around 8% more for housing, 3% more for utilities, and 7% more for transportation. On the other hand, you will pay around 4% less for groceries and 4% less for healthcare services.

Arizona jobs

Arizona’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country, currently, it is at 4.8% and the national average is 3.6%. The minimum wage is $11.00 which is higher than the national average. The biggest industries where most people work are aerospace, manufacturing, tourism, finance, agriculture, and mining. Although agriculture and mining have seen a sharp decline over the past couple of years.

Arizona crime rate

Arizona’s crime rate is higher than the national average, currently, there are around 4.75 violent crimes per 1000 people and the national average is 4 violent crimes per 1000 people. The safest areas are around Dennehotso, Dateland, Teec Nos Pos, Sanders, and Chinle. The areas with the highest crime rates are around Tucson, Globe, Winslow, Page, Laveen, and Pheonix.

Arizona natural disasters

Arizona has the potential for a couple of natural disasters like floods, flash floods, earthquakes, earth fissures, landslides, and severe storms. The most commonly occurring natural disasters are storms, as sometimes this state is hit with severe storms and even thunderstorms.

In conclusion

Overall I can not recommend Arizona for off grid living, don’t get me wrong there are people living off the grid in this state but if you have to choose one state where you want to live off the grid then you should avoid Arizona. The main problems with Arizona are the local climate and the lack of water which is essential for off grid living.