Off-grid living beckons more than just hardy pioneer types

  • This image released by Anacapa Architecture shows the view from an off-grid guest house in Hollister Ranch, Calif., one of the last remaining undeveloped coastal areas in California, located on a wildlife preserve. The Anacapa Architecture firm, in Santa Barbara, California, and Portland, Oregon, has built several upscale off-grid homes in recent years, and has several more off-grid projects in the works. (Erin Feinblatt via AP)

  • FILE - Mount Jefferson looms over off-grid homes at the Three Rivers Recreational Area, in Lake Billy Chinook, Ore., on April 26, 2007. Everyone in this community lives "off the grid", part of a growing number of homeowners now drawing all their power from solar, wind, propane and other sources. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

  • This image released by Anacapa Architecture shows an off-grid guest house in Hollister Ranch, Calif., one of the last remaining undeveloped coastal areas in California, located on a wildlife preserve. The Anacapa Architecture firm, in Santa Barbara, California, and Portland, Oregon, has built several upscale off-grid homes in recent years, and has several more off-grid projects in the works. (Erin Feinblatt via AP)

  • FILE - An off-grid home with a panoramic view showing Mount Jefferson appears in the Three Rivers Recreational Area, a 4,000 acre off-grid community in Lake Billy Chinook, Ore., on April 26, 2007. Off-grid living simply means you're not connected to utility grids. That could mean living in a cabin or in a fancy house. It's become more possible because of improvements in alternative energy sources like solar power and the batteries to store that power. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

  • This image released by Anacapa Architecture shows the view from an off-grid guest house in Hollister Ranch, Calif., one of the last remaining undeveloped coastal areas in California, located on a wildlife preserve. The Anacapa Architecture firm, in Santa Barbara, California, and Portland, Oregon, has built several upscale off-grid homes in recent years, and has several more off-grid projects in the works. (Erin Feinblatt/via AP)

  • This image released by Acorn Art and Photography shows the Solterre Concept House in Nova Scotia, an off the grid home featured in the book “Downsize, Living Large In a Small House” by Sheri Koones. (Adam Cornick/Acorn Art and Photography via AP)

Living off-grid conjures images of survivalists in remote places and a rustic, “Little House on the Prairie” lifestyle with chores from morning to night. Yet only a tiny fraction of people living off-grid do it like that, and fewer still live more than an hour from any town.