Why not add an eco edge to your overseas home and go ‘off-grid’? Here’s a pick of homes where your electricity – and in some cases water – bill could be zero…

Sunshine is free and in abundance in southern Europe, which makes powering your home and its hot water on solar energy a real possibility.

Thermal solar systems are a common feature of Mediterranean homes these days, providing hot water and in some cases heating. Buy the right property and you could go a step further and use the sun to provide electricity for your home too.

“Dotted around the countryside in continental Europe are homes that no longer rely on mains power,” said Elaine Ferguson, head of the resource centre at PropertyGuides.com. “And most have a back-up generator to guarantee you’re never without power. Some properties might combine this with a small wind turbine. Given that many rustic homes come with a well or spring, or are suitable for a borehole, with a bit of effort you could realistically become self-sufficient.”

Could one of these properties be your ticket to a greener and more affordable life in the sun?

Produce your own power in Puglia

Puglia, Italy
This quirky, rustic property near San Michele Salentino both saves and makes you money! Its solar energy system means you’d never again have to pay for electricity, while the accompanying plot of land actually generates income.

The property comes with 18,000 square metres of mature olive groves, which create income for the owner through the sale of olives and wood (from the annual pruning), as well as from the EU contribution it receives as an olive producer. Home-grown food is on tap too, thanks to the orchard with fig, medlar, almond, prickly pear and walnut trees, and the rich soil is ideal for cultivating veggies. There are two houses here – a beautifully restored, three-bedroom ‘trullo’ with adjoining ‘lamia’ and a second trullo with approval and prepared plans for restoring. Could this be your answer to la dolce vita?

Get closer to nature in inland Málaga

Málaga, Spain
Occupying a large secluded plot in a valley designated an area of outstanding natural beauty, life at this impressive five-bedroom villa, located deep inland in Málaga province near Cañete la Real, embodies the idea of getting back to nature.

With its own water source, hot water and electricity are provided by a state-of-the-art solar energy system. The 45,000 square metre plot runs alongside a hillside, bordering a river with a 30-foot waterfall. The land includes an olive grove as well as almond, walnut and apple trees and has an established vegetable garden. Adding to the paradisiacal setting, birds of prey can be seen from the terrace, as they glide on thermals in the valley. Your kind of place?

Do self-sufficiency in style in Mallorca

Mallorca, Balearics
A more modern take on the off-grid dream, this smart villa near Muro in the north Mallorcan countryside runs on solar power, has its own water source and boasts underfloor heating.

An airy house, built with quality materials, it comes with a swimming pool and its large plot is planted with olive trees that require no further irrigation. And let’s not forget the glorious mountain views!



Low carbon footprint living in Portugal

Inland Portugal
Carefully renovated a few years ago, this rustic property combines authentic architectural features with cutting edge eco materials and a solar powered electricity and thermal system – in fact, the current owner even sells electricity back to the national grid each month!

Situated near Castelo Branco, halfway up Portugal’s interior, and surrounded by pretty countryside, this property is calling out for owners looking to escape the rat race and live a tranquil, low carbon footprint lifestyle. Water comes from two natural wells, while the olive grove, vegetable garden and orchard should make it easy to put home-grown food on the table. Accommodation is across two adjoining houses, offering two or three bedrooms.


Written by Overseas Guides Company.

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