A Nova Scotia man has been living without a power bill for the last 15 years.

The first thing you notice on John Patton’s little cabin in the woods, are the solar panels on the roof.

When he bought the property in 2003, his dream was to install a solar power system.

“I just started out with this one panel,” he says, “and a little battery, and it provided me with lights and that was the start of it.”

Patton upgraded the system two years ago, by adding four more panels.

Solar energy from the panels is sent to a group of batteries in Patton’s attic.

A converter allows him to run a 12-volt system, to charge cellphones or power the lights.

“I can run 110 appliances, just like you can at your home,” Patton explains. “I can run a vacuum cleaner, I can run the submersible pump down the well, I can, what else, microwave.”

Patton doesn’t have power bills, but he does have high speed internet.

That’s thanks to the only utility pole on his property, and the internet receiver on top.

“I don’t spend a lot of time on the internet,” he adds, “I’m usually outside doing stuff.”

Outside is where Patton keeps the woodpile, to help heat the place when needed.

Since he’s off the grid, he’s never lost power during a winter storm.

“That means I’m always in communication. I’ve always got the internet. I’ve always got the cellphones; I’m not limited by that.”

Solar energy systems have become more efficient over the years, thanks to reduced prices for panels.

“When we started, we were selling a 100 watt panel for one thousand dollars,” explains solar energy system installer Robert MacKean. “Now, we’re selling 300 watt panels for a little over two hundred dollars.”

Patton hopes people will consider trying his off grid lifestyle.

It might just be what they’re looking for.

“I don’t see where I’m lacking really anything that you have in your own home.”

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.