Solar! Ughh how to and where does one begin??
I remember all to well sitting for hours on the computer in Wisconsin thinking "Can we really do this?" I felt like a mad scientist with all the stuff I had to read. Solar panel efficiency, solar panel voltage, watts, power tolerances, temperature coefficients. AND this was just the panels!
The first thing I grabbed was our electric bill and was almost floored to see WE used alot of electricity! We had three freezers ( being a taxidermist my husband had two for his shop) and of course my own! And then everything else we had plugged in, the microwave, the fridge, the coffee pot, the t.v the radio, the power tools, the fans, the dehydrator, the crock pot!
I was a energy hog!! oink oink
I was amazed because we really lived pretty simple.
Our living quarters were attached to our taxidermy shop. We had a barrel stove for heat, a well that had dried up with horrible iron water, and a barrel filled with water inside the house that feed the shower Trust me, we were no frills.
But our electricity? We lived like millionaires!
Well don't fret if you are sweating going off the grid like we did! Everyone gets nervous! It is natural to wonder if your actually going to be able to do it! Its natural to ask yourself...
Can it be done? Is it worth it? Is it affordable? Is it something we can actually do and live day by day until the golden years?
This week I am introducing my Solar 101 videos to actually help with your quest. My first video is going to be about debunking solar myths for it is indeed a small gnawing thorn in my side. Why?
Well you see, people love to give advice. And often the best advice givers are the one's who either don't use any type of renewable source for electricity like solar wind or hydro and they present themselves as kinda a purist pioneer. Which is indeed a brave and awesome way to live. But they certainly aren't the resource one wants to go to for unbiased renewable energy information.
If you are serious about going off the gird or contemplating a grid tied system, the glaring fact remains..WE are all dependent on electricity. The average family needs electricity! And for most of us, there is no option of giving that up no matter how glamorous people make it sound, no matter how organic and green you wish to be for the earth. We need electricity!
So I tell people stop acting like its a sin to admit this! Its not! Its reality! And if you are planing a homestead that's off grid or grid tied, your comfort and your success will depend on some kind of source of electricity!!
SO..you ask how how will you afford it?
Lets be wise about this. In my video I talk about how we all seem to have money for those new cars and trucks? Right? Yet we start to get nervous when we talk about a renewable resource that will only sustain us, free us, and save us money in the long run. For LESS then the cost of a new car or truck, grid systems can offer you anywhere from 1 to 4k plus of power at reasonable investments. Plus we tend to overlook the government loves renewable energy!
I loves it so so much that it helps pay for our renewable resource. For us this was a life saver. We looked into both Idaho and Wisconsin state rebates. Wisconsin had 66 type of incentives and rebates and Idaho had 33! We were elated!
So before you get started look up the rebates you may qualify for...click the NC clean icon below to get the link!!
Next when you start looking take things in small steps.
Start reading articles about solar panels, how they work, how they are set up. Many decisions will have to be made but don't become overwhelmed. Keep it simple. Once you learn a little about panels move onto the batteries. Look at your own electric bill and see how much energy you are using now. Then try to imagine being off grid and some of the ways you may have to scale back. Because YOU will have to scale back. WE ALL need to scale back and that's the problem. WE ARE energy hogs!
So, make a list of the appliances you will be running. And BE practical. You can have a microwave off grid and you can having a electric coffee pot. BUT NOT a electric range! Not if your going to buy a 20k setup to run every single wasteful item! So get smart!
I suggest buying a kill a watt meter. Awesome tool to get you to SEE how much appliances are using! Will you be able to run your fridge? Or will you have to look at a different fridge. So spend the money on the meter. It will help you when deciding what appliance you can run and how big a system you might need
My other suggestion is TAKE A OFF GRID vacation in your home! I am actually going to do a video on this but the idea of living off the grid involves a different mind set. Experiment! If you have kids this will be a great thing to explore. Unplug the microwave, the T.V, some of the lights. Use the kill a watt meter to decide on which items you want to do without.Scale back on the use of your lightening and other electrical devices. Make it fun, but practical.
In closing this is enough FOOD to get you guys thinking and exploring. The best part of being off the grid is indeed the freedom. I would never go back to being connected. And now a days, the power companies really want people to be enslaved and they are getting worried about the off grid movement. Many power companies now frown on grid tied systems and are making it harder to do such a thing. There may indeed come a time when you MUST choose to go completely of the grid or stay connected and follow their rules and regulations and pay the price of that.
The bottom line is don't be fooled by the myths. Keep a open mind, renewable energy is not complicated, its not that pricey, and the maintenance IS NOT that hard! Come on people, you drive a car, you maintain that...THIS can be done.
Watch for more articles and videos...And KEEP the comments coming! Spread the word and lets get people GOING SOLAR!!!Going hydro going wind...USE THE FREE POWER!!!!m