Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Solar Dreams

Tomorrow I have to drive myself to work because my carpool took the day off. That means I can sleep a little later, take my trash to the dumpster at work, and pick up another door from the Habitat Store for my little bathroom addition. I have exactly 24 inches for a door. I found one that size before so I am hoping I am lucky twice.

My boss is getting solar panels installed on his home, enough to run all of his electrical requirements. After rebates and incentives he will pay around $20k. I am interested because I need more electricity on my land and my choices are to bring it out from one power box on the opposite end of the 4 acres or to bring it through a dry creek bed where is would have to be 6 feet deep and encased in concrete. Both of those options sound expensive although I don't really have any idea of the cost. Solar panels can be purchased through the local electric company's solar program and they will buy back some of the excess solar power.

I don't exactly have $20k lying around but it is something to consider if my parents did indeed want to move here.


Simple in France said...

I'm interested in solar too and am still kind of in the research phase--hah! I don't even own a home yet.

But I live in France and I learned something very strange recently: here you can get your 20,000 euro solar panels with a tax write off (ok, not so weird) BUT then you are forced to sell your solar energy to the monopoly energy company--they pay you six times the normal cost and you end up earning about 2,000 euros a year--it's a 20 year contract, so you end up making all of your investment back and then some.

But how weird is it that you cannot legally go off grid with this technique? Unless you shift all your appliances over to a voltage different than everyone else. Crazy.

By the way, if I were you, I'd totally watch over your boss's experience so that when you do get solar panels you'll know some of the in's and outs.

Daizy said...

Why do you have to switch your appliances? Don't they have inverters to switch to AC? We have the buy back option if you accept the power company's subsidy. I didn't ask my boss if he did it. Probably not. He likes to be independent and doesn't need the money.

Over the Cubicle Wall said...

If you do hook to the power grid, you don't need all of the batteries to store the solar power. Excess just goes out to the grid, and you pull from the grid when your panels don't produce enough for your demand.

Not too good for any kind of end of civilization (and it's power grid) scenario, but I don't believe those anyway, so it is definitely to cheaper solar option of the two.

Cheaper yet are passive solar things like black water tanks or pipe networks on the roof for hot water, a sun room positioned for optimum heating, etc.

Daizy said...

Over the Cubicle, my boss is very into the end of civilization theories. I wanted to try black pipe for my hot water in the mobile but I didn't have the money for it. My next house will have if for sure.