Sunday, April 29, 2012

Let's Talk Solar

This past week while grocery shopping I noticed in the organic / natural section that some items are labeled as "Solar Power Produced". I had to smirk and wonder who they were foolin'!!!

We've lived solely on solar power for about five years now and unless these companies, that are claiming "solar power produced", have a huge solar infastructure there is no way that their claims are true. So if you are fooled into thinking that you are buying a "green" product, I'm here to shed some light and hopefully stop you from paying three times as much.

If you are considering a change from on-grid to off-grid let me enlighten you a bit.

Our solar journey has been a bitter-sweet one. A journey which we've learned from and have gained a huge amount of knowledge about "living green". It began out of need, a tough life decision (another time...another post...not quite ready to share this just yet). We sold my SUV (deep sigh) and purchased four 800 watt solar panels and eight batteries and moved to sunny Eastern Washington. The thought of living without an electric bill was exhilarating and freeing - or so we thought!

We moved in the summer - you know the sunny time of the year and needless to say we were thrilled with our "off-grid" system…but soon fall arrived and then winter. With winter came the cold realization that there are many days without sun. We found ourselves having to spend well over $500 a month to purchase diesel to run the generator so that the batteries were charged. We have to, any day the sun doesn’t shine, run the generator so we can have some power for the day. On the non-sunny days the generator will have to run twice sometimes three times a day - just to have basic power.

Now, by “basic” power I mean only enough to have lights, run the well pump, internet service. This “basic” doesn’t include oven, electric mixer, wheat grinder or the front load washer. Needless to say when the sun doesn’t shine life is well…”basic”. If I am going to have a baking day and wake up to no sun…no baking. If I am planning on catching up on laundry and wake up to no sun…no laundry. If I plan on having a fun movie time and wake up to no sun…well you get the point. I’ve learned to adjust with the changes in weather - but it has been a huge struggle to just “go” with it.

Through this journey we’ve come to realize that going “solar” is not as economical as promised, not as “green“ as promised, and not as worry free as promised.

To live green, even on the best days, we still have to purchase propane for our cooking stove and hot water tank, diesle and wood to heat the house. We think that living green is really less green because of the cost and extra expense....

We look forward to the day when this chapter of our lives will close and we will go back "on-grid".

1 comment:

Mrs. Taffy said...

That was really interesting! Thanks for sharing that! I totally agree, I can't wait for you to get back on-grid too! Maybe solar power works better in those states that have mostly sunshine, like Arizona and California, definitely NOT Washington, even the "sunny" side of the state! Sounds exhausting anyway! lol

Pslams 144:12 -

That our sons may be as plants
and our daughters may be pillars sculptured in palace style.

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