|Off the Grid Homes||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Mike E. Romano (bj368cleveland.Freenet.Edu)|
|Date: Tue, 8 Feb 94 16:36:57 -0500|
I decided to run through a few databases to get some idea of what is going on with solar homes in the U.S. Here are some interesting points. Real Goods is the largest company selling accessories for these types of homes, has grown from a gross of $26,000 mail order in 1986 tO $10 million in 1993. Real Goods sponsored an "Open House" of independently powered homes in October, 1993, including 160 homes across the U.S. The greatest concentration of off the grid homes are in New England, northern California, Northwest, Southwest, Colorado, Alaska and Hawaii. There are 100,000 off the grid homes in the U.S. One example: Eric Anderson's house in Plymouth, Mass. on a small peninsula accessible by 4wheel only; he has most appliances--dishwasher, TV, CD player, washer and dryer, all powered by solar panels. There are a number of homes in this place, all independent since a hurricane downed the electric lines back in 1938. A recent book on the subject by Michael Potts, The Independent Home. He toured 100 homes to describe them in this book. In the last five years, the number of off the grid homes in the U.S. has doubled. In Gardner, Massachusetts there is a solar powered subdivision including a total of 38 buildings with a Burger King, city hall, library and local community college, all solar powered. Anderson's house in Plymouth has 18 PV modules on the roof with 16 batteries in the basement to store excess for use at night, etc. His stove and refrigerator are gas powered and he also has a wood stove which he seldom uses. He checks meters in his wall panel for low batteries from cloudy days and waits to use dishwasher or other appliance, until batteries recharge to a higher level. Another model house near Boston was sponsored in part by Boston Edison Company, designed in 1983, called the Impact 2000 house. Has 24 PV panels on the roof, six thermal solar collectors for hot water, three skylights, but IS connected to the grid. This means that when there is a surplus of charging, the excess instead of going to a bank of batteries, goes back into the Boston Edison main grid, causing her electric meter to revolve backwards and thus selling the excess to B.E. Costs are decreasing almost every year. In 1975 the cost of solar was about $300 per watt. Today it is $5 or less. General current costs mean that you could take a cabin sized place off the grid for about $3,500 with a few appliances therein. Making a larger, say 2000 square foot home, independent costs $6,000 to $18,000 depending on the number of appliances you want. Mike Romano
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