Off the Grid Homes
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
  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.