This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. Rather, it’s been a recurring idea I’ve had the past decade, but til I got my own house, there was no point even trying for it. The idea of being mostly off the grid and going solar was some daydream.
I did some research and made a call yesterday.
Funny enough, I was just planning on getting one of those Generac generators. I wanted a system that would provide power right away after the grid went down in a storm or some maintenance issue.
That was the plan. When I went looking around the website and getting a feel for what they’ve done and their reputation (which is pretty damned solid), I saw a subheading labeled solar and battery.
Wait a minute… solar? And battery?
That made me dive in and start reading. It was yesterday when I made the online inquiry and got a follow-up phone call for more info. I expected a call next week, but today I got a callback for more.
The person I talked to was super nice and very helpful. I gave what I could so he could get some estimates going, and it didn’t take long for a basic plan to emerge.
I read over the materials he sent, wrote down some questions, and waited a few hours while before I called back to ask said questions. But I am 95% sure I’m gonna go with the option of solar panels and a battery system.
The solar option is good for giving you power and feeding the excess to the power company to discount your costs, so to speak. But if you want power during an outage, having a battery to store that excess is the way to go.
Yeah, solar power isn’t useful for EVERYTHING, I know…
I wanted a generator, and now I’m thinking hard about getting green energy AND a battery that works a lot like a generator when the grid shuts down. That’s the coolest thing ever to me.
Never thought I could get the best of both worlds.
Now, I know there’s a lot of nay-saying out there, that solar has drawbacks like not enough power reserves when it’s dark or whatever. l can charge the hell out of it during the day and it’ll use the battery at night. Unless I plan to turn on every light and stay up til 3 am, I don’t see a problem. And in the morning when the sun comes up, here comes the recharge. Even on overcast days, it’ll charge up. The solar panels are that good. And I don’t have a bunch of trees that would block the light.
I haven’t given my official answer yet. I’ve gotta get my taxes done first, pay a few bills off, and re-assess my budget. But by the end of next week I’ll give ’em a callback, I’m sure. It’s gonna be pricey as a whole, but if I don’t up my electricity usage to crazy proportions, I’ll be saving a ton in the long run.
I tend to not have the lights on terribly often, anyway. I try to do most of my chores in the middle of the day, and just keep one or two rooms max lit at night. I have a ton of windows in the house and prefer natural light during the day.
Most of all, I will have water available during the next outage, and if things get lengthy, I can be a help to my neighbors. We did a lot to help each other out during this recent mess, and if there’s the possibility of someone needing help in the future (shelter, water, etc.), then I’d like to be there. Some of my neighbors have mobility issues, or will develop them eventually and need an option that’s close so they don’t have to go out on the roads. And in the summer, whew! That will be fun.
Although, if there are outages in the summer, my A/C is likely not going to be on. Fans for sure, but my A/C? I’d rather not. That will suck up too much power in a lengthy emergency. That doesn’t bother me so much, but I’d hope like hell that fans would be enough for anyone who chose to stick around. Especially after a hurricane, because to me it isn’t the heat, it’s the feeling like you’re breathing through a sponge and the stillness, like there’s not gonna be a breath of wind because the hurricane took it all. I’ve learned to just break out the fans in such instances, and though it’s not a comfortable cold, it’s good enough. And with my water well and fridge online, well, that’s what water and ice cubes are for, to energize and make one well enough.
Today actually warmed up a bit, though it’s going to quickly dip into another freezing evening. My thermostat’s at about 62 degrees and that’s probably where it’s going to stay the rest of the night. With the warmed weather outside, I’m in leggings, a t-shirt, and bathrobe and it’s getting too warm. Of course, I’m sure the bowl of oatmeal helped, too.
So, that’s the idea. First I decide to plant more trees, then plan my vegetable garden again, then I go for less waste and waste-free products, and now I’m tackling solar power for real. It’s going to be interesting, seeing how things go this next week and how I’ll keep making necessary changes.
I’m not quite a tree-hugging hippie lady yet. No hemp and no tie-dye shirts anywhere (mostly because I’ve got enough t-shirts to keep me clothed at least 30 more years by now).
I’m also a dog mom, NOT a cat lady to-be, thanks.
Still, the possibility of a self-sufficient life with one less thing to worry about is something I’m excited to consider.
I’m not holding my breath for Texas leaders to get their asses into gear and do what needs doing for our infrastructure and energy grid. I’ve been looking for something I could be good at for a long time.
Maybe I can do the self-sufficient thing well and help others, too.