An Off Grid Perspective
In the course of a day, we talk to many people either giving them advice or suggestions about their specific situations. Lately, we’ve been talking to people who are considering solar power for reasons other than saving on energy bills. They want information about becoming independent of grid power sources because they’re concerned about the safety and well being of their families in these uncertain times. Some customers have indicated that they want a place where they can be more secure than living in a city. It’s not a crazy thought. We understand their concerns, as we live off the grid and could go a month or more without outside power or help in an emergency. In fact our lifestyle wouldn’t change much.
Here is a recent e-mail from a client of ours that typifies the feelings that some folks may relate too. “Kris and I have decided that we no longer have faith that PG&E (the utility) will continue forever to be a reliable partner in providing our electricity, and we’re interested in modifying our PV system so that we can have power even if the electric grid shuts down. Not that I think anything dire is about to happen, but if things get dicey, I don’t want to need to scramble for a solution.”
Now is a good time to think about grid tie with battery back up or off-grid solar power. This decision has become easier financially and because solar is becoming more “user friendly” with falling prices for solar equipment and state rebates still on.
If you’re considering solar, read the article by Dana Hall in the San Jose Mercury News, November 30, 2009. She had a “Checklist for Going Solar,” which we found very informative. Here is a brief summary of her list:
Take a good hard look at your electricity usage over the past year or several months.
Take a look at your roof. Does it need repairs and is it situated for solar?
Ask friends and neighbors who have solar power about their installers and the service they received.
Learn about your financing options.
Check out the cash back incentives and the Solar Federal Tax Credit.
We can also give you information based on many years in the solar business and from our own personal experience.