We knew it would cost an arm and a leg to get power back to the site where we want our house, greenhouse, and disaster shelter on our new 20 acre homestead, but this week we were shocked (get it?) to discover it would be even more than we thought. According to the local power company it will cost between $10,000 and $20,000 just to get the power back there! And then we would have to pay monthly electric bills. If the power goes out, we’d still need an emergency back-up plan which also costs money.
It appears that we can purchase solar arrays and an inverter, along with deep-cycle batteries for considerably less than it would cost to connect to the grid. We already own two generators which we have used in past emergencies after hurricanes, one of which sustained us for weeks after being hit by Hurricane Charley.
We purchased a handy Electricity Usage Monitor for under $20 to test individual electronics such as our computers, lights, fans, and other equipment to see what our power budget needs are to live comfortably. At first we will need to rough it a bit till we can add enough solar panels and batteries to produce more power. We’ll start small and grow as we can afford to.
Fortunately for us we are starting out at the end of summer, and the heat will have let up enough that air conditioning won’t be missed for a while. Hopefully by the time next summer rolls around, we will have enough power to run small air conditioners in our “castle.”
Water supply and refrigeration are two more elements to consider when living on a small power budget. We are still in the brainstorming and research phase about these things, but some ideas are coming together for us, so I’ll share more as time goes on.