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Has anyone seriously looked into solar power for your house? How far into the future do you think we'll be when its fairly common to see solar panels on houses more often?
 

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Nope. They are still way to expensive. Im thinkn 10-15 yrs. Besides I live in WV and thats our main source of jobs here. Unfortunatly
 

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I don't think I'll being doing anything like that real soon...BUT when I win the lotto my wife and I already found us a home out in west Texas that runs on solar power and supposedly completely of the grid....for a LOW price of 4.2 million dollars. You see the need in winning first.Don't think we're getting that on my wages.
 

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I am seriously considering solar in the next 4-5 yrs.

When our roof needs replacing would be the time to have it done.

There is supposed to be a major solar cell producer moving in the Philly area next year.
 

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Solar

Has anyone seriously looked into solar power for your house? How far into the future do you think we'll be when its fairly common to see solar panels on houses more often?
I have looked into solar as I live in the Mohave Desert and have lots of sun. My pencil says that I could break even with solar after about 10 years of use which is about the life span of the cells so I would need everything replaced and start over before any cost savings. Wow. The storage batteries need replaced every couple of years which is the big expense. I still want a generator back up system but I have not found one big enough that is economical and durable to run. Fuel for a big generator would run just about the same as buying electricity. In Japan they use power cells run off propane and they are efficient enough to show some savings after 8 years and durable enough to last about 20+years. Of course they huddle in tiny little houses running led lights and have tiny little appliances. Their government programs give loans to install them as in US money it is about 20k to get started. The other draw back is anything left in the sun in the Mohave will turn to dust in short amount of time from the heat and radiation including Glocks. Most products are tested up to 120 degrees and anything left out will be at that temp every day. Plastic dissolves here and car head light lens and even window glass is sand blasted to not being clear after a couple of years. I have had some luck with the 45 watt solar panels from Harbor Freight Tools with appliance specific usage. With direct wire (no storage batteries) I can run a small window A/C unit while the sun is up. That is really when A/C is needed anyway but it doesn't cool down here at night so it only works for my out buildings and is not enough cooling for living area.
I followed Art Bell on Coast to Coast AM when he went off the grid and his final opinion after installing top dollar solar, mechanical and wind was that he spent most of his days and nights screwing with the equipment and would never break even if he lived to be 200 on his system which was state of the art then 10 years ago. Their are some systems in existence that are not now available to the public and used to power bouys in the ocean. These are usually propane run but are so economical that they could run home A/C, refrigerator, water heater at about half of the cost of electricity. I guess I can't afford to fall into this pit now until more economical and efficient appliances and better, longer lasting, solar panels and batteries are available. I did some math a couple of years ago and it would be cheaper to fill myv10 pickup with batteries and charge them off the motor then run my home off them then to buy a generator or go all solar. It bothers me that the utility companies can produce power by burning old tires, wood and garbage to produce power but it sure is nice to just call the electric company when the lights go out rather then climbing the wind generator tower in a thunder storm.
 

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I have some family that lives in a nice cabin in NE TN that is completely off the electrical grid. They have a battery bank that can be charged by three methods: 1. Propane generator 2. Diesel Generator 3. Solar Panels

They only have a few solar panels that trickle charge the battery bank constantly but in winter time, cloudy spouts, etc they have the 2 generators to fall back on.

In my opinion, your everyday home isn't going to be able to effectively utilize solar energy. The home needs to be designed for it... i.e lots of windows to let in natural sunlight during the day and not have to use electricity, alternative heating methods during winter months. Their cabin has a wood burning stove that heats the whole cabin and can be cooked on, but they have a regular oven/stove as well.
 

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Life off the grid

That cabin sounds like a great alternative lifestyle. I spent the first 15 years of my life without electric or running water on our 500 acre farm in W.Va. We had a creek for water and an outhouse for a bathroom. We hunted for almost all of our meat, raised sheep and chickens and grew our own vegies. We did have gas heat as we were over a gas pocket and could drive a gas pipe into the ground and pipe it into the house. Sometimes we had lots of pressure and other times almost none in our gas line. We had a telephone in the late sixtys but it was a 21 party line. I never felt like I was missing a thing living in this way. It was normal. Believe it or not we struck oil took the money got in our old Buick with just a suit case and drove away. We never went back. I guess I could live off the land again but you will never meet anyone who enjoys the little conforts like A/C and electric lights more then I do.
 

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Oh and they have a well for water... But theyve been used to that for years growing up in a rural area. I only had well water until i was 6.
 

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I have a 1.6kw solar system on my house in NH. I also have a quite large battery bank. Usefulness of solar depends on where you live and how much sun you get. In the summer, I can crank out power, but come early OCT to Mar, the solar window where I live is small. In oct we got an unusual snow storm and were without power for 6 days. Having my solar backup was priceless, but with little sun to recharge the batteries, I ran the batteries down to about 30% and had to shut down the system and rely on generator only. If power outage was in July, it wouldn't be a prob, could fully recharge batteries the next day. Summary depends where you live. But, for me having the solar is priceless.
 
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