The prepper in me has been begging for Vince to check into solar panels for our home. We’ve used them for chicken coops. The picture below was obviously taken in Missouri . . where grass is green!
We have the well for the orchard working totally off solar panels.
Vince has not been real interested in solar power for the house, mainly because of the cost. Lately he’s been reading more and more about scenarios where electric grids could be in trouble and he’s decided now may be the time to add solar power.
From our research, we’ve determined:
- The initial estimates have ranged from $23,000 to $70,000. Quite a difference in price, as well as capabilities of the systems. We’re probably going to go with a system that will not run our air conditioner but will run pretty much everything else. Our water heater, dryer, stove and furnace are propane so that takes a bit of the load off the kilowatt hours needed. Here, except for the very worst of the summer, our nights are cool enough that we could sleep with the windows open and be comfortable enough with fans.
- We will be able to get a tax credit but there are no other incentives/rebates available to us.
- No all electric companies buy back excess power so we’ll have to be sure and choose a company that will buy back the excess power. What they do here is give you credit so that during the winter months, when using less power, the credits are issued so that during the summer when using more power than we can generate ourselves, we use our credits, effectively cutting our electric bill by 92%.
- Based on the current electric costs, and projected increases, the cost of the system would pay for itself in a little over 8 years. For me, it’s not so much the cost of the system, but the peace of mind in knowing if the power is off, we can still run the refrigerators, freezers, well pumps and . . the sewing machines! 🙂
I know some folks are happy to have generators but we’ve had whole house generators (not currently) and we have several gasoline/diesel generators and they’re only good as long as you have fuel for them. In an extended power outage, fuel . . even natural gas, could be an issue. Here in central Texas, there’s probably never going to be a time when lack of sunshine is an issue. Even though there are days here and there when the sun might not be sufficient to charge the batteries, there’s rarely two or three days in a row without enough sunshine, and the freezers will stay solidly frozen for several days if we don’t open them.
I’m glad we have our generators but really, they don’t give me a lot of comfort simply because I’ve been in situations where we had to rely on them for over a week and getting fuel was next to impossible.
Vince’s biggest question is: Are we staying here? He wants to be sure before taking the plunge. After being home for a few days, I miss the kids but I think I’m ok staying here . . at least til the next trip.
If we go with the solar panels, that will be the icing on the cake for my prepping. I will feel like we’re about as prepared as we can get for whatever comes our way.