There are advantages to having grid power when you are building a house and getting your own systems operating. But total dependence on any external power, like an electric company, is not safe, nor does it fit in the theme of self-sufficiency which characterizes a Survival Retreat.

The advantages I see are 1) You have power for tools and machines to help you build, and 2) You can, in some states, sell your surplus electricity (from your system) to the electric company - your meter runs backwards. You may even get a check each month for the power they were obliged to buy from you.

If you land is without grid power but you know it is close, you may want to inquire what the cost would be to extend the line to your land. People I've talked to said the price they were quoted was more than it would cost to install a complete PV system, and still have money left.

Solar panel prices have dropped dramatically recently. Two years ago I bought about 400 solar cells, enough to make my own panels and create a 750W system. I paid about $1.50 per watt. A friend here installing a P V system for someone paid $2 per watt for complete 230W panels.

This section is not intended as a PV or wind power primer. There are plenty of websites for that. My system is made from panels I made myself from cells soldered together, a charge controller and monitor, deep cycle golf cart batteries and an inverter. It is a complete DIY system, from making the panels to installing the two circuit boxes for 12V and 110V, plus allhouse wiring. If that interest you, see my DVD which shows how to do all that.

In the beginning... I had no power of any kind. After collecting enough water to mix concrete, I carried an 80-lb 3500W gasoline generator over a 200-foot ridge to run a kit-type electric concrete mixer which I carried up my wash with some visitors. The generator has been an excellent power provider, allowing me to mix concrete anywhere. Even with a complete solar power and/or wind power system, a generator makes a good backup.

On Growing
Survival Food

More DVDs
Are Coming

This web site is here because the knowledge about survival is critical to many of us right now. This survival retreat in the desert is the demonstration of various technologies which help us become free of dependence on fossil fuels, the grid and other things which are part of the problems we face as a global community.

The DVDs will appear here as they become available.