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
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.