We’re building a cabin currently, in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, on three acres of land. I am very environmentally conscience and want to produce all of my power and water needs myself. Let’s face it, the cost of energy goes up each year. If every home in America supplied it’s own power, grew at least part of it’s own food, and had a system in place to make use of rainwater; it would drastically change the future of our planet; not to mention our health!
I don’t believe in going into debt for anything. I can’t spend thirty grand on a solar kit, ten grand on a well, and another ten grand for wind turbines. This is how I’m slowly implementing my own water and power sources over time.
I love the planet but being honest, I don’t want to live without certain modern amenities. I also have a health issue after going through cancer that I absolutely need running water and power for. I do work from home and need the internet. Unless I want to wait for 5 years to move into my new home, I needed to have the utility companies hook up rural water, electricity, put in a septic tank, and phone line. Darn it! I did talk to the engineer in charge of putting in the electricity. I made sure that the electric company would not be taking out any of my large trees, spraying any pesticides (many do), or plowing through any of the obvious animal habitats and trails that I wanted to preserve.
You can use rain water to water the garden and lawn, wash clothes, bathe, and gasp; even drink according to many sources; as long as it doesn’t run off of anything, including the ground. It may even be cleaner than your municipal water supply. Although I would recommend filtering it. I purchased four large plastic water tanks to collect rain water. A small pump installed in each and I have plenty of water for the garden, bath, and laundry. I would really prefer to set up a system that uses rain water rather than dipping into an aquifer with a well. I’m still looking into this. So far I’ve spent $2, 200 dollars on my system and haven’t run out of water yet. I am having rural water hooked up until I have a completely self sufficient system.
Price quotes from solar companies are over twenty thousand dollars. Yikes! Not a chance I’ll be paying that much. It would take ten years to see any savings. I do want to use solar power. My area isn’t ‘great’ for solar, but it is ‘good.’ It is possible to make your own solar panels for a fraction of the cost, but they aren’t as effective and can be a bit clunky. I’m going to invest in the batteries and converter first, then one panel at a time until I have a decent system.
All of the quotes I’ve received put wind power for my entire home at around fifteen thousand dollars. My area is ‘great’ for wind power. This is much cheaper than solar. I would need three turbines to provide more than enough power for my home. The great news for me; I know three families in my area that have built their own wind turbines for much less than five thousand dollars each. I should be able to do the job myself for half that price, or better if I get creative. I’ll have solar backup, just in case, but with a great battery system I should be able to store enough power to make up for the calm days. I plan to save for one turbine, then buy batteries, and the converter; put up one turbine and then the next.
Such a Big System:
I really don’t think I’ll need or use as much power as I was quoted. We built the cabin under huge shade trees, insulated well, positioned it to have a great cross draft, and use wood heating (with electric backup)in the winter. It’s cooler in the summer and I haven’t experienced a winter yet, but I think my power usage will drastically drop (we haven’t moved in yet).
The advantage to putting in a solar and turbine system a little bit at a time is that I’ll be able to live there while I’m doing it, figure out exactly what I really need, and not waste money on a quoted, overpriced system. I looked at places like backwoods solar, solar wholesale, etc… I really don’t have experience with used solar panels. I would think it’s worth it to get the best new panels I can afford. I’m excited about using the wind turbines. I may not need three; that remains to be seen. I’m still designing my rainwater system; I have to position the tanks for the bath and laundry to catch runoff and flow through the water heater, but if I use rainwater for drinking water, I’ll want it to flow through a filter. I also want to hide the tanks as much as possible. Many some landscaping; rockwork and flowering vines would look pretty? It is possible to convert to creating your own power over time; there’s no rule that says you have to do it all at once.