It was approximately on today’s date, two years ago, that I first decided to install solar panels on my roof. This plan evolved into an effort to become more self-sufficient, and then to a mission to eliminate my use of fossil fuels altogether. And although I have a long way to go, I’ve made significant progress toward my goals. The following paragraphs outline my progress:
PV System Upgrades:
As finances allow, I continue to expand my PV system. I now have 4 solar panels on my roof, 420ah of battery capacity, a 60-amp charge controller, and an 1100-watt pure sinewave inverter.
Using the PV System on a Daily Basis:
The PV system is now used to power a chest freezer on a daily basis. The resulting reduction of my grid-supplied energy use eases the load on a coal-fired power plant, reduces my electric bill, and is consistent with my goals to use less fossil fuel and to become more self-sufficient. As I continue to enlarge the PV system, I’ll add additional appliances to the solar-powered load.
The Corn-burning Stove:
I installed and began using a corn-burning stove in 2006. By using the stove I’ve greatly reduced my use of natural gas, cutting my home heating cost at the same time. The money I save on my heating bill is used to help pay for PV system upgrades.
I’ve replaced nearly all of the incandescent light bulbs in my home with energy-saving compact fluorescent ones. Having done that, I noticed a reduction of my electric bill.
I’ve added insulation and replaced old windows with energy-efficient ones.
I’ve replaced my old refrigerator with an energy-star-rated one. Although my new refrigerator is larger, it uses about 65% less energy than the old one. I've also replaced two televisions with energy-star-rated TV's.
Growing Food and Fuel:
I've significantly enlarged the size of my garden over the past two years, and preserve more of what I grow. I have successfully grown tomatoes indoors, and I've grown a small amount of corn that can be used as fuel in my stove.
I include my blog as an accomplishment for several reasons. I hope to inspire others to do similar work. When they do, everyone benefits. Not only do readers comments show that I’ve helped others, they are also my opportunity to learn from them.
I’ve made significant progress toward my mission over the past two years, and I now have a good emergency power system as a bonus. When grid-power fails, I have electricity and can generate heat if necessary. I’ve investigated electric vehicle technology, and am preparing to purchase a PHEV when they become available. My work and my research will become even more relevant as gasoline prices continue to climb.