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Home Forums General Discussion Would anyone live without electricity? Re: Would anyone live without electricity?


Woodworker took exception to my saying “Living off grid with clean electricity is easy”. I think it is, red positive, black negative, and don’t let them touch!!!

He said he self built a secluded cabin grid connected. I wonder how much it cost to bring in grid electricity…. With me, the power company, from coal fired plants, wanted $4,975 to bring grid electricity to my house. The rules were such that anyone spending less than $5K to get power could not share the cost with a tap fee to others building nearby. I was a “hard corps” Real Goods member and wanted to walk the talk, and this cinched the deal. I spent $9,300 for a full tracking glass panel array, charge controller, twin DR2424s com linked for 232VAC for my deep well pump, and 8- L16 batteries in two 24VDC banks. Subtracting what I would have spent left $4,325, with average area electric bills at $100+ per month, the break even point was 43 months, and another 24 months for energy of manufacture. People with the illusion that solar power was expensive and necessary, devalued the lot next door from 18K to 3.5K which I bought it for. Getting absolute water rights meant that anyone within 600 feet had to use a cistern with bought water. So, in reality, going solar and getting water rights paid for both the well and the rest of the solar from day one in savings on the lot I later bought and annexed. The initial loans were high interest until I got refinanced. The low mortgage payments (from sweat equity, too) and no electric bill allowed savings to build up and lump sum big payments to get rid of the mortgage 8 years after we moved in. Sure, being a carpenter foreman and remodeling multi-tradesman helped a lot. Sweat equity buildup is variable with each person’s strengths and learning ability. Initial loans are dependent on a person’s history of financial responsibility. Note that I got no government help at all. This area just did not have incentives at the time I built.

The initial small frame house was followed by a rammed earth tire retaining/bearing wall for a garage/BR/Bath addition. This was concurrent with more rammed earth/tire/soil cement retaining walls and the Earthship outbuilding. What took me 15 minutes of envisioning while looking at the initial lot became a reality after 3 years of working weekends and after work. I worked smarter, not harder, when I could, but it was a ball buster. I felt it was God’s Will for me. My wife and young son were my helpers, along with a little labor trade, and the all important spiritual help.

Being a former flight instructor/combat aviator, whose initial career was ruined by affirmative action’s reverse discrimination, and the fallacy of the promise of veteran’s preference, lead this combat disabled (from being shot down flying unarmed medical evacuation, with compressed back and broken lower 2 lumbar cartilages) to my first job as a carpentry slave at 15, and A++ drafting student who drew the plans used for a 5 bldg. 60 unit project at 17.

I was in a great deal of pain, starting this place two years after I quit drinking (which I used to kill the pain for many years).

Do God’s Will, as long as it is not delusion. Find out the local laws and conditions (like radon in the rocks, real water availability, etc). If you want to live without electricity, go ahead(and don’t poison yourself with lamps that give off carcinogens/CO). If the state allows personal use of rainwater, or your local stream—it is sure cheaper than a well, as long as you know your water(no pesticides, mercury, septic organisms, etc). Compost toilets work great and don’t require electricity as long as they are at room temperature. For outhouses, understand your soil’s characteristics for subsurface effluent flow. If you are really poor, work hard and save. Learn as fast as you can, use the public library. Ask for help. Many places have active orgs to help build for the poor. As far as alternative energy systems, shop around to avoid the rip-offs, and remember that about half the cost is “professional” installers when the laws may allow the owner/builder to do it.