Okay so I have been going back and forth on this issue.
Here's the deal.
I've got five acres way out off the beaten path(25 mile dirt road). However, ironically I have power right across the road. It looks like it would cost me $1000 or so to have a meter pole installed and get electric service.
I've also been pricing solar power and through much searching, can put a system together for about $1300 dollars. This system would have @300W of panels(200w plus 100w I already have), @200 amp hours of batteries(12 volt), a 1000w xantrex inverter(pure sine), 25 amp charge controller(mppt)..
The solar system would be enough to power my desktop for several hours.. small flatscreen for quite a while.. fans for evaporative cooler.. (taking into account only 50 percent discharge of battery each day..)
NO BILL! I own the equipment.
Mobility(just in case I wanted to move somewhere else?)
Clean and quiet
Currently quite cheap
No AC(I'm in the scorching New Mexico desert).
No Heat(I could use propane heater but that lessens air quality.
Equipment can be stolen.
*note, I plan to build a passive solar home that will lessen the above issues eventually
Batteries may need replaced in 5-7 years..
Unlimited power available.
I can heat or cool myself whenever needed.
Power is fairly cheap(I am very frugal. I estimate 50-70 dollars per month in my little camper).
I can run power tools if needed.
Susceptible to SHTF scenario.
Keeps me attached to "grid" and makes me less self sustainable on that front.
The location of my property and intense heat of the summer make me think I'd be much more comfortable with grid power.
An evaporative cooler would require around 3 gallons of water a day(water is at a premium out here)..
Anyway I go back and forth on the subject. One option requires more sacrifice but feels cool to have my own power generation.
The other option seems practical but adds monthly costs..
The only other two bills I plan to have(besides gas and food) are satellite internet and directv..
Does anyone have some feedback? I appreciate any input. I'm going to start a homestead involving earth building, chickens, dryland landscaping(mesquite, goji berry, etc).. but do I go solar or grid??
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It's all about starting a food forest in the high desert:
Do both. If you can get grid power for only $1000, then it makes sense to do it. You can then build up a solar system incrementally. Start with a grid tie solar system. There are grid tie inverters available that also function as MPPT controllers (no battery required). These will match the ac frequency to the grid, then raise voltage to the ideal level to power your home from the solar array while it's putting out. Any excess power will be fed to the grid. I don't know if you get any credits in NM, and you still lose power if the grid fails. However, in principle, you could maintain a battery on a float charge with grid power just to have it available (if you really wanted this kind of redundancy). If the battery is properly maintained on float with regular maintenance (like checking water regularly), then it will last a long time.
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