Sunday, May 4, 2014

Week 18

Our Utilities:

We are off the grid.  Meaning we are not hooked up to Public Energy Works.  We have solar panels,

a pelton wheel,

 and a back up diesel generator.

We aren't hooked up to public water either.  Our water bursts fresh out of the hillside and we capture it  and put it in a tank. Envision us running hither and yon putting our hands around the droplets of water.  Obviously just kidding.  Most of our springs on the ranch that we use have a spring box, but our main house spring kind of just comes out of a rock and the pipe taps into it.  Here is the area of the spring.

 The pipe then runs down to our spring tank.

 From the tank the water runs downhill in a pipe to our buildings and barn.   (The overflow from the spring tank is used for the pelton wheel, it was turned off while this photo was taken and you can see what a great overflow we have.)  We've never had our spring go dry.  She's a good one and tastes great too.  We even had the water tested to be sure it didn't have any heavy metals or other bad stuff.  All good, clear, clean mountain water.

I originally thought we would save a lot of money being off the grid. But this stuff is expensive to set up and has future costs as well.  The batteries that store the energy from the sun, water and generator have to be replaced sometime between 5 and 10 years depending mostly on how well you take care of them.  See the distilled water jug.  They need it, regularly. 
 Generators and pelton wheels need rebuilding from use and the solar panels themselves  have a life of about   25 to 30   years.  That isn't even mentioning the inverter mumbo jumbo or generator auto start.

 Being off the grid is self sufficient, it is fairly green,  but it ain't cheap.

But we have power and this is good.   Our home is a modern day home with computers, television,  phone, dishwasher, washer and dryer.  Love it.  We have a lot of power most of the time, so much so that we have a heater that just kicks on when we have too much power.  Isn't that fun.  But there are lulls.   Fall is probably when the generator runs  the most.  The sun is not as strong then, or not present at all due to clouds, and the rains haven't really started to get a good overflow for the pelton wheel to run off of.  Before the pelton wheel, winter was low power season too, but now with that little generator humming 24/7, winter is as good as summer. 

I may have lost my rose colored glasses in regards to the cost involved in our private utility company, but I am still real thankful to have it and think it's pretty darn cool.  Who would of thunk it.  Certainly not the homesteaders that I'm going to write about next week.


  1. I love the idea of being off the grid; not being dependent on anyone but myself. Except that I'm lazy and that sounds like a lot more work than just clicking the pay button from my computer. :)

  2. You're right about the costs. It's really not a cost saving thing to do. However, the independence it gives you is worth it all. If there's ever a catastrophe you will be prepared. I know it's rare, but maybe an earthquake in California? ;)


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