Solar system is now fully functioning. Each solar panel is 300 watts for a total of 1200 watts. The windmill can generate up to 1600 watts on a really windy day. This system will power a home using 2400 watts of power per day. This system is located behind our Earthship.
Before we left Wisconsin we estimated that we would use 2400 watts of power with the lifestyle we were living. We had cut back on our lifestyle tremendously before we moved. We didn't use a microwave, dishwasher or dryer. To get the amount we estimated we used a meter that read the amount of energy that the device used in the time it was used for.
Our Earthship will use only LED lighting. We will not use anything that has a heating element so no toaster, coffee pot, electric blankets, clothes dryer, etc. Heating elements draw energy out of the batteries extremely fast. It isn't worth the convince. I would rather hang my clothes out to dry on a clothes line and have the energy to watch a movie with my family.
When figuring out your power usage my question to you is. Are you willing to go without a few things and adjust your lifestyle? If the answer is no then switching to solar will cost a bit more than you may want to pay for. Solar is like buying your power in advance. The better you take care of your system the longer your system will last. If you are willing to adjust your lifestyle. Then you can probably get away with a system that won't cost you $20,000 to $30,000. Instead it could cost around $10,000 just like ours did.
This is our solar system components located in the back hallway of our Earthship. This also includes the components for the windmill as well. A word of wisdom. If you have not gone to school or have not studied how to put together a solar system together you may want to hire it done. We had no clue how to put this system together. Check on credentials if you do decide to hire someone to put your system together for you.
This is our battery box that stores 8 Trojan batteries. This is also located in our systems room. Most Earthships will put them on the roof in an insulated box. We had given this a lot of thought. We came to the understanding that batteries are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. We were told if we can have them inside our home then we are better off for doing that. The batteries will last longer. It will not add thousands of pounds to the roof. And it makes it more convenient for checking on the batteries every month for water. They are there which will remind us to check them every now and then.
The white pipe going up has a fan attached to it. This fan is to move any gasses inside the battery box up and out to an outside vent.
Having the batteries towards the back of the Earthship is the closest place we can put them to our solar panels and windmill. The shorter the run for cable the more power that you will have.
Mary Severin writes about her families embarkment on a learning adventure to build an Upcycled Home using Earthship Principals. To find out what these Principals are click on the Earthship Principals link above.