Everyone want to buy solar panels and other forms of alternative energy thinking that they can go fully “off grid.” They are going to buy enough panels to run the whole house with solar. So after they drop $20,000 on Photovoltaic cells, they realize that they need something else. They have to spend just as much on the batteries so they can run their AC at night. In 30 years, assuming they have no troubles and the PV panels don’t break or degrade, they may break even with the cost.
But because this is a survivalist blog, I must admit that the PV system looks a little better if we discuss about the possibility of grid-down scenarios with regional disasters. Or if I say that there is no way our energy cost will ultimately go down or even stay the same; they will go up and by quite a bit. Now the payoff is a lot better, so can we say 10 years?
I contend that this is still not a great idea yet.
I think it is a poor move to buy a bunch of alternative power and not look at the poor construction of a modern single family home. If we spend $5,000 on efficiency and now only have to spend $10,000 for PV cells and $7000 for batteries because our efficiency is higher, then we have something a little smarter.
So what do we do for our home efficiency:
First, you could get a consultant to tour your home for suggestions. This is their job. I don’t mean window people or insulation guys, I mean a REAL efficiency expert that is not tied to the products.
Now, you can work on your list of corrective actions, what you need to do to improve your efficiency gain. Some common things are:
After all of this, we can then consider adding an alternative energy system. And you wouldn’t believe how many alternative energy systems there are out there, and how cheap they can be. And NO, I am not talking about electrical systems.
Remember, it is more important that you work on home efficiency before alternative power. It gives you a faster payback and will cost less out of pocket. As an addition, I have found a chart at Portland General Electric that can give you some ideas on small things that you may be able to upgrade for energy efficiency that most people may not even think of.
As I write tips for your adventures and hear about cool gear, I will let you know all about it!