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Nichole

Solar Power

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Dh and I were talking yesterday about how it would be so much better to invest in solar panels than to continue paying the electric company every month. This isn't something we could do right away, but I was curious if anyone uses solar and how they like it. The prices have definitely gone down a lot since I looked at it last.

 

The system that I looked up would still come up short for the amount of kwh we use, but I know we could reduce what we use by ALOT. Plus if we ever get an outdoor wood heater, that would reduce it soo much. Just one website I looked at had the pricing for what we would need at about $11,000 before the 30% federal tax credits and what ever tax credits Indiana offers. That's not including installation though. I know it's not within reach right now, but that would give me so much peace of mind for natural disaters, etc. (assuming they stay intact after a tornado... lol)

 

Even if we never went 100% off grid, I would still like to drill a well and have enough solar power for a pump. So what about you guys?

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While we don't have solar panels on the roof -we do use solar power here?

What I have are the solar spotlights that you can get for outside lighting.

We use them around the house instead of turning on electric lights. You just have to remember to put them outside every few days to recharge or as I do now with some we have in the windows that word at night time and recharge in the day time.

We also have led strip lighting (batteries), like for under counter cabinets (?), which we have in kitchen, bathroom and pioneer room. If I am up early and don't want to light the lamps all I have to do is hit the one under the cabinet by the sink and it gives off enough light for me to make up the coffee, put on stove to perk, and find and make breakfast by.

The one in the bathroom is over the sink (under the mirror cabinet) so you can brush your teeth, wash up and even shave by. They last a long time on AA batteries as they are all LED.

So IF you are used to bright lights in your home, this may be a way to stay getting used to low lighting as most solar lighting is not that bright.

Good Luck and watch for sales! We got the LED strip lighting from Big Lots - 3 panels for $10.00.

They also have the best deal on LED head lamps (we both have a few of them) that take the AAA batteries. Mainly use them when outside at night (you can't see you hand in front of your face at Amish Friends! LOL

But also use the for reading at night before falling asleep and when up in the middle of the night and walking around form room to room? That way I don't have to have a lamp burning in every room. Plus the cats like to chase the spotlight! LOL

:AmishMichael2:

 

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I don't but would like to have some for backup. I'm thinking along the lines of a solar panel that will keep a couple of car size batteries charged for small things like a light, a fan, cell phone or computer. Maybe a small under the counter fridge. A panel that size probably wouldn't have to be that big and could be wheeled around.

 

I wonder if they make a well pump with a solar panel built on it? Sort of like those signs, along side of the road, the police use to display your speed. They are on wheels and have a battery pack built on the back. Or something like the small solar panels on an electric fence.

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We lived off grid and used solar for several yrs. I am so glad to have regular electricity here! Solar is only cost effective if it is off set by a HUGE charge to bring in the power lines to your remote location. Mains electric is CHEAP!

 

If you are using solar, you will HAVE to restrict your usage severely. You cannot use much of anything that produces heat. You have to watch your batteries and batteries require regular maintenance and only last a few short yrs at most before having to be replaced. I've gone thru my share of batteries. You will usually need a generator to recharge batteries during prolonged overcast conditions.

 

For a solar water pump you do not need batteries if you will have a slow pump filling a large tank. You can either have the tank high enough for gravity feed or you can put a small, 12vdc pressure pump from the large tank to a smaller pressure tank. That pump will need batteries. The well pump can run only when there is sunlight available IF you have a dedicated panel set up just for the well.

 

I still have panels in my storage trailer, but no batteries at present. Panels have come down, yes, but batteries and controllers, etc are still high and the panels aren't that cheap.

 

Those small panels sold to recharge your cell phone, etc, are generally worthless.

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Dh and I were talking yesterday about how it would be so much better to invest in solar panels than to continue paying the electric company every month. This isn't something we could do right away,

 

OK, here we go ...................................

Just STOP paying them !

What I mean is you can cut way down on how much you use and THAT will save you money.

Around here the joke is : we went by your house but didn't think you were home / up as we didn't see any lights on?

That would be because we don't have the house lite up like it was Christmas (oops bad choice right now - LOL).

When we go for walks at Night and go by some houses every room is lite, TV going and there is only 2 people living there so they can NOT be in all those rooms at once and I bet no one is 'watching' the TV it is just on for 'noise'.

 

Even with us 'saving' electric last year I was trying to cut back even more and at the end of the year I had saved $279.00 off our gas/electric budget bill. Not bad for someone that already was using the bare amount as it were.

 

Do you have a place on your bill where it shows how much you used last year’s month and then this year’s month? (Ours does) and I used that as a guide to start saving each month.

Turn off those lights in rooms you are not in.

If nobody is watching the TV , turn it off. Turn it off anyways and find things to do - like reading, playing games, go for a walk etc.

*When cooking (even stovetop) when there is 2 minutes or less to go before cooking is done, turn off the stove! It will still be at that temp. for a few minutes. I do this even when cooking fried eggs for breakfast as the pan still stays hot for the last few minutes.

*Multi - cook ! if it take 5 minutes for the oven to reach the temp. you need to cook supper then save money by cooking more each time . I don't mean cooking a cake while the roast is in there (mixed flavors) But when the roast is done take it out and have that cake ready to go in, when that is done bake some bread and cookies too. Maybe you can even cook more than one meal tonight and then you wouldn't have to heat up the stove tomorrow.

*If you are one of those people that have to click the light switch every time to walk into a room (even when there is enough light to see) Stop that habit! Most time you will NOT hit your toe on something you didn't see - LOL

*Plan to do things while it is daylight out - like sewing, reading, doing chores that way you don't need the lights on.

Turn down the heat on night while you are sleeping, even if all you do is set it down a few degrees that will save gas/electric within a month.

 

Just start thinking like you Don't have electric to waste and you will find way to save.

Then when the bill goes down go out for a nice Dinner to Celebrate - just don't spend a lot ! LOL

:AmishMichael2:

 

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Those LED Christmas lights use very little power, too. The catch is that you have to replace all of your lights because they just look odd if you use them with regular Christmas lights. The colors are different and they cast a cool light rather than a warm one.

 

You can also plug your appliances, tv's etc... into a power strip. This allows you to be able to turn things completely OFF rather than allowing to drain power when you aren't using them. You'd be amazed at how much power those phantom loads can drain and how many dollars they can add to your power bill.

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LOL, I'm always "lit up like a Christmas tree". It is mainly because of predators outside. If the lights are on, my birds stay close to the house and the coons and such aren't as likely to come close. If the lights are out, something tries to sneak into the yard and the Pyrs go ballistic all night, chasing things away and I don't get any sleep.

 

In the house, I prefer to have plenty of light since I shot a copperhead in the bedroom! I want to SEE if there is anything sneaking around under the furniture. (Makes y'all want to move to Texas doesn't it?)

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Interesting to hear from someone that has used solar and their experience. My husband and I were just talking about solar power this week.

 

Right now we don't use many lights during the day with me and th girls home. We open the curtains and let in a lot of natural light. Unfortunately my husband (and his familY) don't attempt to save electricity. I can always tell when my MIL has been at my home because lights we never use will be on. In fact we had lived in this house for a few weeks and my MIL had been over watching the girls for a minute and there was a light on that I didn't even know existed. :sEm_blush:

 

The only big energy drain we have right now is the Christmas tree, my husband wants to run the lights on it all night long. He likes waking up to a lit tree and so I indulge that.

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The only big energy drain we have right now is the Christmas tree, my husband wants to run the lights on it all night long. He likes waking up to a lit tree and so I indulge that.

 

SORRY -

But can we say Fire hazard!

NEVER leave the Christmas lights on when you are not right there - That is how many Houses burn down around the holidays!

That and people who light candles and then put them by windows (and drapes).

Fire safety guy - Michael . . . . aka :AmishMichael2:

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If I am home alone, it is rare for me to have more than one light on in the house. Once, my boss passed the house after dark and the next day, he asked if things were okay at home. He was afraid that our power was off!

 

CGA...The minute I find a snake in my house, it can have it all! I'd probably start installing street lamps inside the house to make sure that nothing EVER snuck up on me again!!!

 

To address the Christmas tree issue... Hardware stores sell cheap timers that can cycle lights on and off in the house or outside. My parents always used one to turn on a lamp during the week at dusk. I still use the same type. I paid under $10 (maybe $6 or $7) for them many years ago and use them when we go on vacation to give the house a lived in look. You just plug the tree lights into it and set it for the time that you want the lights to come on.

 

Here is a link to the ones that we have:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Intermatic-TN311C-Heavy-Grounded-Timer/dp/B00002N5FO/ref=pd_cp_hi_3

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Another reason for lights on is that scorpions dislike lighted areas and tend to run to the dark. Last yr I found several in the house after we moved the house to this new location. I let the chickens get under the house and now they have the scorpions under control. I slept with lights on in bedrooms for quite a while though after being stung in bed in the middle of the night.

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Ugh CGA...shudder!

 

I turn a light on at night when I'm in or going in a room. A broken bone, while fumbling around in the dark, is more expensive than a few kilowatts of electricity. And easier on the eyes. I don't have time to be laid up with anything broken, sprained, bruised or knocked out of place.

 

And if I step on anything crunchy, slimy, sticky, creeping, crawling, squeeking or squishing, I want to see it to track it down. NOW!

 

My neighbor burns two lights on the outside of his garage all night. I'm sure it helps keep the four and two footed vermin from prowling around our houses. I'm glad he does and I'm glad he is the one paying for it.

 

Okay, I had to know how much it costs to burn a 60 watt light bulb.

 

One site from Westminster College said : <snip> “There are 8,760 hours in a year. So the cost to run that bulb for a full year would be $0.00405092/hr x 8760 hr/yr = $35.48/yr”

 

A site from Wiki Answers said: <snip> “If 1 kWh costs you 25 cents, then leaving a 60 watt light bulb switched on for 24 hours straight would cost you 1.44 kWh x 25¢/kWh = 36 cents.”

 

I guess some of the difference would be in how much you pay per kilowatt in your area.

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That's what I said too about the tree lights but my husband (the firefighter) :misc-smiley-231: seems to think it's okay. We do have LED lights and they are not on during the day. I do check them and they haven't gotten hot. :sEm_blush:

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That's what I said too about the tree lights but my husband (the firefighter) :misc-smiley-231: seems to think it's okay. We do have LED lights and they are not on during the day. I do check them and they haven't gotten hot. :sEm_blush:

I'm thinking he sneaks up in the middle of the night to gaze at the purdy lights. You know how they can be attracted to bright shiney things. :008Laughing:

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I think we do pretty good with the light part. I work thirds so sometimes I come home to EVERY light on in the house, but he has gotten better about that. (after some nagging of course... sigh) Even on my nights off when I wake up in the middle of the night, I prefer to keep all the lights off and just sit on my computer. I think most of our usage comes from our heat. You could see our usage spike from 600kwh in May, to almost 1500kwh in Jan. I looked up the average use and it's 800something. I was shocked. I know we both like to keep it warm in here. At my parents it was always around 75, and we keep ours around 70 or so. Of course since I'm home most of the day I end up turning it up a little bit because I'm freezing to death! lol

 

It probably doesn't help that we have at least 2 laptop chargers plugged in at all times, plus his desktop. And the TV.

 

I do know the areas that we could trim down, it's just a matter of us saying we're going to do it, and actually do it! I think we'll start by making sure everything that doesn't need to be plugged in, isn't. Baby steps, ya know?

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we have some solar lights outside, and put solar panels on my sons play structure. My DH uses a CPAP to sleep and we have lost electricity for a week at a time in the past. This way we always have 3-4 charged batteries and each one will last a few days on the CPAP for 8 hours at night. This is very important to me.

My DH and I are often arguing over light and heat, He is nearly legally blind and needs lots of light, I prefer natural light from just the windows until it is too dark to see your hands. But I tend to like the house around 70, and he prefers it around 65.

 

We recently put in a wood stove and our electric bill comes every other month, Our last bill came yesterday and our electric usage was nearly cut in half from this time last year. The only change being the stove and the blower attached to our gas heat. With the ability to use the wood stove, we put the heat down to 60 and do the rest with the wood stove. The heat only comes on if the house tries to drop below 60, so only in the middle of a really cold night.

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I like Mike and Lori's ideas. Gotta get me some of those solar powerd yard lamps.

 

 

Living out here in the California Mojave desert, we get LOTS!! of sun. Every school in town and most of our state is converting to solar power. Even my church has a huge solar power set up going.

 

When the wife and I move out of this appartment and into our own house someday (please Lord! :pray: ) I want to look into solar power. Out here, the biggest energy killer is the AC in the summer and heat in the winter.

Summer temps get up to and over 115 degrees, and winter can see some nights in the teens.

 

On the mornings I wake up early, befor the sun does, I like using my oil lamps. Gives me that old time country feelings. The down side, is ever few months, gotta buy more oil for the lamps. I have 3 lamps, and would like more.

 

 

Robie

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I have the solar yard lights too but I pull them up, detach the battery and store them in the garage in the winter. They'd just be buried under the snow in the yard here.

 

I've thought about using them for the light inside if I needed to but I never thought about charging them up and using the battery for something else in an emergency. :misc-smiley-231:

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I'm thinking he sneaks up in the middle of the night to gaze at the purdy lights. You know how they can be attracted to bright shiney things. :008Laughing:

 

 

:laughkick:

 

I wouldn't doubt that one bit. He said his job as a kid was to unplug the tree and it always made him sad and now he's a grown up and doesn't have to. haha.

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Ugh CGA...shudder!

 

I turn a light on at night when I'm in or going in a room. A broken bone, while fumbling around in the dark, is more expensive than a few kilowatts of electricity. And easier on the eyes. I don't have time to be laid up with anything broken, sprained, bruised or knocked out of place.

 

And if I step on anything crunchy, slimy, sticky, creeping, crawling, squeeking or squishing, I want to see it to track it down. NOW!

 

My neighbor burns two lights on the outside of his garage all night. I'm sure it helps keep the four and two footed vermin from prowling around our houses. I'm glad he does and I'm glad he is the one paying for it.

 

Okay, I had to know how much it costs to burn a 60 watt light bulb.

 

One site from Westminster College said : <snip> "There are 8,760 hours in a year. So the cost to run that bulb for a full year would be $0.00405092/hr x 8760 hr/yr = $35.48/yr"

 

A site from Wiki Answers said: <snip> "If 1 kWh costs you 25 cents, then leaving a 60 watt light bulb switched on for 24 hours straight would cost you 1.44 kWh x 25¢/kWh = 36 cents."

 

I guess some of the difference would be in how much you pay per kilowatt in your area.

OK, so many of us don't kep the lights on for 24/7 BUT still even if you do that in half that still $17.74 and then you have to times that by how many lights you have in the house. PLUS all the other things that are pluged in.

So lets say you have 10 lights going (that makes up for other things) that $177.44 alone! Can you cut some of those lights back and save money? that would give you more money to spend on things you need.

:AmishMichael2:

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The fluorescents I use don't take as much electricity as that. I leave 4 on all night. Total, they don't come to 60 watts. Money well spent, IMHO. We aren't so poor that we have to sit in the dark.

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Well stepping on SNAKES and such makes that a whole 'nother issue! Money well spent!

 

 

MtRider [ :shakinghead: I simply canNOT imagine living where those ...those..critters can invade even your home. :0327: I'm with Martian...OUTTA there!!!!!!! ]

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