Full disclosure is that I don’t, personally, live in a solar house. My Lovely Logger Man (LLM), however, does. So I have some familiarity with how the whole thing works from the perspective of someone using solar instead of grid power. Now, don’t ask me to explain the mechanics of the whole thing. Aside from turning on the inverter, or adding distilled water to the battery bank every few weeks or so, I don’t otherwise know anything about the technical aspect of it. But what I do know is that there seems to be a prejudice, or maybe just a misunderstanding, about what you can and can’t do while living with a solar array.
LLM has been trying to sell “The Sanctuary” for a couple of years. Basically, he’s sick of having a mortgage payment and wants to take the proceeds to find a little place somewhere up in the mountains that he doesn’t have to be tethered to a bank for. Up here in Montana that’s not an impossibility. There’s plenty of raw land, and with his building skills he’d have no problem building himself another home. He built the one he’s in now… he built a beautiful cabin up in Alaska that he lived in for a while… he’s built homes for other people. The man can build, and he can build beautifully. But that’s not the point of this story. The point is that he can’t sell his house – can’t even give the thing away – because of the misunderstandings that surround solar power. Which blows my mind in this day and age of the “green” revolution. It’s a gorgeous cedar sided, three bedroom cabin on 20 timbered acres along the shores of the Clark Fork River in western Montana. Hell, it even has a custom kitchen with granite countertops! But Lord Almighty… “If it only had power.” (That’s the recurring statement from potential buyers.)
They don’t seem to have trouble with starting a generator and running a hose to the cistern to fill it with water. They don’t have an issue with wood heat. They don’t have a problem driving a mile down a dirt road to get to the property. It’s the fact that the house “doesn’t have power.” Uhhhhhhhh. Okay. Even though he’ll have a TV on, cell phone charging on the wall charger and the regular lights on, they still don’t get it. The man runs power tools to build things (including my awesome dining room table!), and never thinks about plugging something in or turning anything on to conserve energy. The only thing he *can’t* do is mail a check off to the power company for his monthly electric usage.
I think I’m getting lost in my rant… The point is – if you have the opportunity to buy a house some day that has a solar array instead of grid power, by all means, do it. You won’t notice any difference in anything but your bank account. You can do anything you can on grid power while living on solar. There’s a tiny bit of maintenance involved (and I do mean tiny), but that just means it’s another part of your life to incorporate mindfulness into. You actually have to think about things. And taking 10 minutes once every few weeks/couple months, to add a little distilled water to the battery bank, is a nice trade-off to sending a ton of money off to a corporate utility each month.
If you know of anyone looking to move to Western Montana – here are the particulars:
- Three bedroom house on 20 timbered acres
- Cedar siding and tin roof
- Custom kitchen with oak cabinets and granite counter tops
- Developed garden and orchard
- Large shop/garage with space for two cars and a ample room for a workshop
- Lean-to added to shop for additional storage
- Wood heat and full covered woodshed
- Four-panel solar array with an eight battery bank
- Situated along the Clark Fork River
- 15 miles from town
- Elk, deer, bear, bobcat, turkeys and other game birds, abundant wildlife on-site
- All this and more for less than $200,000. Call today! 😉
In the meantime, I’m going to start on Day 2 of my spring cleaning vacation. I got rid of four bags of “stuff” to Goodwill, plus two items on Freecycle yesterday. Got all my town errands run and managed a beautiful 90-minute hike with my friend and our dogs. Today my focus is the barn. I’ve got “stuff” stored in there that I don’t even know I have. If I don’t know I have it, then it’s time to go!
Have a fabulous day!