Monday, July 7, 2008

Our temporary power source

Since we are gearing up to start our solar panel, inverter, whosimiwhatsis purchase, I thought it would be good to visit what we use for our source of power currently during the build.

It all started about 30 days after we purchased the land. We had intended on running power up the driveway, in fact, we chose the lot carefully with many things in mind and one of them was the closeness of power at the street level. Right at the corner of our lot, is a pole, so hey it should be easy to bring power up the driveway right? WRONG! We soon learned that there was much more to it and after a $10,000 estimate to put 3 poles on our driveway or 13,000 to trench the wires, we were in a real pickle. They wanted us to pay $10,000 to put poles along the TREE line on the side of a mountain in a very wooded area which means if we lose a pole due to limbs or trees, which is a likely scenario, we had to pay them to come back up and do it again PLUS a monthly bill. Since we had already started trucking up there with coolers, water jugs and candles and really were not uncomfortable, we considered not including power in our plans. One afternoon at the cabin, Dave got the gleam in his eye and I knew something interesting was going to come out of it.

So began the research of the solar installation... To be honest, the solar install would actually be right around the same price but we had the added bonus of no monthly bill. Neither of us knew anything about solar power at the time, and i am not overly interested in kilowatts and ampage, Dave got the tap and began his research process. Two years later, Dave has come up with what we think is a viable plan and we are both eager to get it underway! In the interim however, we needed to come up with a solution for the building process. Lets face it, building a house without any power tools would take MUCH longer no? We wanted something that we could use in an emergency for back-up power (we live in New England and there are great stretches that do not include sun, and wind power wouldnt work for us where we are located). We needed something that would run the well pump that we would EVENTUALLY install (we are so far off from that its not even worth talking about) plus all the household needs. We got our generator and dave set off to house it.

Captain over-engineer made the coolest little shed for it, where all the walls lift up to allow proper airflow on hot days, plus it locks up tight and conceals it. I believe (and I could be wrong) that it is 8,000 watts and although it does consume gas (we are really trying to stop destroying natural resources) it is used so infrequently that it has not been significant. My friend's husband (licensed electrician) came up for a week or two and wired the entire house to a panel that is run off the generator with some gadgety things so that switching to our solar plan would be simple as 1-2-3. (famous last words).

As you can see from the pictures however, our careful planning did not allow for major erosion and now we are faced with the eventuality of some sort of stone walk or moving the generator entirely ;) Ahhh well, Rome wasn't built in a day.

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