Does Solar Really Work in Alabama and Georgia?
I have been interested in solar energy since the late seventies... In fact, the last paper I wrote in college many moons ago was "The Market Feasibility of Solar Energy." I really wanted to get into solar energy after graduation but decided that the market and technology wasn't really ready for prime time and ventured down other paths.
Fast forward 30+ years - the efficiencies and effectiveness of solar (and wind, micro-hydro) technologies have made tremendous strides. Many of us have read about solar - generally featured in in other areas of the country. I kept hearing how with relatively inexpensive electricity rates and our location solar "really wasn't feasible." As one that appreciates liberty and freedom I think one reason for my continued interest is that solar represents that ability to be "off the grid," to disconnect, and to really be energy self-reliant.
Well, on a recent hot and humid June day in our neck of the woods in east central ALABAMA I finally witnessed solar energy in action. I found myself sitting in a comfortable 72 degree interior of a metal (inherently hot) construction trailer converted to a retreat "cabin." All the creature comforts were there - central air and heat, hot water, ceiling fans, satellite TV and Internet, lights (and an efficient electrical backup system). If you walked into this incredibly comfortable place blindfolded, you would never know that all of these conveniences were being magically driven by technology that converts free sunshine to electrical power!
What did I learn? Solar (and other renewable technologies) have come a long way baby. Effectiveness has improved throughout the system - from photovoltaic conversion rates to all the creature comfort appliances efficiencies have improved - drawing much less power. (Think about LED lighting.) Also - check out the significant tax incentives effectively reducing your capital outlay.
Residential wind and micro-hydro systems have also come a long way. See some of the links below for additional information on these systems.
What does this mean for the land owner / buyer? For me and others that own or are considering "remote" property off the grid, this stuff really works! Maybe that beautiful property without power that was awesome but in your mind but not "feasible" is now very do-able!
- Don Ellers aka "LANDCRAWLER"
Some interesting green energy search and related topics...
Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency - Click your state.
Google: small house solar energy system - some great info!
Google: renewable energy tax credits
Georgia - Green Power EMC
As a favor for a client...
I have a client who has actually implemented a working solar powered trailer on an off-grid property... They are now living in their permanent off-grid cabin and offering the box trailer for sale. Update - solar has been installed on the new cabin and working beautifully.
Owner write up: We are selling our off grid box trailer, converted into our home away from home. As a family with three daughters we have all the comforts of home with no electrical power from an outside provider. This trailer was first converted to a on site construction trailer for our business, then later set up with solar power for a “cabin” on property we bought over a year ago.
The trailer at this time has a queen size bed in the back room, lighted ceiling fan with a door to the outside with a steel ramp. (We don’t have the ramp attached in the photos, but it will be sold with the trailer.) Bathroom has a shower, toilet and sink. There is storage under sink and also three built in cabinets stacked in bathroom. There is a space gas heater on bathroom wall. The living area at this time has a futon couch, small table, refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot, built in sink with cabinet storage below and above. (Solar system runs refrigerator and security system at all times, even when we are gone.)
The back section of the trailer is for storage and has a steel ramp, we also have used it to run our 4 wheeler in for safe keeping and lock the roll up door. There is an electric wench to raise and lower steel ramp, if you want to move trailer or lock it.
21- 100 watt solar panels, batteries, 3000 watt inverter and solar charger.
7.5 KW Generac generator
12,000 BTU mini split A/C with heat
18,000 BTU A/C we don’t use anymore, but it does work
40 Gal electric water heater that we left in for back up, but use a endless hot water tank less unit that runs off gas.
Trailer has a 300 gallon fresh water holding tank and 900 gallon sewer tank. We also installed a septic tank, so we didn't have to worry about sewer tank getting full.
Jacks on the front and back of trailer.
If you have interest, give Don Ellers a call on 770-424-5800 and I'll put you in touch with the owner.
Note: LANDCRAWLER will not be involved in this transaction and has provided this information as a favor to a customer and in no way endorses or warrants the equipment for sale. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN DUE DILGENCE, INCLUDING HIRING APPROPRIATE INSPECTION PROFESSIONALS REGARDING THIS EQUIPMENT.