Newport Solar’s owner & founder hasn’t paid for electricity
at his house nor at “Doug’s Yurt” in years!
At his home in Newport, a solar array provides 100% of the electricity. The house is connected to the grid; when the array over-produces electricity it goes out onto the grid and the meter counts down, creating a credit. At night power is imported from the grid and the meter counts up. Overall, solar produces more energy more than is consumed; and the electric bill is $0.00 per month!
With 12 solar panels on the south-facing roof of the 1,500 square foot home, all the electricity needed is generated.
Now, isn’t that cool; filing away the monthly power bill without sending any money to the utility?
Did you know that some people don’t even have an account with the utility? They produce and store their electricity on-site. These homes are considered “Off-Grid”.
Doug’s Yurt is “Off -Grid”!
In rural Utah, Doug and his wife have a 500 square foot Yurt powered entirely by the sun.
There are no electric poles or power lines running to or from the building. The solar panels are connected to batteries and a load center that runs electricity to lights and power outlets inside the yurt. During the day the solar panels charge the batteries and power appliances directly; at night the batteries output stored energy to run lights and appliances.
Even though Doug and his wife are conscious of their electricity use in Newport, they are more conscious about energy use at the Yurt. They do not have the utility there to “back them up” if they use too much power from the batteries.
In addition to producing and storing electricity at their Yurt, they also use other strategies to reduce input from the outside world and remain sustainable:
- Use a wood-fired stove for cooking and heating from natural deadfall.
- Heat water from the stove and the sun
- Use rechargeable batteries for tools and small appliances charged by solar panels
- Use a composting toilet
- Use gravity-fed water, where possible
In addition to these simple strategies, they are conscious of when they do things:
- Pumping water and charging computers when the sun is shining
- Showering in the late afternoon when the sun has heated up water
- Charging extra batteries in the afternoon when the primary batteries have been fully charged by the mid-day sun