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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(sorry, I couldn't resist using the lightbulb icon!)

We're working on purchasing land and building (holy crap ~ I can't believe all the questions that have to be answered before we even buy the land!)

Anywhooo, we're looking into the solar power options. I've seen that there are lots of ways to get rebates, tax breaks, etc. Just wondering if anyone here has solar, and did you really get all the breaks/rebates you thought you would???

I've started pricing, and it looks like about 10K before "kickbacks". We're trying to do this all cash and that is a BIG HUNK O' CASH!
I'm worried the rebates will dissapear once the check clears...

Any other tips/tricks you can think of would be great too!
THANKS!
 

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We are in the same boat as you, except, we have bought some land that is 1/4 mile away from the nearest power pole. We have discovered that there are some rebate programs for people adding solar to on the grid houses, but for those going off the grid, tough luck. (we are in California)

We got a great e-mail from this company, www.backwoodssolar.com Here is a quote from the e-mail, which I think is a standard e-mail: "Most of our customers spend from $3500 to $18,000 for a remote home power system, though you can get something started for as little as $2600." My dh (who did all the actually studying of the solar 2 nights ago) said that this company really stresses making your house and lifestyle as energy efficient as possible, so you don't have to spend a ton of money on the solar system. My dh also discovered in his study that there is a ton of new technology that companies are ramping up to produce - but they won't be able to sell their systems (which will be more affordable) until 2008.
:

I'm glad that you are able to go the cash route - life hasn't been that kind to us, and we are not sure if we will be able to find a lender that will finance an off the grid house.
If you want to see a little bit more of our project go to: http://squawvalleybuilder.blogspot.com/
 

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We will be building off the grid and do not plan to get any tax breaks or incentives (we are in Minnesota).

We have land (you know, we have the mortgage...
) and just started the designing process _today_ (took the architect to our building spot).

We have been studying backwoodssolar site and catalogs for years and will definitely be shopping from them.
 

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Our end-goal is to be completely off the grid. For construction and finishing we ended up having grid tied power run out to the site and will switch over to solar once we move and sell our old house. Dh is a big techy and the system we will need is going to end up being quite large.

We did plan for off-the-grid with many systems in our house. Heating/ hot water will be provided by an outdoor wood boiler. Soy based foam insulation between 6 & 8 inches throughout with an R- value somewher in the R 50 ish range. Super efficient appliances, frige and freezer from Sunfrost. Passive solar window placement and orientation on the site, as well as material selection inside (rock floors on the south side to soak in heat).

Michigan does not have net-metering (yet), though we will qualify for a few federal rebates, which as far as I can tell aren't going to add much savings to what we are going to shell out. There are rebates available for new appliances, efficient heaters/ hot water heaters/ air con units, windows, etc. Which will offset the cost of all that stuff a bit. For us the peace of mind of being completely self sufficient is worth every penny.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gr8tfulmom
For us the peace of mind of being completely self sufficient is worth every penny.
Yes!
gr8ful, your house sounds very wise. =) How far along are you? I'll be mentioning your soy-foam (now that is the best use of soy that I have ever heard!
: ) to my dh, since he hasn't mentioned that one to me.
 

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Thanks 2busy. There are pics of our progress in my sig link under 'dome home'. The insulators are working on it currently and should be done within the next week, then the drywallers and finishing. We are hoping to have Thanksgiving dinner in our new kitchen. If you (or your dh) plugs 'bio-based insulation' into a search engine you should find bunches on it.

Have you run across any good natural/sustainable/recycled carpet, like wall to wall for the bedrooms? That one has been flummoxing me, all I can find are $$$ wool carpeting or modular carpet squares.
 

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Have you run across any good natural/sustainable/recycled carpet, like wall to wall for the bedrooms? That one has been flummoxing me, all I can find are $$$ wool carpeting or modular carpet squares.
I saw a really cool way to make a carpet with small carpets sewn together. You might want to ask your carpet store for remnants of wool carpets and have them sewn together in an interesting pattern or just big colour blocks its pretty easy.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Shiloh
I saw a really cool way to make a carpet with small carpets sewn together. You might want to ask your carpet store for remnants of wool carpets and have them sewn together in an interesting pattern or just big colour blocks its pretty easy.
Sweet idea, dh likes it too!
 

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Hi there, Im new today to this forum, but have loved mothereing for many years the whole computer thing sets me back a bit . What state do you live in? Solar is a great idea! We dont have solar now because unfortunately we are renters now looking to find an affordale place to buy land or a house to do solar. Right now my hubby is a solar electrician with a company in california and I know they give you the rebates up front so you dont have to wait and I know that makes alot of people happier, I can get more info if you need it. Let me know what you find out because we are interested in how other states are going about incentives and rebates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by omegamama
Hi there, Im new today to this forum, but have loved mothereing for many years the whole computer thing sets me back a bit . What state do you live in? Solar is a great idea! We dont have solar now because unfortunately we are renters now looking to find an affordale place to buy land or a house to do solar. Right now my hubby is a solar electrician with a company in california and I know they give you the rebates up front so you dont have to wait and I know that makes alot of people happier, I can get more info if you need it. Let me know what you find out because we are interested in how other states are going about incentives and rebates.
Welcome!!!!

I live in Texas. Unfortunately, I cannot find any "state sponsored" support for solar. (though if someone else knows it exists ~ I would LOVE the info
: ) We did find that the city of Austin offers rebates. Some cities and/or counties offer incentives/copays/rebates. Also, some places allow or disallow greywater septic, water storage, and other "crunchy" building choices. Sometimes it's a county, sometimes a city. Since many cities fall into different counties and many counties fall into different cities ~ it makes it very difficult to try to find the perfect "spot".
:
:
:
 

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Jen- If you want to stay in California, the last affordable (decent) place to buy is Squaw Valley. You could get a lot with no power, two lots from ours for about $50K- it is 5 acres, the water is good in the area and it is very secluded. Of course it is 30 miles from the nearest grocery store and it does get central valley hot. =( Although, it is gorgeous from the first rainfall till mid May. and, do you know of any rebates given to off the grid systems in California?
gr8ful, no carpet ideas, I'm pushing for hardwood throughout for easy cleaning, however dh is thinking carpet squares. I wish we could afford wool. Going to go look at your house...
 

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gr8ful: Cool house! love it! Big!! It looks like it is taking a year to build. Did you use a general contractor or are you an Owner/builder? Did you dream in triangles for a while there?
Honest, it looks wonderful!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by thedevinemissm
Welcome!!!!

I live in Texas. Unfortunately, I cannot find any "state sponsored" support for solar. (though if someone else knows it exists ~ I would LOVE the info
: ) We did find that the city of Austin offers rebates. Some cities and/or counties offer incentives/copays/rebates. Also, some places allow or disallow greywater septic, water storage, and other "crunchy" building choices. Sometimes it's a county, sometimes a city. Since many cities fall into different counties and many counties fall into different cities ~ it makes it very difficult to try to find the perfect "spot".
:
:
:
It sounds like Texas is much like Michigan in the rebates/incentives/tax break sense. Federal programs are about the only thing we qualify for. Though we have been writing our senators and gov about these issues, hopefully sometime in the future some green legislation will get hammered through.

2busy, yeah our house ended up huge, with 3 at home plus 1-2 extra kids all the time and 2 grandmas in the future the space just seemed to grow and grow during the planning stage. It has been almost exactly a year right now, can't wait to get in. We have a couple of wonderful old hippie craftsmen brothers, 1 did the exterior w/ my Dad & Dh, the other has worked on all the interior wood w/ dh & I pitching in when we can. Dh & I are the acting general contractors and good heavens, that's enough to make you go
:
 

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gr8ful: Sounds like alot of work! Any suggestions for keeping young children busy while ma and pa work? So glad that you were able to plan for the grandma's while in the development stage! Kinda hard to squish them in later. We are kinda thinking of the elderly parents, but don't have the space or $$ to make the space extremely wheel chair friendly.
Sure hope that you move in before the snow falls! Any chance that you will be able to give a cost per sq. foot when you are done? (or would that be to nosy for me to ask?)

Does anyone use wind power for anything? We are planning to use wind on our well and am curious if anyone else has gone this route.
 
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