Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Off the Grid

Here at the Buffalo Ranch we are, for all practical purposes, off the grid. The only wired connection we have to the outside world is our telephone line which runs underground along the road.

Electricity comes from an array of solar panels. Energy from the sun is converted into DC (Direct Current) power and stored in large batteries. The batteries are connected to an inverter that converts the DC power to AC (Alternating Current) for the lights, fans, refrigerators, freezers, microwave, and coffee makers. There is a propane powered backup generator which is available when the batteries are too depleted to supply the required power.

In addition to the generator, propane provides heat for the cabins, bath house, and classroom/kitchen building. The bath house is heated by radiant heat in the floor which is really nice when it’s freezing outside. Hot water for the kitchen and bath house is provided by propane water heaters.

Living with limited resources is teaching us to turn off lights when they’re not need and to carefully consider all our energy use.

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