Updated: Jan 19, 2018
Okay you decided to be Off-Grid.....100% independent or tied into local utilities are the two choices you have. For Sustainable Heroes Project we elected to be 100% Off Grid and rely 100% on Solar power. To choose Grid Tied in we would have had to pay for the utility company to install electrical poles approximately 325 feet from the nearest power tie in. That translated into about $3,000. It is still an option for us but for now we don't want to do that.
We chose to purchase a complete already assembled system (minus the batteries) from Wholesale Solar (Mt. Shasta, CA.) When designing the house we added up all the electrical needs we thought would be needed. We gave this information to Wholesale Solar and they designed the appropriate size system which ended up being 4400kw. Twelve 260pv modules/panels. This is important to know because you must decide where to put the panels. So our panels are on top of a building built for the panels....facing solar south and no trees to block the sun. Location of solar panels is critical for efficiency. Any disturbance of direct sunlight on panels from trees or buildings will impact the electricity generated.
Just a few other points about the electricity needed to run this house.
a. house was constructed facing directly south
b. house designed to collect thermal heat during winter months
c. large number of windows on south wall to let in not only light but warmth on cob floor which will be released during the night
d. restricted number of windows on north and west walls
e insulation properties of materials...straw bales are far better than cob
f. wall thickness of cob and straw bales had to match up for appearance, insulation and moisture transfer through the two different natural materials
g. electrical demands from refrigerator, other appliances i.e. washer/dryer, stove NOTE: we elected to go with a gas dryer and gas stove (propane) and no dishwasher or microwave oven
h. electrical tools i.e. table saw, compressor when possible other power tools were battery operated (you will need to account for the charging of batteries)
i. LED bulbs used throughout the interior and exterior
j. there is NO heating (thermal and Mass Rocket Heater will be heating source...see the special category for details) or cooling units
k. all windows were double panes (if using used windows be sure they are sealed)