Please Note; More photos follow the script.
Ian and Sue Abercrombie, moved to the US twenty-six years ago from the UK, initially settling for suburban life 20 miles northwest of Atlanta. Ian, a telephone system software contractor, could work from anywhere and like many Brits who moved from the UK, it was not long before he was hankering for a more rural life with a chunk of land. In 1997, just after July 4th, he and Sue and their two children, Gemma and Mathew, aged 15 and 11, at the time, gave up their suburban home for a single wide trailer on a scraggly piece of land approximately 20 miles northwest of Gainesville, FL. This is not what the average person decides to do and shortly after the move the two kids were heard to be discussing, “Mom and Dad have really lost it!” But as Theodore Roosevelt once said,
"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy, nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
And Ian and Sue did dare mighty things! Over two decades they have sacrificed much, yet accomplished even more, in their pursuit of grid & fossil fuel independence. Twenty years of hard work, solving difficult problems and phenomenal learning. They have done much of the heavy lifting themselves and it is not surprising that they now understand many, “Cleantech products”, better than the companies who sell them!
In their own words.......
There are definitely challenges to living off grid. The demands of the family can put a big strain on your system but with careful management you can provide all the creature comforts we have become used to and still cut yourself free from the power company.
The first thing to do is to eliminate all the high power equipment that runs in the night. It is easy to provide enough power when the sun is shining but storing it for when it is not is a real challenge. The best way to start is to adjust your daily schedule and ensure that those items that do need to run at night and on cloudy days are the most efficient that you can obtain. Obviously, light bulbs are the first and easiest to deal with. Switch everything to LED and you immediately make a big difference to your night time consumption. The other benefit here is that you cut down on heat produced which reduces air conditioning requirements.
Running things like washing machines only on sunny days just requires a slight adjustment that is easy to do. Doing most of the cooking during daylight times is another adjustment that soon becomes a normal part of life. Using a whole house dehumidifier here in the South can drastically reduce the requirement for energy expensive air conditioning. You can set the air temperature quite a few degrees higher if the humidity is controlled properly and you end up with a much more comfortable environment too.
It is fairly important to have a system that provides a lot of control and information about how it is working. This can be fascinating to watch but more importantly it allows you to understand exactly what is going on and where you need to make adjustments.
Setting up a system with enough battery and solar panels to keep you going can be expensive at first but it is really satisfying to know that you are consuming NO fossil fuel and contributing NO CO2 to the environment.
Energy Blues LLC https://www.energyblueshelp.com can connect you with the expertise you need to handle any energy storage management project from living off grid to peak shaving. From individuals to large corporations. They have consultants and experts available from all aspects of the energy storage market who can quickly answer your questions and guide your projects large and small.