I like to say our home produces power from the safest fusion generator possible -- which is about 93 million miles away and at the center of our solar system!
The drawing above, of our house as designed, is from Marc Sloot, our architect at SALA.
We produce that power using solar panels and they're great in so many ways: They have no moving parts. The fuel to generate power is free. There are no toxic fuel spills.
But let's be honest - there are drawbacks. Since the sun doesn't always shine, power generation isn't 100% steady. This means, if you're not ok with power fluctuations, you'll need to have a backup plan which stores energy to use when the sun isn't shining. One way is a battery backup.
A more typical backup plan (which we use) is connect to the electrical grid. Here's how it works: When the sun's shining we generate electricity. When the sun's not shining, we draw from the grid. And, another bonus: if we generate more than we use, we "send it back" (i.e. send it into the grid) to help power our neighbor's homes.
While we are designing the house to send as much energy to the grid as we draw over the year, we want to support a cleaner electrical grid so we will be subscribing to Xcel Energy's Windsource program.
Our system is 18.6kW in power generation, comprised of 61 LG 305-watt panels.
Our southern exposure for the panels is wonderful. Almost completely shade free.
Mark really doesn't like to talk about himself, the house is much more interesting.