reply to post by PerceptiveOne
The problem is that you still have to do maintenance on your own system. The biggest drawback to virtually all alternative energy sources is the fact
that power storage is required for them to become practical as a replacement for grid supply sources. The reality of it is that these are often in
the form of very expensive battery setups that lose their capacity over the course of a few years - depending upon the type of battery used.
There does not exist a rechargeable battery system that will last 10 years without needing to be replaced - let alone 20. Most will be replaced at
the 5-6 year mark, as a few stormy days will have you rationing your power by that time.
Depending upon the type of system you have - the batteries may be the single most expensive part.
Individual solar/wind systems are not an install-and-forget sort of thing. Solar cells can fail for various reasons (even if they just sit there,
undamaged - the photovoltaic junction can break down), batteries will need to be replaced, and the regulating components will eventually need
replacing, as well (though, depending upon design, perhaps not for several decades).
In areas of the country where 2-story, 3,000 square-foot houses can operate with a family of 5 on electric costs under $200 per month... it's going
to be difficult to justify the cost of placing a solar power system in with $15,000 battery replacements every 4-6 years.
You will find some more technologically literate individuals have better setups that are rated for a longer period of time - but they also require
monthly checks of acid levels, specific gravity ratings, etc. What most people are going to face, however, is solar power as a service. Much like
you have someone come out to fill your propane tanks, inspect the lines, and work on your central air system (in some cases - even if you are capable
of doing the same job, you don't want to set aside the time and scheduling to do it).
That is, of course, assuming you want to go completely off-grid.
Further, your power requirements are going to be very squirrely, depending upon what all you have in your house running off of electricity.
Stoves/ovens, Air Conditioning, Furnaces, high-power sound systems, etc will all have a substantial impact on how much power you need to have in store
(especially if you tend to use most of your power at night).
In the end - you are going to find that an off-grid home is best done from "square one" with as many power reducing features as possible. You will
want solar water heating as opposed to an electric water heater. You will need to compensate for your lifestyle (such as people who are more active
in the darker hours) - which may mean needing to install gas appliances (and associated lines)... or you may need to restructure your own lifestyle
around the off-grid home's capabilities.
And that is the reality of it all. It's not a fire-and-forget solution to power needs.