Skip to main content

We've always tried to be reasonaly responsible energy users.  I mostly get around town by bike, and my wife drove a little Corolla.  Don't use the air-conditioner, even in Sacramento Valley summers.  But there has always been this little dream of doing better - a lot better.  A few months ago, my lovely mother-in-law, Rita passed on at age 94.  Thanks to a frugal life and careful investing, she left behind a modest legacy.  Not anything like a life-changing amount of money, but a nice sum we had not planned on and didn't need for anything else.  So, her daughter, my sweet wife got to fulfill a long-time dream and become pretty much solar powered.

The first part of the project was a rooftop solar array.  This was a little complicated because we have a lot of trees around the house - the reason that we have been able to stay pretty comfy in our hot summers without the AC.  And we didn't want to give up the trees, so we had to do some thoughtful siting of the panels and still give up a bit of performance to keep the trees.  That's OK - the trade-off is worth it.  For anyone interested, we got 20 panels, with a total max output of around 4KW and got it with individual inverters on each panel, a relatively new innovation that made sense to me.
The whole thing is online, so I can now log into the maker's website and see what my system is producing in almost realtime, along with historical trends etc.  It's all working well and watching the output is my current favorite TV show.
Here in California, we have a net metering system that lets us sell power back to the utility when we produce excess.  We strove for a system that will balance out over the year.  Currently in peak summer, it's producing more than twice what we use - which is fine, that goes to run a lot of AC systems.  In the winter, we will almost certainly use more than production, but that will be offset (we hope) by our summer overages.
Then today, we picked up the other half of the project, a new Nissan Leaf EV.  Very cool little car.  The first thing people ask about, of course, is range.  But for us that was not really an issue.  The Corolla my wife has driven for the last 10 years pretty much never leaves town, and neither will the leaf.  We have another car we use for trips that can't be made by transit.  So range is pretty much a non-issue for us.
In many ways, I will freely admit, this was an emotional choice for us.  I'm dubious that the whole thing pencils out well in a pure dollars and cents way.  But we pretty much don't care.  This money came to us as a gift and we felt like we wanted to use it in a way that feels right and that we hope is contructive.  And in a way, it's reminiscent of the 90s, when all our friends were making large paper gains in the market while we were pinching pennies and paying down our mortgage as fast as we could instead.  People told us we were fools to do that, but then along came 2000, the market took a dump and we had a house paid for.  This feels a bit like that.  I'm sure we could have found more lucrative ways to use that money, but this just feels right.  
And I've already had a fair amount of entertainment out of it - watching the salesman try to explain this extremely - almost comically - techy car to my wife who can just about figure out how to answer her cell-phone and still can't figure out how to read a text message on it.  The freaking car is in continuous communication with Japan via satellite, for just one example.  Fortunately, you really can ignore most of that stuff and just drive it, if that's what you want to do.
As time goes by and we have more experience with both the car and the solar system, I may try to put up an occasional report on how it's going.
 

Originally posted to Chico David RN on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by Butte County kossacks of CA-01, Kosowatt, and Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (184+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbou, indycam, jedennis, Herodotus Prime, citisven, maggiejean, Nada Lemming, Brainwrap, ladybug53, luckydog, Mnemosyne, Regina in a Sears Kit House, daddybunny, hooktool, jennifree2bme, rage, Ian S, KenBee, EvieCZ, nancat357, freesia, BusyinCA, Hanging Up My Tusks, Lawrence, ovals49, DRo, Mayfly, trillian, Marko the Werelynx, Wrench44, science nerd, gulfgal98, Habitat Vic, Morgan Sandlin, UniC, marykk, AnnCetera, Leo in NJ, brasilaaron, petesmom, Margd, glitterscale, VexingEyes, marleycat, letsgetreal, Justus, FloridaSNMOM, kharma, MoDem, rapala, DEMonrat ankle biter, GeorgeXVIII, John Kelly, BasharH, BYw, monkeybrainpolitics, Nebraskablue, BoxerDave, jam, jamess, Texknight, NoMoJoe, antboy, Rosaura, ybruti, Flying Goat, AZ Sphinx Moth, hazzcon, Eddie C, rudyblues, ParkRanger, boran2, sewaneepat, SeaTurtle, Glen The Plumber, lineatus, marathon, Caddis Fly, Noor B, IndieGuy, pixxer, Witgren, anyname, Horace Boothroyd III, HeyMikey, Floja Roja, politik, cooper888, S F Hippie, davehouck, eve, wordene, DixieDishrag, GreyHawk, Ozzie, spunhard, Crider, trivium, dancerat, AdamR510, tripodisblack, knitwithpurpose, papercut, leema, pateTX, Blu Gal in DE, Ticonderoga, Radiowalla, DrCoyle65, Little Lulu, BlogDog, weck, factbased, enhydra lutris, ExStr8, lanshark, Zinman, eeff, cotterperson, Librarianmom, itzik shpitzik, wblynch, mslat27, mikeconwell, sfarkash, CorinaR, orlbucfan, passionateprotagonist, Assaf, smileycreek, jimstaro, Damnit Janet, indie17, Dragon5616, sailmaker, paradise50, petulans, California06, Odysseus, FutureNow, kimoconnor, EdinGA, LaughingPlanet, madhaus, lgmcp, JayBat, CatJab, fumie, bfitzinAR, Joieau, JBL55, Dvalkure, Andrew F Cockburn, Fiona West, im a plugger, futilitismo, scott on the rock, TXdem, Abraham Running For Congress When I Turn 25, Egalitare, The Nose, SoCalSal, javan, Slaw, Lusty, ozsea1, jan4insight, MKinTN, splashy, sb, Wino, horse dave, joelado, pgm 01, soaglow, slowbutsure, FG, cranberrylib, buckstop, tacet, bnasley, third Party please, Larsstephens, bill warnick

    "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

    by Chico David RN on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:02:30 PM PDT

  •  Sorry , it will never work (14+ / 0-)

    you should have bought the bassomatic nuke 76 .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:08:39 PM PDT

    •  I recognize it's a luxury to be able to think... (19+ / 0-)

      in that way.  I'm grateful for the opportunity.  Most of our lives we've been careful with money, but this time, we just decided to say "what the hell, we just want to do this".

      "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

      by Chico David RN on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:12:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Personally, I don't think it should be a luxury (11+ / 0-)

        I think solar panels are important to the future of our planet and its people.  I think both state and federal governments should offer refundable tax credits so that even low income homeowners can take advantage of the tax credits.  And I think that governments should also help by providing low interest financing to homeowners so that purchasing and installing a system is essentially a no money down proposition, and the monthly loan payment is offset by utility bill savings.  I think that such programs would greatly stimulate the solar panel business, helping to further reduce per panel costs, and greatly increasing jobs in both manufacturing and, especially, installation.

        •  It certainly worked in Germany (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Egalitare, The Nose, ozsea1, joelado

          but, by golly, it certainly sounds like socialism -- wouldn't work here in the States!

          NOW SHOWING
          Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
          Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

          by The Dead Man on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:41:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm pretty sure the Greeks don't think (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Dead Man

            Germany is overly socialist.

            This is, of course, the difference between republicans and human beings. - Captain Frogbert

            by glorificus on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:20:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Germany's progress in solar has been hyped. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Dead Man

            MeteorBlades had a very factual diary that put Germany's solar power output at about 4% of it's total power requirement on average. To suggest that have solved the issue does a disservice to the magnitude of the task.

            •  is it not also a disservice (0+ / 0-)

              to the issue to assume we cannot reduce the lunatic amounts of waste, from 50% of supermarket food thrown away, gas flared off, florida oranges trucked to california and vice versa, all the way down the habitat-killing line?

              negawatts, (and more ponies)!

              why? just kos..... *just cause*

              by melo on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 02:46:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  So go do it. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SoCalSal, ozsea1, joelado

          Via Property Assessed Clean Energy, any county or municipal board can issue bonds to have residents install clean energy.

          Lobby your local elected officials.

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:46:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I was pleasantly surprised to find (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Nose, ozsea1, joelado, davehouck, tacet

          how much the cost of solar panels have come down in the last five years.  We did some rough price-outs back then and it would have cost around $40K to put some panels up.  By doing a prepaid lease, we got our panels installed for $11K.

          Elon Musk (you know, of Tesla and SpaceX) also has another investment that's going gangbusters, at least around here, called SolarCity.  They LEASE solar panels and yes, you can do it  as a monthly payment.  In our case we did a pre-paid lease rather than a monthly payment.  And they do exactly what you're describing, working out the payments along with the expected utlity bill savings, and they do guarantee a particular rate of savings.

          Our array will not power all our needs, mostly because of the 220V hot tub.  But by moving down from Tier 3 to Tier 1 pricing, we're getting plenty of bang for our solar buck.  Charging up our Leaf on top of it is just gravy.

          Of course once we go to time-of-use billing, we'll sell the utility solar power during the day when it's expensive, and charge the Leaf at midnight when kilowatts are cheap.

          In capitalist America, bank robs you!

          by madhaus on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:59:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Refundable doesn't help low income people (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MKSinSA

          Because you have to come up with the money in the first place.

          Poor people don't have the up-front money, sorry to say.

          I do like the program idea where you can pay the same as you are now in electricity while getting solar panels on the roof, except many low-income people are afraid of loans after being burned by not being able to pay in the past and it turning into a horrible experience. Things happen, and income fluctuates. Sometimes the electric bill isn't paid.

          Women create the entire labor force.

          by splashy on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 01:05:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  there's a direct causative link (0+ / 0-)

          between your highly intelligent, visionary comment, and your sweetly simple and heartwarming sig line.

          fine combo indeed!

          why? just kos..... *just cause*

          by melo on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 02:43:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I *love* reading stories like this. (18+ / 0-)

    I, too, have a dream of going fully off the grid (or as close to it as possible) someday.

    If & when we ever hit a nice windfall for whatever reason, solar is definitely on the agenda.

  •  Good for you (11+ / 0-)

    And glad you mentioned this

    we had to do some thoughtful siting of the panels and still give up a bit of performance to keep the trees.
    People don't always realized that you can place the solar panels other than on the roof. I've seen one home where the panels were out in a field and connected to the house in the woods via cable.

    Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today. -- James Dean

    by Mnemosyne on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:38:32 PM PDT

    •  True (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ParkRanger, Mnemosyne, glorificus, joelado

      Ours are on the roof, since the rest of the yard is even more shaded than the house, barring the little bit we keep open for a vege garden.  But we put them at a bit of an odd angle and built some framing to support them since the natural slope of the roof didn't work well for our needs - the only south-facing part of the roof was the shadiest part.  And i've seen a number of set-ups like you describe, with panels in the yard.  

      "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

      by Chico David RN on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:56:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Saw one in a magazine the other day that had (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Nose, SoCalSal, joelado

        a big lovely gazebo, where the family liked to sit back and relax at the end of the day.

        And the whole roof? Covered with solar panels.

        Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

        by Sirenus on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:31:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wish I could charge my Volt on solar (14+ / 0-)

    My house is surrounded my 75-100 ft oaks, so it makes charging off of solar impractical.   I guess I will have to move first!

    I do love not going to the gas station.  12,000 miles, 4.2 gallons, and 7 months later I am still on dealer gas!

    •  Wind (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      richdpa, BYw, ParkRanger, bluedust, The Nose

      Would wind be a possibility?

      P.S.  You may want to add fuel stabilizer to each tankful if you continue to use that small amount of fuel.

      Which is good news for John McCain.

      by AppleP on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 04:02:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was wondering about old fuel in the Volt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, joelado

        because I can imagine a lot of people drive the car almost exclusively on electric.

        When I don't mow my lawn for a while (a common coinsurance) or over the winter, the gas "spoils" and I have to replace it.  I definitely wouldn't want to take a chance on a much more expensive engine.  

        For the record, I have a long commute so I bought a Fiat 500 and I am loving it.  Someday they will release the electric version in the US and I will be the first in line.

        •  GM Engineered the Volt with this in mind (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          madhaus, The Nose, joelado, pgm 01

          The Volt has two maintenance modes, Engine and Fuel.

          Every 6 weeks if the engine has not been used enough, the Volt will enter Engine Maintenance Mode (EMM) and will run the engine for a few minutes.   My last 3 EMMs used 0.03 gallons each time.   I've had 3 in a row now, so since Feb 12th, I've drive 8,000 miles or so and used 0.1 gallons.

          If the average age of the fuel in the Volt is a year old, the Volt enters Fuel Maintenance Mode and will burn off the fuel forcing the tank to be refilled.    

          •  um, what? really? who designed that? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ozsea1
            If the average age of the fuel in the Volt is a year old, the Volt enters Fuel Maintenance Mode and will burn off the fuel forcing the tank to be refilled.
            Got to be a better way to handle that. Maybe the car could say, "Hey, dude, your gas is like really old. Do you want me to burn it all up and dump all that CO2 into the air, or do you want to dispose of it responsibly?"
            •  Don't have to fill up the whole tank (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, madhaus, The Nose, ozsea1, joelado, pgm 01

              Keep in mind that the Volt only has a 9 gallon tank.    Most people will go through that within a year.    

              A small number of owners like me, treats the Volt as a pure EV.   In that case, when it comes to being a year old, let it burn through what is left and then add only a gallon or so.

              Also, if the Volt really isn't using the gasoline, no needs to carry around that extra weight anyway.

              •  I try to drive electric only with my Volt, but (0+ / 0-)

                here and there I end up using a gallon or two because I misjudged the range in my Volt. However, I managed to make a full tank of gas last 10 months. The EMM did turn on a few times near the end. It cycles through and checks the burn rate. If everything works out OK, the engine turns off in about 10 minutes. The Volt engineers really worked hard to make sure you were maximizing your electric use. It is really a cool car. I like the Leaf. If Nissan had been quicker getting it out to the East Coast I would be driving one, but I have no regrets buying the Volt. One thing that I did that I couldn't have done if I had purchased a Leaf was drive half way across the country on gasoline and charging at night on a regular 110 outlet from the hotel.

                Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this comment?

                by joelado on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 02:14:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  That's not a bad idea but fortunately (7+ / 0-)

        GM knew that people could go months and months on the same tank full of gas.  Thus they designed the Volt with a steel tank instead of plastic and they pressurized it.  You add those features with the highly recommended usage of premium gas and having gas going stale is not a real issue with the Volt.

        My numbers stink compared to dimpled chad but my nearly 350 MPG is not too shabby!

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 05:39:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Doesn't the Volt also periodically switch to gas? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ParkRanger, ozsea1, splashy, joelado

          I've read other Volt owners who say the car switches to use up the gas after a certain period of time, which the car's computer keeps track of. Say after 6 months or a year?

          I've been hanging on to my Honda Civic for a while now as I can go around 4 weeks on a small tank of gas with the way I drive it, but have thought the next car should either be electric or at least hybrid if we can afford it. So I'm very curious about how the Volt and Leaf are working out for people.  

          •  You are pretty close in your understanding (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            madhaus, Fiona West, The Nose, ozsea1, joelado

            of the Volt.  There is an engine maintenance mode that goes on if you haven't used your gas engine in 6 weeks.  After 6 weeks a message will pop up on your display that asks you if it is ok to perform the engine maintenance.  You can decline or accept.  I forget if it gives you another time or two to decline but, in order to protect the engine for the long term, it will force the engine to run.

            I've seen some people say it typically uses about .06 gallons to .1 gallons of gas and so it doesn't take all that long.  You will then be good for another 6 weeks.

            Personally, I essentially never use a drop of gas during the week but I do tend to go on longer trip during the weekends and so I have never driven 6 weeks without using gas and so I have never had the engine maintenance mode come on.

            As for how it's working out for most people I would suggest two websites to get great feedback on the Volt.

            voltstats.net will show you real world data from Volt owners.

            And gm-volt.com has now become essentially a Volt owners forum that we keep up on the news of the Volt and help new people understand the pros and cons of the Volt.

            The Volt's not cheap and it doesn't make financial sense for everyone but even if I keep it only 5 years I have essentially purchased a fantastic car for the equivalent of a $25k car since I'm saving so much in operating costs each year.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:05:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think a lot of EV and Volt naysayers (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fiona West, The Nose, ozsea1, joelado, pgm 01

              really miss  where these cars shine: lower operating costs.  Not only do you save a bloody fortune by not buying gas, you don't have the costly maintenance for all those hundreds of parts that wear out.

              Especially in the pure EVs, there are no belts, there are no oil filters, no carburator, no spark plugs.  It's a bloody electric motor!  

              Here is the entire list of maintenance required for  a Nissan Leaf:

              1. Replace cabin air filter every year
              2. Rotate tires every 7500 miles
              3. Check battery health and charge port
              4. Software updates as needed
              5. Replace brake fluid every 15,000 miles (this is 4x as aggressive as for a normal car)
              6. Replace coolant after 105,000 miles.

              That's IT.  And of course, no mandatory emissions tests :D.

              Since the Volt does have a gas engine, there will be more maintenance, but nowhere as much as on a conventional ICE (internal combustion engine).

              OH MY GOD PG&E is here!  They're gonna swap my meter so I can turn on the solar panels!!!!!

              In capitalist America, bank robs you!

              by madhaus on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:09:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Congrats on the solar panels! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                madhaus

                I don't follow the Leaf as much as I should.   If Nissan or GM messes up with either the Leaf or the Volt it will likely impact sales short term for the other and so I should keep closer tabs on the wider EV community.

                However, you can attest that the Leaf is a viable option NOW and I can do the same with the Volt despite all the fear mongering (especially amongst the Republicans) that EVs (or EREVs) are not ready for prime time.

                We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                by theotherside on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 05:29:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The Leaf is a perfect second car... that will (0+ / 0-)

                  immediately become your first car.

                  If i have to drive beyond its range and there are no nearby charging stations, I'll use the gas car.  But 95% of my driving is easily within range.  I usually only charge it every 2 or 3 days.

                  In capitalist America, bank robs you!

                  by madhaus on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:58:32 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Nah, sails would look silly on a Volt. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, Fiona West, joelado

        Oh, you probably meant wind power for the house. ;-)

        •  And tacking in traffic is a big problem. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, fb, Fiona West, joelado

          "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

          by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:10:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  LOL (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fiona West, joelado

          Of course...unless you meant solar panels on your car...

          Which is good news for John McCain.

          by AppleP on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:30:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, You mean like this? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Chico David RN

            Photobucket

            or this

            Photobucket2

            The yellow Fiero solar car is mine.

            Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this comment?

            by joelado on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 02:24:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So tell me more about the fiero! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gramofsam1

              I assume it's an EV, of course.  Did you do the conversion yourself, or did someone else?  how much do the panels extend range?  Is that a solar panel on the roof or a sunroof?  I know that much panel is a long way from running that much car, but I'm guessing that over a long day in a sunny parking lot they would contribute a bit.  And, of course, they look really cool '-)  Tell us more!  or if there is already info about it online?

              "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

              by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 03:18:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  A wind/solar combo can work in a lot of places. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, joelado

        Here in Texas, when it's not blazing hot due to the sun, we've often got wind blowing.

        In fact. in many places where you think there's no wind, there is.....30 feet up.

        There are a lot of places where I think a combo system would pretty much handle anything....solar, wind and a propane tank.

        Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

        by Sirenus on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:34:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Look to see if your power company has an (0+ / 0-)

      offset program. I can't put solar on my roof and I live in a valley so small wind is out of the question. What I did was bought into a green energy program with my utility. For every kilowatt I use the power company is required to purchase the same in green energy over and above any plans that they have made to purchase green energy or requirements from the government. In this way my Volt is powered by renewable energy. I have driven 7,000 miles on this type of energy so far. It makes me feel really good that my car is powered by the movement of wind and sunshine.

      Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this comment?

      by joelado on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 02:07:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Having driven that far with only using that amount (0+ / 0-)

      of gas really shows that you don't need the gas at all. I have about 16500 miles on my Leaf and have never come close to running out of juice. It may take a little extra planning on longer trips, but it's no big deal.

  •  After 19 years in my passive solar heated home (20+ / 0-)

    I know solar is the way to go.  My relatively inexpensive solar features have paid for themselves several times over.  

    Sounds like a great set up!

    "We don't need someone who can think. We need someone with enough digits to hold a pen." ~ Grover Norquist

    by Lefty Coaster on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:20:22 PM PDT

    •  Love passive solar! (7+ / 0-)

      I've never had a chance to build one for myself and am now a little old for tackling anythig like that.  But about 30 years ago I helped build a very cool passive solar house.  I was just a grunt - lots of heavy work to be done with all that concrete and rock, but it was a very exciting design.

      "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

      by Chico David RN on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:03:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If only we could mandate that... (0+ / 0-)

        ..."built-in" energy efficiency of some sort in all new construction after some date certain.

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:38:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Out here... (8+ / 0-)

    Out here in Brooklyn we are all Public Transportation (we don't own a car) and our energy bill goes to all wind power.

    Hope more people join in! Oil and coal are SO last century.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:25:04 PM PDT

  •  A neighbor down the street (14+ / 0-)

    is in the solar business-sells systems along the line of yours. They have a Leaf as well, and he comes out $2-300 ahead each year, and this is in TN, not CA.

    We installed a good geothermal heat pump, and it has worked so well, we would like to do what you have done. We have a 207 year old home, and we are old enough that we would like to have no real expenses as we age.  We may be able to swing it before too long.

    Now if we could convert solar into health care, we would be good to go.

  •  Welcome to the solar club! (6+ / 0-)

    In the first full month of operation, our new solar PV system produced nearly 1350 kWh. Unfortunately, here in Phoenix, it wasn't enough to supply our electrical needs. Next year though, we will build up credits during the winter and spring which will take us much of the way through the summer. We lucked out with a super prepaid lease deal that unfortunately is no longer available. The total investment should be paid off in less than six years then we'll have 14 years of generation before lease end.

    Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

    by Ian S on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:46:29 PM PDT

  •  Sounds like you have the Enphase (15+ / 0-)

    microinverters. I install solar also and use the Mage solar modules with the enphase inverters.

    Peacock8

    This part of one of my installs.

    "I want my fair share, and that's all of it" - Charles Koch

    by nancat357 on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:05:29 PM PDT

    •  This may seem like a silly question.... (6+ / 0-)

      but I know very little about this subject.

      How do these systems perform in areas that get severe hail storms?

      Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

      by Morgan Sandlin on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 03:37:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My solar company told us they test the panels (6+ / 0-)

        by firing golf balls at them full force. They should be ok for at least that size hail.

        A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. - Greek proverb

        by marleycat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 04:59:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I undestand the concern (5+ / 0-)

          Her in N. TX, we recently had storms (missed our house) with up to softball-size hail.  I have a co-worker with extra-hail-resistant roofing, and he had holes punched in it from some hailstones over 2 in. in diameter.  So, you'd hate to have the panels trashed one June in a thunderstorm.

          hooktool, you are thinking exactly as I am: we want to level out and minimize our retirement years' regular utility costs.  Proper construction of a cozy house, careful usage, and some solar (and mebbe wind, too) could reduce average costs to very low, over a year's time.  Makes being retired give one much more precictable (and lower) fixed costs for housing/living.  Add in an electric car for local trips, at least, and much of daily life is covered, or at least very predictable.

          Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

          by tom 47 on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:28:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Another silly question: will homeowners insurance (0+ / 0-)

        cover them?

        •  Yes! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FG

          But good to let them know you have them and get that on record.

          "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

          by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:12:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You're right. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Floja Roja, Ozzie, nancat357, joelado

      I like the microinverter idea.  Easy to add panels, easy to monitor performance of each individual panel.

      "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

      by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 06:30:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congratulations! (5+ / 0-)

    First, on surviving a Chico summer without air conditioning. My goddaughter's mother lives there, and she never turns on the air conditioning either. People used to live that way. I acclimate when I am there.

    Second, on your solar and your Leaf! What a beautiful car.

    By the way, Chico has great medical care! I had, uh, a little accident while I was there. Treated very, very well! Thank you!

    •  We survive the summer in Fresno with very little (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ParkRanger, Chico David RN

      air conditioning.  The house is not shaded, but it's two stories, so the downstairs doesn't get above 84 when it's 107 outside (like yesterday).  That's OK in a dry climate, and little fans make it comfortable night and day.  The AC is for guests.

      The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

      by ybruti on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 06:20:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Our shade helps a lot (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ybruti

        As does a second story we don't really need or use.  Our house was a single story typical 60s tract house originally.  A previous owner put two bedrooms over the garage.  We don't need them, bought it because it was a very good deal at the time.  So those rooms get minimal use and can be allowed to get hot.  And a whole house fan helps hugely!  I watch an inside/outside thermometer and as soon as the outside is cooler, the fan goes on and stays on until the early morning.  even on the hottest days I can get the temp down pretty low in the morning and then close the place up to hold that.

        "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

        by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 06:34:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Whole house fans are great. (0+ / 0-)

          We use ours for about an hour in the late evening when the outside gets cooler, and again in the very early morning before closing all the windows and pulling shades and curtains. The early morning draft will lower house temps 2 - 4 degrees in an hour. I hadn't thought of using the house fan all night because of the electricity usage. I'll give it a try.

          The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

          by ybruti on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:17:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've not been able to quantify it.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ybruti

            but I get the impression that the draw of the fan - power wise that is - is pretty modest.  I've also become an artist at making the best use of it.  My theory is that you want to draw as much as possible of the air the fan pulls through from the farthest point of the house - the more house that cool air passes through, the more it cools things down.  So I open the windows at the far end of the house wide and the ones closer in only a crack to get a little air through those areas.  And it happens that our bedroom is at the farthest point from the fan so we get the maximal benefit from cooling while we sleep.  Not sure this is valid, but my experience is that it seems to work better.

            "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

            by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 03:09:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I had my 17 panels installed in April (8+ / 0-)

    and I am STILL not connected to the grid!  Our local utility, PG&E, is completely backlogged by all the solar installs.  PV costs have gone down so much that a lot of people are putting in solar panels.

    I did get the message from PG&E that they're going to come by within the week to swap out the meter (you need a mechanical meter to do net metering for some reason), so I'll be online soon.

    I'm on the regular E-1 plan, but will go to time-of-use as soon as the panels go live.  Then I can sell them power when it's expensive and charge my Leaf when it's cheap (overnight).

    In capitalist America, bank robs you!

    by madhaus on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:50:30 PM PDT

    •  depends on your situation. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joelado

      I am looking at buying an 8.5Kw system that'll cost me about $20,000, after the 30% federal income tax credit. It is supposed to generate an average of 1000Kh/mo, which will save about $140 on my monthly electrical bills. If I were to loan out the same $20,000 at $140/mo payback over 20 years, I'd get back the principal on my loan, plus over 6% interest. This is not a bad investment at all, especially since electrical rates are likely to go further up, yielding savings. On the other hand, if I've got to borrow the $20,000, even at a low interest rate of say 4%, I'd have to pay my $140 energy savings over to a bank for 15 years before I could see any saving.

      At least in my Texas market, solar easily makes sense if you've got the cash.

      "Force is as pitiless to the man who possesses it, or thinks he does, as it is to its victims; the second it crushes, the first it intoxicates.” Simone Weil

      by chuco35 on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:58:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was a complete no brainer for us (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joelado

        We're paying Tier 3 rates.  Putting the 3.6KW system in brings us down to Tier 1.  That cuts our marginal kWh cost by 2/3!  Tier 3 is 34 cents, Tier 1 is 11 cents.

        The payback time was five years for a prepaid 20 year lease, the whole system cost $11,000.  By prepaying the lease, we also moved to the head of the queue for installation.

        And... we are now LIVE!  PG&E just installed our new meter not 20 minutes ago and we are now net metering.  Power is flowing from our panels back to PG&E as we speak, and our rate has been changed to E-6 (time of use).  

        In capitalist America, bank robs you!

        by madhaus on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:51:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  PG&E is incompetent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joelado

    to the extent that they installed a SmartMeter usage metering device at my rental house. Three months ago. And just last week, I got a friendly how are ya, we'll charge ya' another $10 a month and another $75 one time fee, if you don't want the friendly Mr. Rodgers neighbourhood Smart-meter to be installed.

    It's already installed you stupid bastids. W T F

    PG&E rot in hell.

    •  I can tell you how discombulated they are (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joelado, BusyinCA

      Completely backed up on net metering, the wait went from 3 weeks to two months given the explosion in solar installs.

      I also had a less than friendly talk with some nasty bureaucrat in their solar division who was gleeful about the fact that the bill was in my husband's name but the solar contract was in my name so they weren't going to honor it.  Fortunately the solar company had someone they worked with to get that fixed, but this nasty woman insisted that two people could not be on one account.  (The problem, it turned out, was that I was on the account... but nowhere did it say how I was related to my husband!  Once they put down we were married, problem solved.)

      In capitalist America, bank robs you!

      by madhaus on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:54:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I could also write a dairy about how they stopped (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        madhaus

        sending me a bill for two years and refused to bill me. You can't pay them unless you have an account, see, and they lost my account and laughed at me when I tried to start one.

        I had the last laugh on that one, I'll have to write it up someday.

  •  Awesome. (8+ / 0-)

    It's great to see that you are using the unexpected betterment of your finances to better the environment.  If everyone who had the financial possibility of doing this actually did this, then CO2 emissions in the U.S. would drop dramatically.

    May your solar pv system last 40+ years that are possible with new systems.... you definitely deserve it.

    Driving a car on self-generated solar power must be an awesome feeling.

    Tipped and recced.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 01:25:20 AM PDT

  •  An inspiring diary. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, ParkRanger, Crider, joelado

    Please keep us posted as you progress.

    Also, my compliments on recognizing that home ownership is worth living on a tight budget for awhile. There is, to me, no better feeling than when that last payment goes in and its yours.

    Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

    by Morgan Sandlin on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 03:36:25 AM PDT

  •  i recently inherited some money (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ParkRanger, Crider

    and my main thought is to be an electric car with it.  Living in GA makes that a little more difficult as a) there are no electric plug-in fill-up stations and b) almost all the energy is from coal with next to zero effort put towards solar etc.
    Until that time, i don't have a car, so i'm hoping that GA gets its act together soon, or i may just have to move.  I'm only here cuz of grad school, and Athens is alright, but GA as a whole suxx.

    •  You might want to check out the Volt then (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ParkRanger, PZinOR, madhaus, joelado

      You won't have to plug in on every trip if you don't have an outlet readily available.

      Also, in Georgia, according to the EIA, coal is only producing about 53 percent of your electricity.  Nuclear and natural gas account for another 41 percent.  Renewables are a little under 5 percent.

      So it's not nearly as bad as you think.  Plus, driving 30 miles on 100 percent coal powered electricity actually produces less pollution than driving 30 miles in a standard ICE powered car.  And you are obviously no where near 100 percent coal.

      Love my Volt.  Check it out if you get a chance.

      We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

      by theotherside on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 05:51:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for the tip (0+ / 0-)

        i hadn't thought much of the Volt b/c of the gas component.
        I was a bit rash when i said energy came just from coal, to me Nat. gas is not any better.  Nukes, despite not producing GHG, are also not much better ecologically.
        You are absolutely correct to point out that even with large coal inputs, driving electric is better than an ICE car, on a per mile GHG emissions basis.

    •  It may not matter (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      madhaus, joelado

      Unless you drive more than about 70-80 miles a day, you may not require much, if any, public charging infrastructure for a Leaf. I do almost all my charging at home. The few times I've really required charging elsewhere I was able to plug in to regular 110 outlets in friend/family garages. There's also a company than will upgrade the 110 charging adapter (EVSE) that comes with the Leaf, so that you can use it with 110 or 220. Then it's a simple matter of constructing adapter plugs for it for whatever 220 outlet is available to you. Garage dryer plug? Campsite RV plug?

      EVSE Upgrade

      •  This upgrade costs about $300 (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lusty, joelado, brasilaaron

        and it is SO worth it.  It also will work with the Volt!  (I don't think they upgrade Volt EVSEs but you can buy a Leaf EVSE that will work with the Volt.)

        We have adapters for both old and new dryer plugs as well as the standard RV campsite plug.  And if you don't want to make your own adapters, there's a guy who will make them for you.

        EVSE Adapters

        Want to see something inspiring?  This guy drove his Leaf all the way from Tijuana, Baja California to Vancouver, BC.  Since he's also a pilot, he's used to plotting out his trips meticulously, and had plenty of options for where to charge.  And yes he used campsites.  Did the whole trip in 8 days!

        Baja to BC in a Leaf  (Wired Autopia)

        In capitalist America, bank robs you!

        by madhaus on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 11:04:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That's awesome... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ParkRanger, joelado

    definitely keep us informed as time goes by.

    If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. Albert Einstein

    by kharma on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 05:09:03 AM PDT

  •  cost (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    I don't mean to pry into your personal affairs, but I am very curious as to what the total installed cost was. You can get a lot of ballpark estimates online, and I suppose if I wanted to listen to a sales pitch I could ask an installer for an estimate, but this is an opportunity to ask an actual homeowner how much he actually paid for a 4KW system, parts, labor & all. If you don't mind sharing that information I would love to have it.

    Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed. Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

    by Reston history guy on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 05:54:47 AM PDT

    •  No problem. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, joelado

      But ours was a bit unusual too.  It cost about 19,000, but that included building a fair bit of framework to hold panels that could not lay flat on the roof due to the issues with siting - didn't have an unshaded patch of roof that pointed in the right direction.  

      "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

      by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 06:37:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  answer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joelado

        Thanks! I am mulling over the possibility of using some distributions from an IRA to go solar, and real-life data like yours is invaluable.

        Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed. Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

        by Reston history guy on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 06:53:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm hoping to go solar in my new house (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joelado

        We are down sizing, (kind a) we live in the city and want to buy a two or three flat (two story or three story rental) and I want to go solar.  Was your out of pocket 19K or was that the total price and the government incentives brought the price down.  I'm hoping to keep the cost to around 10K.

  •  Best of luck to you and your wife (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ParkRanger, joelado

    Thank you.

  •  Good on you and your family, Chico David, . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ParkRanger, sewaneepat, joelado

    . . . I've explored the solar panels for my place but here in N.E. Illinois it's not real cost effective. I may have to take your approach and ignore the economic benefits and concentrate on the emotional and karmic benefits.

    Here's to lightening you carbon footprint!

    To these unfortunate citizens aid must be extended by Government--not as a matter of charity but as a matter of social duty. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by rudyblues on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 06:16:48 AM PDT

  •  cost (0+ / 0-)

    i was wondering about the costs too.  i've been looking into the westinghouse panels with inverters.  looks like with the my utility rebates and federal tax credit 1 kw would only cost $500 (installing myself).  however, electricity is so cheap here in san antonio, it would take quiet a while to make that money back.  what sort of rebates and tax credits did you get?

    •  This may seem silly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, Odysseus, joelado

      But I don't even know - all of that is still in process and the solar installer is doing the paperwork on it.  As I said, we knew we were going to do this just because it felt right, so we didn't really pay that close attention to all the financial details.  It's all around here somewhere in the nice packet the dealer gave us.  There are some rebates and such, but can't say how much.  I know on the car - state rebate and federal tax credit will total about $10,000.  But I'll wait and see on the panels.

      "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

      by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:00:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Austin is really green (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, joelado

      and it's a good bet that your power is coming from wind so pollution wise it might not make much of a difference.  Do you have a solar powered hotwater heater?  As you probably know hot water heaters suck power and solar hotwater heaters are not that expensive and work great.

  •  Congratulations, David! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti

    Sitting here in cold, grey Berkeley I envy you your sun, but I admit it would be a challenge to live in Chico without AC, which we totally do not need here. Regarding this:

    In many ways, I will freely admit, this was an emotional choice for us.  I'm dubious that the whole thing pencils out well in a pure dollars and cents way.
    It sounds more like an ethical or moral choice to me. It bugs the heck out of me when people advocate some environmentally sound choice b/c it saves you money. It doesn't matter if it saves you money. You do it b/c it's right. That's not always possible - not everyone has the privilege of making the choice that's right if it is significantly more pricey - but using price instead of morality as an argument has always seemed kind of venal to me. Thank you for doing what's right!

    I didn't know CA had come around to allowing you to sell electricity back to the grid. That's great - finally! I thought the max they would do is keep a record of what you returned to the grid so you could get back in the winter what you contribute in the summer, without paying for it. Thanks for the info.

    "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

    by pixxer on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 06:55:37 AM PDT

    •  A friend installed solar a few years ago, (0+ / 0-)

      not to save on electric bills in the Central Valley, but because "it was the right thing to do."

      The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

      by ybruti on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 05:57:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Our solar panels are 18 years old now, (6+ / 0-)

    and still working great, though we have had to replace the batteries about every 7 years. We replaced the first bank after about three years, sold them to a friend who used them for another 5 or so years, so I guess we could have kept them longer. We will replace them again this fall.

    We were off grid for 13  years, but finally hooked up to the grid about 5 years ago and I am glad we did, though it was somewhat traumatic at the time - seemed like going backwards. I'm getting older and the temperatures are getting much higher and we finally decided we had to have an AC.

    So now we are a hybrid house. Most things are still hooked up to the solar system, but we put in a dishwasher that is hooked to the grid, added a few sockets that are only on the grid to use when we don't want to change the entire system to the grid, but we can use for vacuuming and the coffee pot or other occasional high energy use. So now I can vacuum when it is raining instead of waiting for a sunny day. We also added grid sockets for the fridge and freezer (now we have a freezer - we used to "borrow" a shelf in our neighbor's freezer for the things I freeze from the garden.)

    Our electric co-op would not let us keep our battery bank and sell back, so we opted to keep the battery and just stay mostly like we were. We can throw a switch and put the whole house on the grid. So now when there is no sun for several days we can run the house on the grid and let the batteries charge instead of using a generator for those days.

    We average about 3 kW a day from the solar panels. We do use more electricity now that we are hooked up to the grid, about 300 kW a month. But I think some of that extra is off set from not having to run to the grocery store or my neighbor's house for the freezer (she lives over a mile away so had to drive there to pick up the food from the freezer.) Now we are able to freeze a lot more of our vegetables, buy meat and freeze it instead of having to go to the store 2 or 3 times a week to buy it fresh. We live over 12 miles from the nearest store so the gasoline it took for a 25 mile round trip to the store was not inconsequential even in our 1996 Saturn that gets 40 miles a gallon.

    Anyway, welcome to solar. You will love it.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 06:58:42 AM PDT

    •  You've been REALLY independent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG

      As you say, being hooked up to the grid gives greater flexibility and avoids the cost of batteries.  And, since we are right in town it was the obvious way to go.  On a river trip a few years back I visited a remote ranch that had solar, wind, and a VERY small hydro system that gave them pretty good energy independence.  Something was always producing.  But the average American wants convenience above all and systems that require planning your energy use around when the system is producing aren't for the average person.

      "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

      by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:08:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We live "out past country" as I like to say. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leema, orlbucfan, joelado

        When we moved here, we were over 1 1/2 miles from the power lines, so solar was almost as cost effective as hooking to the grid. But over time, people moved on our road and the power lines came closer, so when we did hook up, it was only a little over 1/2 mile away.

        We used to have a small hydro system connected to a wet weather (i.e. winter) creek. Since hydro runs 24 hours a day (when it runs), we had way more energy that we could use. We used to have to run an incandescent light in a closet all night during the winter to burn off the extra electricity.

        Three things happened that made us give up our hydro. The generator part  was in a little steep ravine and my husband had to go down there frequently (sometimes several times a day when it was running) to adjust the nozzles, etc. Then one day I happened to look at the battery charge indicator and noticed it was at 22 and we didn't have anything running that would be that big a drag on the system. Turned out there was a short in the hydro so we had to unhook it. The decision to leave it unhooked was based on 2 things: first, we were about ready to hook to the grid and TVA will not buy back hydro power (and I don't think they would have let us do our dual system with the hydro hooked up - it was difficult enough to jump through their hoops to keep our batteries) and secondly, the incident scared the hell out of me. What if I hadn't noticed the charge indicator or what if it had happened when we were not here? The danger of fire scared me enough to want to leave it unhooked and the difficulty of getting to the generator was enough for my husband to decide he was too old to go down and up the path to it as frequently as it took. So we sold the hydro and the god knows how many feet of wire to another friend. So it is still making electricity at his place.

        We looked at wind power but the prevailing winds are not strong enough here for that.

        Yes, it does require a lot of planning your energy use if you are off grid. I could not wash clothes and vacuum on the same day, for example. If it was summer time so we were dependent on solar and it was raining for a couple of days, we couldn't watch TV or do much except read with one light on. But it was an adventure also and I am so glad we did it. But especially this hot summer, I am so glad we also have the grid.

        You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

        by sewaneepat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:39:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  fascinating! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sewaneepat

          Thanks for story and details.  Back in the 70s, along with a lot of other folks, we went through a "back to the land" period.  We actually ran a commercial Grade B goat dairy for several years.
          But we bought 13 acres of open land, moved on in a tent, build an outhouse the first day, then went from there.  So quite a while we had no water - hauled it from a half mile away.  Then we had no electricity in the house for longer.  Kerosene lamps and a battery radio.  One by one, we gradually got modern amenities back.  it was a good lesson in that I learned that I could get along fine without each of those things, and then I learned that it was really nice to get them back.
          I eventually also decided that I much prefer to live in a town.  I like being able to walk to the store, bike to a good bakery for a pastry in the morning, meet a friend for coffee casually, etc.  We often say the best thing about doing all that at a young age is that we know for sure we don't want to do anything similar when we retire!

          "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

          by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:21:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What a fun experience - to look back on. (0+ / 0-)

            When we were building the house, we camped here for about 6 months, then "camped" in the house for another 3 as it was being completed. Good move building the outhouse on the first day. We first used the log tied between 2 trees, but I immediately got chiggers. So I had my husband build a "toilet" - a plywood box with a real toilet seat and black plastic "walls" around it. That made Pat a happy camper.

            Like you, I learned to appreciate each and every amenity that we take for granted as a new one was added. The best was getting the fridge in after using a cooler for about 9 months. Even though it was a Sunfrost which is like a big cooler in that you had to take everything out to find anything, it was a huge improvement. My best day was 5 years ago after we hooked to the grid and I could get rid of the Sunfrost and get a real refrigerator with shelves that moved and drawers, etc.

            I learned that I never want to live in a town again. (We moved here from Midtown Memphis and I had never lived anywhere but a city or town). I still love it that my nearest neighbor's house is almost a mile away. Inconvenient when you need something from the store or want to visit people, but it has sure made us learn to plan our trips.

            You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

            by sewaneepat on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 03:52:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, I guess getting the running water (0+ / 0-)

              was even more exciting than the fridge.

              You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

              by sewaneepat on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 03:53:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  When friends would visit for the first time.. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sewaneepat

                and discover we lived with an outhouse they would be sort of amazed that we were so primitive.  I learned to get this puzzled and quizzical look and say: You..mean...you..poop in your HOUSE?
                Something to think about.

                "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

                by Chico David RN on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:00:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  This sounds like our plan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, joelado

    We put the panels up a few years ago.  Now we are looking at electric cars (still leaning toward a leaf, but a few new options are entering the market).

    Treasure each day like it will be your last, but treat the earth like you will live forever. -me

    by protothad on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:20:30 AM PDT

  •  Great! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, joelado

    What a living memorial to your wife's mother!

  •  Could you post photos? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, joelado

    I inquired about solar panels once and I was told that we have too many tall trees around the house.  I'd be curious to see how it works for you.

    The funny thing is that the guy told me that over the phone.  He was looking at a picture of my house on google earth and he could see the trees.  This is a strange new world.

    Can't we just drown Grover Norquist in a bathtub?

    by Rezkalla on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:08:10 AM PDT

  •  The EV will add a fair amount of kilowatt hours (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joelado

    If the system is sized to match your current usage on an annual basis, then the vehicle will cause you to still be relying an some grid power on an annual basis. Depends on how many miles the vehicle is driven of course....

    Have fun monitoring this. You will learn a lot!

    "So, am I right or what?"

    by itzik shpitzik on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:34:16 AM PDT

    •  We calculated that in. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joelado

      There are a lot of assumptions and guestimates involved, but we looked at how many miles my wife has driven over the last ten years, added about 30% to that for the fact that the Nissan will be our primary around town car, rather than a secondary one, then figured how many kilowatt hours that would take and added it to prior electric usage.
      And if the production is inadequate we do have a cheap way of increasing it by doing a little judicious pruning on some of the trees around the house.

      "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

      by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:48:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't forget time of use savings (0+ / 0-)

      Sell solar energy to the utility when kilowatts are expensive.

      Charge the vehicle using the utility's kilowatts when they're cheap (overnight).

      A Nissan Leaf has a 3.3 kW charger, and a 24 kW battery pack.  So while that may suggest 7.2 kWhs of charging every time, in reality you don't run the leaf down to completely empty.  My typical charging session is when the Leaf is anywhere from half to two thirds drawn down, and my typical charging session (which I don't do every day) is in four hours or less (this is with 30A 240V home charging equipment).

      According to Consumer Reports, a 70 mile Leaf trip would cost $2.44 in electricity at 11 cents a kWh.  So at 34 cents, absolute worst case, that trip would cost $7.32.  Obviously with solar, the cost is going to be a lot less.

      In capitalist America, bank robs you!

      by madhaus on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 11:17:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yah, that's part of the plan (0+ / 0-)

        The time when we generate the most is during peak use hours, and we'll charge the Leaf at night, during the cheapest times.  Hopeful it all works out about right.

        "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

        by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:28:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Awesome! (0+ / 0-)

    Being in the Sacto burbs south of you we looked into rooftop panels but it just didn't make sense for us based on cost/benefit. Would love to be off the grid someday!!!

    We are a one car (Prius) family though since I can take the neighborhood shuttle bus to work.

    May 9, 2012 - Evolution Day

    by cooper888 on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:39:26 AM PDT

  •  great post / great decision / solar panels (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madhaus

    i am amused that a lot of folks will spend $20k in furnishing a new house and not spend $20k in installing solar panels that will reduce electricity cost ... consider it a capital expense and include in overall house cost

    when i buy a house here, sonal panels is def. going to be there ...

  •  One bonus for solar-charging the car: No blackouts (0+ / 0-)

    If weather takes out the local power, you're still able to charge up and drive. There was a piece I read yesterday about geomagnetic solar storms and their potential to knock out our power systems -- so, that's a potential threat with no real solution. Plus, there's the impact of more mundane Earth-bound storms.

    When the derecho hit the DC-Baltimore metro area, it made a real hash of things. Traffic was awful, because the traffic lights were out. People were stuck in gridlocked traffic and running out of gas because it was hard to find a gas station with power to pump.  

    Some might think that blackouts are more a threat to electric-powered cars, but you've seized on a way to make electric cars more impervious to power outages than even gasoline-powered cars.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:54:52 AM PDT

    •  Not the case here (0+ / 0-)

      Our net-metering solar is hooked up to the grid and we don't have anything to run independent of it in a blackout.  We'd have to set something up ourselves to bypass it.

      If you're not selling energy back to the grid at peak times, then you need a way of storing the power.  I've seen people set up a huge storage shed full of lead acid batteries for just that purpose.

      In capitalist America, bank robs you!

      by madhaus on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 11:19:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah! That's news to me. (0+ / 0-)

        I hadn't asked anyone, but sort of assumed that the power from our own array went first to our use and the excess went to the grid.  So I figured an outage would at least allow us to have power during the hours we were generating - but not so?

        "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

        by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 12:30:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Depends on the setup, but with our (0+ / 0-)

          utility and the particular solar company we use, the whole things comes to a halt during a blackout.

          I was certainly using electricity when they threw the switch today, but I could see from the way the meter was running that I was generating an excess of power, and it was going back to the grid.  So yeah, we get the power first, but the grid still has to be on.  I think the inverter is probably running off PG&E's power, not mine, and that's why the whole systems goes offline in a blackout.

          In capitalist America, bank robs you!

          by madhaus on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:53:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll have to talk to installers about that (0+ / 0-)

            Not that blackouts are a huge problem where I live.  Haven't had one lasting more than a few hours in a long time.  My systemt runs the little Enphase microinverters - one inverter attached directly to each panel - so I wonder if that makes a difference.

            "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

            by Chico David RN on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:02:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  my system in italy (0+ / 0-)

            is grid-tied and it switches off automatically, otherwise it'd be deadly dangerous for those fixing a problem on the line.

            i know, when you most need it... but a battery backup is still prohibitively dear.

            why? just kos..... *just cause*

            by melo on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 07:05:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Can u provide figures 4 the solar? Cost, expected. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti

    ...annual power output, ROI time?

    We almost placed solar on our roof this summer, but considering that this is Seattle (which already gets its electricity 90% renewable, and whose planners told me it'll take years before solar factors into their power trading calculations) - we passed. Instead we'll buy a hybrid, and I started lobbying the nonprofit "Solarize Seattle" to start a project helping fund solar in Eastern Washington (where solar power is 60% larger) with Western Washington money. The Washington state incentives are very generous right now, so the ROI in Eastern Washington could be 4-5 years. We'll see how this goes.

    Anyway, I am very interested to know what it's like in Sacramento valley.

    Thanks for sharing and congratulations!

  •  You might appreciate this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, ybruti
    Solar panels help business owner maintain
    July 05, 2012 - The 24 solar panels that generate electricity for Angel Autry’s consignment shop and apartment were a lot like Legos, she says.

    That is, if Legos could save 75 percent on the monthly power bill.

    Autry, who lives above Angel’s Upscale Consignment in Bessemer City, heats and cools about 8,000 square feet. Her first power bill after she began using the solar panels this winter was $102.

    There was some up-front expense for the panels. Autry had to buy the pieces, although she and a friend, Otis Whitehurst, formed a small company, A O Alternative Energy, so they could get a wholesale price.

    Autry’s rooftop project also required a structural engineer to draw a plan and a contractor to shore up the 74-year-old building at 101 E. Virginia Ave.

    The business owner also had to find an electrician willing to take on the project.

    All told, the solar panels represent an investment of around $25,000. Autry borrowed the money from her 401(k), a loan she says she’s happily repaying herself with interest.

    Autry and Whitehurst worked together to complete most of the labor.

    “This is do-able,” Autry says. “They all just hooked right together. If I can do it, anybody can do it.” read more>>>

    Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

    by jimstaro on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:14:25 AM PDT

    •  The pioneers (0+ / 0-)

      In Solar and other forms of alternative clean energy and more are coming back, even though some stayed with it, after some forty years of buying the special interests cons about no need to grow another industry, as we started shipping our trades of others off to far lands who are now not only building stronger economies but moving our once try at building that industry and it's off shoots and advancing rapidly over what we should have started redoing back in '08 and '09 along with upgrading our many infrastructure needs!!

      Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

      by jimstaro on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:18:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ...wow... (0+ / 0-)

    Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. The rest of us must suffer the consequences.

    by paradise50 on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:22:57 AM PDT

  •  Great observations and tips in all the comments (0+ / 0-)

    I too have been evaluating the solar panel/EV options.  My house has full southern exposure in the LA area and the roof has a large section facing south so it is optimal for a solar panel array.  It needs to be reroofed within the next 5 years so that has been a consideration as I want to have a new roof under the panels.

    Our electricity use is relatively low (averages under 400kW/$50 per month) so panel breakeven from usage is lengthy but the panels add value to the resale of a house so there is that.  Also, if a plug-in EV is acquired, the panels will essentially fuel that car at a value equivalent to what I pay in gas to drive my current car.

  •  Solar and Wind! (0+ / 0-)

    Our next car will be either the Leaf or the Mitsubishi iMeiv.  Screw Volt! (Watched "Who Killed the Electric Car" one too many times LOL)

    This will be our next big "adventure".  My husband bikes and I drive a little Honda.  Which we'll keep for long trips or camping.  

    Our last "adventure" was killing cable.  It's silly but we now have a large  tv and stream.  Save so much more money.  (I got the floor model of a Sony Bravia 52" - they aren't making that size anymore or something) I got it for wicked cheap.  All I had to do was use Goo Begone to get the old sticker stuffies off it.  Plus it uses less energy than our old big box tv.  

    And I "built" a herb garden in my front yard.  Pesticide free, baby.

    Love your inspiring diary!

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

    by Damnit Janet on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:31:53 AM PDT

  •  I hear Nissan may build electric commercial vans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Nose

    "We don't need someone who can think. We need someone with enough digits to hold a pen." ~ Grover Norquist

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:42:16 AM PDT

  •  What a great use of Grandma's legacy (5+ / 0-)

    I'm thinking of rewriting my will now... "Must be used to lower your carbon footprint, you kids!"

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:57:32 AM PDT

  •  Most excellent! I too have a Leaf. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chico David RN

    I have now about 16500 miles on it and save about $200 a month over driving my old vehicle. It's a great car and the quick charge network is just starting to come online. You charge in 1/2 hour. So range isn't really an issue.

    •  I'm hopeful for that network (0+ / 0-)

      I'm about 175 miles from places I go in the San Francisco Bay Area.  So, with current battery capacity, I need a minimum of one charge on the way there - more likely two.  I'd happily take that 30 minutes to get it.  But they aren't yet available enough in the area where I live or on the routes I take.  I'm hopeful for that to get better and I'm hopeful - longer term - for battery capacity to improve and cost come down.  The historical lesson is that, by the time I need replacement batteries, I will get better ones for less money than would be the case now.  Or at least I devoutly hope so.  Even if the Leaf never becomes a travel car, its role as an around town car will justify it for us.

      "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

      by Chico David RN on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 03:04:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Be the charge (0+ / 0-)

        if you wish to see the quick charge network develop more quickly, perhaps see if you can get a few installed where you need them.

        The Orca Mobile from Andromeda looks promising, relatively cheap and easy to use. I've done most of my charging from AeroVironment units in Washington which has been okay but they are large, fixed installations and expensive to purchase and operate.

        ECOtality hasn't made their DCQC systems publicly available yet in Seattle and I wouldn't recommend them anyway on the basis of unreliability.

  •  I am envious and jealous! Congratulations! (0+ / 0-)

    Dudehisattva...

    "Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"

    by Dood Abides on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 04:20:37 PM PDT

  •  i am so envious (in a good way, of course!). (0+ / 0-)

    i have a dream to be totally energy independent someday -- & have a robot maid (like rosie on the jetsons).

    :)

Grassroots Mom, Radiowalla, Odysseus, Brainwrap, jam, melo, glitterscale, mimi, Wintermute, chuco35, tacet, eeff, Mnemosyne, ssgbryan, EvieCZ, Zinman, Ian S, Agathena, mole333, ovals49, bincbom, jennifree2bme, ornerydad, fumie, splashy, Cedwyn, jted, Wrench44, Eddie C, Texknight, kharma, VexingEyes, wordene, Virago, Lawrence, duncanidaho, Damnit Janet, HeyMikey, mnguitar, papercut, BlogDog, JayBat, ybruti, lonespark, JayDean, eve, sb, ExStr8, indycam, OpherGopher, Rezkalla, FutureNow, marathon, jimstaro, GreyHawk, ladybug53, Little Lulu, Ozzie, spunhard, Blu Gal in DE, Floja Roja, Jlukes, daddybunny, peacestpete, CentralMass, lgmcp, third Party please, Russgirl, Dvalkure, KenBee, luckydog, Lefty Coaster, A Siegel, gpoutney, Rosaura, antboy, bumbi, bstotts, Noor B, pgm 01, Habitat Vic, leema, protothad, Positronicus, Wino, Ticonderoga, davehouck, bnasley, jedennis, letsgetreal, SeaTurtle, Librarianmom, BasharH, wblynch, Assaf, Marko the Werelynx, bill warnick, lineatus, monkeybrainpolitics, Calamity Jean, Hanging Up My Tusks, brasilaaron, petulans, sewaneepat, DixieDishrag, BYw, Robobagpiper, Mayfly, CatJab, JBL55, madtowntj, maggiejean, Bule Betawi, Nebraskablue, bfitzinAR, sfarkash, augustin, nancat357, Dragon5616, jpmassar, citisven, Larsstephens, smileycreek, politik, gulfgal98, pixxer, paradise50, sharonsz, itswhatson, orlbucfan, ericlewis0, petesmom, science nerd, soaglow, Atlanta Biker, ozsea1, henrythefifth, hooktool, freesia, anyname, Reston history guy, cooper888, itzik shpitzik, California06, Haf2Read, marleycat, Lusty, limeyswife, enhydra lutris, CorinaR, Caddis Fly, Andrew F Cockburn, SoCalSal, DRo, Regina in a Sears Kit House, DEMonrat ankle biter, ParkRanger, EdinGA, Flying Goat, PennsylvaniaProgressive, IndieGuy, im a plugger, passionateprotagonist, S F Hippie, mclaugfj, Horace Boothroyd III, ZimInSeattle, jan4insight, DrCoyle65, BusyinCA, Margd, cassandracarolina, Glen The Plumber, mumtaznepal, AZ Sphinx Moth, John Kelly, tripodisblack, Stills, Steve Canella, tqycolumbia, Herodotus Prime, ZenManProject, weck, birdfeeder, knitwithpurpose, sweetsister, InfiniteThoughts, peterfallow

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site