O’Reilly author Brian McConnell hasn’t gone off the grid, but he’s reduced his dependance on it and in so doing, lessened his footprint on the environment.
Electric generates 70% of his home electric consumption. Solar hot water heats his hot tub, eliminating much of the remaining electric consumption. Forced hot air solar heats his house, eliminating half of his natural gas consumption. Total cost of system was $22,000, rolled into his mortgage. He claims it added $32,000 to the value of his house already, and is saving him $140/month in utility bills. Because it’s in his mortgage, and is tax deductible, his cost over 30 years is only $90/month — earning him an additional $18,000 over the 30 year life of the system.
Interesting point: his solar system doesn’t include batteries. At night, he uses power from the electric company, but during the day, he’s sending excess solar power back to the power company, running his electric meter backwards. The system doesn’t need batteries, which are expensive, inefficient, and require regular maintenance and replacement.