Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
from the May 10, 2009 Newsletter, issued from the Siskiyou Mountains west of Grants Pass, Oregon:
My friends' farm is off-grid, except for their phone connection. You can see their hot-water installation with garden and greenhouse beyond (shower hidden) below.
Combining output from solar cells and a hydroelectric setup, they produce enough electricity to serve three or four households. You can see me standing next to their solar panel array at the top of this page.
The energy control center in a nearby shed is shown below:
In that picture the batteries are at the lower left. The white box with a green band across it at the top left is the inverter, which converts DC current to AC used by typical household appliances and computers. The next two boxes in the picture's center are voltage regulators, and the large thing at the top, right is part of the voltage regulation set-up, which converts electricity to heat when the voltage rises too high. At the bottom right is a super-efficient freezer.
If you see the sense in all this, Google "off grid" or go to the Off-Grid Website at http://www.off-grid.net/.