Archive | alternative power RSS feed for this section

The weather outside is frightening…

1 Feb


Crazy PowerThe land where even our back-ups have back-ups.

RR Avatar

Waiter, I’ll have #53 – (2) PVs and a side of Beef and Broccoli :)

8 Sep

Many readers know that beyond building ISBU based oil/gas housing and commercial structures, we build  a lot of ISBU homes and residential structures (cabins, beach houses, tiny houses, etc…). In many of these cases, the projects are set rurally and we take the ISBU residence off-grid.

We LOVE this. It’s WHY we do what we do, truth be told. Taking your ISBU home off-grid gives you full control of your own destiny. Doing this insures that NO ONE can just shut off your power or your ability to maintain “safe, sustainable shelter” for your family. You’re  literally building your own road to a successful family future.

There’s a certain satisfaction in knowing that YOU are making your own way, providing your own power and controlling your own destiny.

PV KitYou can buy “turnkey” Photovoltaic Panel kits in many sizes, to suit your requirements.

But there are those skeptics among us that believe I’m teaching you to rely on a system that is both impractical and that cannot come to fruition on a house-to-house basis.  Lately I keep hearing that Photovoltaic Power Production in the US is doomed because China took over the Photovoltaic Panel Production empire.

“Ronin, you’re telling families to invest in a process that they cannot fulfill. They aren’t going to be able to get the components required to do this – and even if they could, they can’t install them themselves or reach a reasonable ROI (Return on Investment). It’s folly.”

The common thread seems to be that PV panel availability will lessen here in the States as more and more nations start using PVs to power rural and even urban areas in response to rising power prices globally.

Chinese output isn’t just destined for Wal-Mart, folks. China sells to anyone with hard currency.

There are those who are championing a drive to “force” the US to start producing it’s own PV’s to protect us against “pending panel shortages”.

“China’s undervalued yuan and naked protectionism stole the solar panel industry from U.S. manufacturers.”

Um… China didn’t STEAL anything. The EPA gave that part of America’s Industry away.

Solar panels cannot be competitively manufactured in the US because:

The EPA placed (extremely stringent) guidelines and environmental regulations regarding disposal of waste byproducts of the semiconductor process that make American manufacture of  photovoltaic panels almost economically impossible. While it’s important to have “high standards of safety”, some of the EPA’s requirements are impossibly high by most experts “examination”. There is a “middle ground”, it’s just not being explored due to influences and pressures from those profiting the most.

How did China cope with this? China has “cancer villages”. Lower your manufacturing standards enough and your workforce (and everyone  around them) suffers.

And… you have to HAVE power to MAKE power. The semiconductor manufacturing process requires huge amounts of electricity. The cost of electricity in the US has doubled as a result of the EPA forcing the shutdown of coal fired generating plants. This means that “power intense” products (and the jobs they create) move offshore faster than a hungry kid chasing a happy meal.

How did China resolve this fact? Peabody coal is being shipped to China so that the Chinese can even build more coal fired power plants.

And need I remind you that China already has the worst air pollution on the planet?

Folks, PVs (Photovoltaic panels) are running under a dollar a watt. Good panels are easy to find. Despite what the naysayers would have you believe, photovoltaic panels are abundant.

IMHO – Smart money is spent… buying them and then putting them on your roof (or in your yard), to offset rapidly rising power costs. The technology is almost bulletproof at this point. Just about anyone can do it. You’ll need a licensed electrician to double-check your work (PLEASE have your work looked at to insure that it’s safe and fully functional), but most families that we work with do most of the hard work installing PVs,  themselves.

PV WorksMaking your own power grants you a certain amount of self-accountability and self-responsibility. It means that no one can simply keystroke your power off during difficult times.

Making your own power (be it using PVs, a windmill, a small hydro-electric generator, or even a biofuel generator set) It means that you no longer have a fluctuating utility bill to pay every month – in good times and BAD times. You’ve eliminated monthly cashflow requirements. In light of the times we live in, just the release of this stress factor is worth the price of the panels alone.

And if you really think that times are suddenly about  to get easier… then I have some splendid swampland to sell you… 😉

RR AvatarRelated articles

A friend in need…

28 Aug

A friend of RenaissanceRonin, Steve Spence (one of those “genius techie guru” types) sent me a message today to let me know that his wife got banged up in an accident and needs our help;

“Linda was rear ended today, necessitating a trip to the ER. Found out she has arthritis of the spine, which the accident aggravated. 3 days of bed rest and pain killers. Need to sell $60 worth of ebooks to cover prescriptions.

Can you help get the word out?”

Check out his treasure trove of self sufficiency and renewable energy ebooks here;

This guy really is a wealth of information. If you can, please check him out and help him and his family at the same time.



RR Avatar


Energy bills killing you? What does it cost to go Solar?

13 Feb

As we move forward into 2013, one of the big tasks ahead of us is actually building a large photovoltaic array to power our home and barns.

I was talking to a friend recently about panels and he send me this Infographic about Solar (Photovoltaic) Power.

I thought I’d share it with you.


I’d suggest that you use this a guideline. I’ve personally found prices to be significantly lower in Colorado and Montana.  Your mileage may vary.

If you’d like to find out more, you can contact the folks at “One Block Off The Grid” for more assistance;


The Renaissance Ronin

My favorite color isn’t even “GREEN”…

26 Jan

People give me grief because I illustrate my angst at “the  greenies” using Tesla.

I’m NOT talking about Nikola Tesla, either.

Let’s clear the air,  shall we?

I LOVE Tesla Roadsters. I love the look, I love the engineering and I love the vibe…

Seriously, what’s not to like?

But, these guys who buy them say things like;

“I cannot understand why anyone would want to go any faster than I can in my Tesla Roadster – which does not pollute the planet and is 100% recyclable. 0-60 in less than 4 secs and max 125 mph is enough for me – and driving has never felt safer or more fun.”

It’s nonsense.

While Teslas are cool rides… you can’t really call a Tesla a “TRULY GREEN” solution. A Tesla pollutes the planet just as much as any other  gas chugging vehicle on the road… as soon as they hit the recharging station.

Where does electricity come from? What gets dumped into the air by those power plants? Eh?

That’s right. Say my name…. baby… 🙂

The only way that a Tesla lives up to it’s name is if it’s being recharged by photovoltaic panels, hydroelectric or a wind turbine. How often does THAT actually happen? Less than 5% of the time, based on statistics.

So, realistically, you  might as well be driving a Bentley or a large SUV.

Does that mean that I think they should stop building them? Heaven’s no. I think that they should build MORE recharging stations that take the load OFF the grid, to support them. It’ll happen… someday.

A guy I know has an electric pickup truck sitting in his front yard. He actually found the truck on Craigslist. He’s halfway there. All he needs now is a dedicated recharger based on PVs… and he’ll get there, because HE gets it and he knows the magic word…. GEEKS. He’s got some crafty guys in his gallery…

I have a set of the electric motors and drive units that they put on those big “Aircraft trolleys”. Those puppies can pull around 747’s like they were toys.  This time next year, we’ll have a pair of trucks to use around the farm, charged by the Sun.

nikola tesla And, I always thought that the name “TESLA” was satire, because it kinda makes a mockery of the life that Nikola Tesla dedicated himself – to as he both invented and drove a car over 3,000 miles across the US in 1903 on electricity being harnessed from…  the ether/air…

In fact, the reason that Tesla isn’t a household word is that Nickola wanted to develop his electricity program and GIVE AWAY the electricity for free. His investors didn’t like the idea…  because they couldn’t make any money… 😦

Okay, I’m not gonna get any Christmas cards from the guys  at Tesla. I’m not looking to pick a fight with them, I just realize that the system  is “flawed”.

Beyond that, a lot of people who buy Tesla’s remind me of people who buy Prius cars. They seem to think that they are “different”.

I’m not looking for differences in people, folks. I’m looking for the things that they have in common.

We live in a “land divided”.

WE could use a little healing…

The Renaissance Ronin

Hey! Power THIS!

21 Jan

A friend (who is apparently on the same wavelengths as we are – as we’d already written the post to be scheduled into “RR release”) reminded me today that there  are some really cool power solutions in the works for those seeking renewable answers to age old problems.

While he pointed at something he’d seen on the internet…  

We’re currently working with a  team of energy experts that are designing and more importantly BUILDING a “wind turbine based renewable power solution” that is housed in a single flatbed mounted 20′ High Cube ISBU.

Builders of alternative homes or even small communities of alternative homes are faced with the same “infrastructural problems” as everyone else. We just find ourselves tasked with doing it at the very end of a dirt track, usually… 🙂

Building “power centers” isn’t anything “new”, as we’re the first to admit that there are others (some of them quite brilliant) working on similar power solutions using larger containers.

Uprise Energy 50kW ISBU based Power Solution

Uprise Energy 50kW – 40′ ISBU based Power Solution – this DEFINES “brilliant”.

The difference is that the 20′ Power Stations we’re working on will be completely transportable using a larger range of vehicles, and this will expedite shipping, delivery and placement in emergency or disaster conditions.

Based on a version of the  Sweep Twist Adaptive Rotor (STAR) blade, this turbine is designed to capture gusts and maximize performance. According to SANDIA testing, the STAR blade system is far superior (over 12% – which in turbine tech is a LOT) to other existing solutions in varying conditions – the same conditions that ANY turbine will face when tasked with making power.

These easily deployed units will provide up to 50kW of power, optimized to operate in less than 12mph winds and will be capable of supplying energy requirements for a “dozen” average ISBU households. This includes recharging the electric vehicles in each household.

Implementing more restrictive energy conservation guidelines (we call this  EM – “essentials mode”) , this could be bumped to approximately 18 ISBU households and vehicles, with no modifications.

With an increase of wind velocity to approximately 20mph, you can supply over 36 “average” ISBU households operating in EM  (essentials MODE) with ONE unit.

Power supplied to each household would include the ability to recharge battery banks built into each home’s power solution requirement.

Diesel generators located at each residence will provide for Emergency power back-up.  

Consider the applications;

  • Small communities, clusters or ICCs (Intention Closed Communities),
  • Disaster Relief for both First Responsers and Humanitarian Aid
  • FEMA/Military applications
  • Extended Humanitarian Aid to the Third World to provide infrastructure

Set up and operational in less than a day by 2 persons, you can literally build  new bridges to those requiring renewable power sources with very little in the way of the creation of a “footprint”.

You drive the unit into position. Then, you retract the legs to fit onto pilings you’ve already placed in the ground – Sonotube pilings very similar to the pilings we build (by hand) to support ISBU homes rurally.

Then, you just back the trailer out from under it and lower the entire power unit down into a locking position closer to the ground.

No cranes or technical personnel are required to deploy the turbine “tower” and calibrate the turbine itself. In less than a few hours from arrival… you start making power.

Except for the power “snake” that will distribute the power from house to house… you’re making power in “a manner most passive”.

The Renaissance Ronin

Is RONIN going bye-bye?

3 Jan

Lately, people have been contacting us, concerned about WHERE “RR” is headed…

Here’s one of the latest emails;

“Dear Ronin,

You know we love you. You’re like the “Moses of Metal”. You’re leading many of our families thru the wilderness, toward what we all hope will be “The Promised Land”, that utopia where we are freed from the shackles and chains of mortgages as we try to survive oppression…

I saw a recent Television Interview that you did, where you talked about how a LOT of your current business is devoted to the “energy sector”.

We all know that you’re a huge proponent of Photovoltaic Power, but it was clear in the interview that you were heavily invested in relationships with oil/gas exploration groups.

Oil hasn’t moved around a lot since the Peak Oil days (’08) except DOWN…

Yet… you’ve moved a lot of your focus onto oil/gas housing projects and industrial buildings. I have to ask Why?


Worried about you”

I get a lot of these, frankly. People are concerned that our work in the oil fields of the United States, Canada, Mexico and even the Bering Sea have taken us away from our goals for housing families globally.

Relax. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Working with oil and gas groups PAYS our bills as we continue to keep helping families in need. If we had to rely on the proceeds from ISBU based family residential work, we’d have to close up shop and then get real jobs…

We’ve yet to break even on ONE family build. We’re not doing it to make money. We’re doing it to help families remain SAFE.

It could be said that our oil and gas work subsidizes our efforts to help strengthen families.

While it’s quite true that 2013 will probably mark the end of triple-digit oil prices, the good news is that there’s a lot of oil to recover. Cheap oil isn’t “BAD” oil. Far from it…

Here’s just one example of what’s going on;


Looks like USO is getting pounded, doesn’t it? Despite the rallies, there’s another story to tell.

It’s admittedly bumpy out there. But what a lot of people are missing is that the Geopolitical climate and the tension it’s created have actually promoted a strong, vibrant oil industry in America.

Oil WILL drop below $90 a barrel. In fact, it will probably drop lower and it’ll continue to decline in the next few years.

Here’s why I think this will happen;

First, we’ve increased our domestic oil production in areas like the Bakken Fields and Eagle Ford. Folks, there’s more oil there than Carter has little green pills.  We’re talking HUGE reserves.

By 2015, industry analysts (Guys lie the National Assoc of Business Economists) expect domestic oil production in the United States to exceed    11 MILLION barrels of oil PER DAY.

By 2020, that number will rise to approach 14 million barrels daily.

This means that America will no longer be dependent on ANYONE other than itself for energy. We’re talking energy independence and I’m not kidding.

I read recently (I’ve been spending a lot of time in bed lately due to a health issue, so all I can do is read…) that according to the US Dept of Energy, we actually exported more oil than we imported in 2011. This hasn’t happened since 1949.

The days of U.S. dependence on “foreign oil” are just about over. And, it’s not without by-products (if we can keep those bozos on the Beltway from screwing it all up). We’ll see;

  1. lower energy prices,
  2. a stronger domestic economy (due to job creation and income infusions), and
  3. a more stable  geo-political climate.

Will the “environmentalists” stop this from happening?

No. Oil exploration and production will continue to grow in the country as the federal government devises new, farther expanding, more definitive energy policies over the next few years… if for no other reason so that the lobbies and PACs will continue to help them get re-elected… and so that THEY can personally reap the benefits that oil will create.

Anyone who thinks otherwise is frankly, naive.

Remember,  there’s no real “insider trading” morality or illegality in Congress or the Senate. They can act on what they hear, while they sculpt the policy defining it, at the same time as they legislate it.

How do you think all these politicians enter politics “poor like us” and then emerge several terms later with more gold than King Midas?

Doesn’t sound fair, doesn’t it? Hmmm? Don’t even get me started…  

Beyond that, one of the things that has hampered America’s Energy policy for years  is the dependence on “foreign oil”. Most of it flows through a place called the Persian Sea. America has tolerated Iran’s actions for a long time, due to the requirement of free-flowing oil through the Straits of Hormuz.

I’ve personally been there many, many times. It’s the ONLY open water source that connects the Persian Sea to the oceans that connects the rest of the world to that oil.

The knee bone’s connected to the shin bone… 🙂

But an expanded oil production capability in the US essentially renders Iran moot. Why do you think that there is so much hate and nonsense coming out if Iran? They KNOW that they are slowly being rendered “insignificant”. It’s now about “positioning”. They’re trying to get what they can, while they still have the leverage to get it.

IMHO – Iran can get as belligerent as it wants. Iran’s saber-rattling will have less value as more and more US oil comes from internal sources. Sooner or later, that “leisure suit wearing poltroon” will step over the line and when he does…

Can you say “airstrikes?” 

Okay, I’m gonna “wax political” here for just a second. Don’t like it? Cover your eyes…

Obama and Hillary may not have the stomach for a fight (IMHO – what happened in Bengazi is proof of that), but the Israeli’s? They are born and bred warriors who are more than willing to hand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad his butt…

“Political Rant” over. You can breathe now. 🙂

Germany is struggling. France is in recession. Greece, Ireland and Spain are all tearing themselves apart financially. That means that global demand for oil will drop.  That means more oil for us.  Or does it?

China is rapidly expanding their manufacturing and that will drive further requirements for petroleum by-products. If you have ANYTHING made of injection molded plastic in your house, it probably came from China.

They have to buy their oil somewhere. Canada does HUGE business with the Chinese by producing oil on the other side of the Bakken… Want to bet that we (US Oil/Gas Groups) do likewise? In fact, if something terrible was to happen in the US and the country fell apart (as some of the Doomsayers predict) , I bet the Canadians would be happy to buy oil from us.

The Energy Sector never sleeps folks. Someone always needs energy.

This means that American oil/gas companies will continue to fuel the nation and the economy. Here in Montana – where I live – 1 in 7 people actually work either IN the Bakken Fields or for a vendor /industry that supports it – commuting back and forth like salmon spawning upstream…

That means there’s plenty of demand for realistic, strong, sustainable housing… Housing that will subsidize our work helping families like yours and mine globally, as we build our own Corten Castles…

So while it’s ironic that a group that urges families to turn from “oil, nuke and coal” and install photovoltaics or wind turbines is being pushed forward by those oil guys…

We can assure you that we’re going to be around for a while, in part because of oil/gas company dependence on US to provide strong, durable housing for their workers.  In fact, I have 5 years worth of contracts piling up on my desk.

So, don’t you worry…

When you need us, we’ll be there. 🙂

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin

It’s the end of the world as we know it… and other historic “Nigerian Lottery Scams”

21 Dec

If  you can read this… then you’re probably gonna make it through the day, just fine.

Alex has been forced to take some time off.

Readers of the blog know that he recently tried to belch up his chest contents and blew his eyes out in the process. Too many hours, too much work, too little sleep and intake of food. You either do what needs to be done, or a mountain falls on you. So, while he gets some rest, we’re taking temporary control of the helm.

It’s a good thing that Alex takes extensive notes… We’re pillaging his notebook and ISBU journals as you read this.

We think this  “End of Times” myth pretty overrated…

… but there are those among us that will party today until their brain cells cry out in anguish, so that their owners can have one last “alcohol fueled fling” before the planet goes dark, or implodes, or does whatever planets do when they get sick and tired of the parasites that infest them… LOL!

But just in case the world doesn’t end… just in case the Mayan Calendar and it’s alleged “prophecies” was really just their version of a “Nigerian Lottery Letter” scam…

Alex talks a lot about “The Bottom Billion”.

It’s simply the “defining and then developing of processes and systems that help support people worldwide” – people that lack safe shelter, clean water, reliable electricity and good sanitation.

In our words, this also includes ANYWHERE on the planet immediately after a natural disaster.

  • Tsunamis.
  • Earthquakes.
  • Hurricanes.
  • Tornadoes.

Each of these naturally occurring events create an almost exact simulation of how MANY in the world live daily.

Much of what Alex does is targeted at insuring the provision of those conditions necessary to improve the standard of living for people scattered across the globe.

You’d be amazed at his phone log. One day he’s talking to guys hanging out on the beach in the Caribbean, the next he’s talking to “Heads of State” or   various foreign Government officials staffing UN Committees on “The Housing Crisis in the Third World”…

As we’ve talked about on-going projects (their numbers are legion and frankly, we’re exhausted…) we’ve been getting email from naysayers who cannot fathom HOW a family can “up and move into undeveloped areas… aka: “the boonies”.  

They cannot imagine how you could possibly consider moving from “Suburbia” to a place “less traveled” to gain a higher level of sustainability, responsibility and self-reliance.

We liken these people to ostriches, their heads stuck up… um… er… in the sand, or their lips firmly attached to the straws that deliver the “Kool-Aid Du Jur”… they number among those of us who regularly cut off their own noses to spite their faces…

Tanjung Batu Laut - trimmed
Those who cut off the branches of technology instead of embracing them…

Making life changing decisions is indeed “hard”. It’s a quest taken on by many that begins in those life-changing moments when they realize that the only real form of continued happiness for most rational people involves either;

  • a move to greener pastures several off-ramps from the nearest relatives…
  • better healthcare and stronger medication, or
  • a procedure called a “pre-frontal lobotomy”.

For the rest of us, those who have the inner strength and fortitude to saddle up and voyage to places less traveled, it’s just a matter of  lacing up our boots and then overcoming the obstacles.

And to those who think us crazy or (gasp!) “anti-social”… know that we’re just smart enough to build ladders to allow us to get to the fruit at the top of the tree that most of you lazy (expletive deleted) people miss! 🙂

Tanjung Batu Laut1

That leads us to today’s post;

(I bet you never thought we’d get here, hmmm?)

So, you want to live off-grid, but you’re afraid that “the obstacles” will stop you…

And, you’re not going to harness the mule to that Conestoga by your “onesies”. You’re also gonna haul your children, their families,  your mother in law and your idiot brother in law complete with his entire tribe of intellectually challenged, thumb-fingered, always arriving right as you’re sitting down to a nice home cooked meal, beer stealing… um… oh gawd… where did that come from? 🙂

Relax, you can do it…

The village of Tanjung Batu Laut seems to grow out of a mangrove swamp on an island off the coast of Malaysian Borneo. It’s a place that looks much like the mangrove-strangled beaches of the South Florida coast popular with so many Americans.

It’s about as remote as you could possibly imagine. We’re talking “third world” with several exclamation points. Zero Culture. Insects large enough to carry off your young! Little in the definition of “sophistication”…

And Tantung Batu Laut is pretty remote, too! 🙂

(Gawd, we’re gonna get “hate mail” from places like Naples and Ft Myers, FL… I can just see it now…) LOL!

The houses, propped up over the water on stilts, are cobbled together from old plywood, corrugated steel and rusted chicken wire.

If I didn’t know better, I’d venture that these homes were constructed after a vacation trip to America’s Louisiana Bayou, but I could be wrong… 🙂

But if you walk inland a little bit, daring gnats and mosquitoes who will certainly try to use you as a “fluid filled pin cushion”…

… you reach a small clearing covered with an array of a hundred solar panels mounted atop bright new metal frames. Caution will insist that you keep your eyes focused on your feet as thick cables transmit power from the panels into a sturdy building with brand new doors and energy efficient windows.

Beg entry, step inside, take a deep breath and you’ll discover that you’re in another world, a world where high humidity gives was to cool, dry air.

Welcome to the world of “Micro-Grids”.

It’s reminiscent of a Sci-fi movie… one where a mad scientist lives in “isolation”, surrounded by a gaggle of local, exotic, curvaceous lovelies that assist him as he uses advanced science to interrupt Darwin’s plans for evolution by tinkering with the DNA of the local monkeys – to breed a new form of life, one that won’t drink all his beer, return his truck with an empty fuel tank,  or borrow his tools and never return them…

Wait… that’s not it… 🙂

You’ll actually see fluorescent lights illuminate a row of steel cabinets holding flashing lights and computer displays.

The building is the control center for a small, two-year-old power-generating facility that provides electricity to the approximately 200 people in the village.

Computers manage power coming from the photovoltaic (PV) panels (as well as an occasional assist from  diesel generators) storing some of the generated power in large lead-acid batteries while distributing most of the power out into a grid connecting a growing local populace. You should know that before this power station was built, the locals fortunate to be able to afford it relied on small diesel generators to make all their own power. The rest of the populace lived in the dark.


Much has changed with the introduction of the MPS (Microgrid Power Station). Many of the corrugated-steel roofs in the village sport small satellite TV dishes. Many of these modest homes – with sagging roofs and crude holes in the walls for windows – contain flat-screen televisions, ceiling fans, power-hungry appliances like irons and rice cookers, and devices that need to run day and night, like freezers.

Tanjung Batu LautOn any given Saturday afternoon in paradise, kids wander around sporting crocodile smiles shaped by cool wedges of watermelon they purchase locally from a small “grocery store” tucked neatly into  a tin-roofed shack complete with a refrigerator to keep “those most coveted of childhood treats” ice cold.

Just thinking about it makes me want to be a kid again.

Now all the residents of this little “semi- solated community” have virtually unlimited power 24 hours a day.

Folks, this isn’t “unreachable technology” targeted for “masses with millions” or for those backed by grants from the United Nations”.

The components for this life-changing event are available off the shelf. It’s not a “custom power application” designed by Rocket Scientists who demand that you pony up piles of gold bullion in exchange for them.

No roads lined with power poles?


Miles from the nearest power tower?


With Photovoltaic panels now easily obtainable for less than $1 a watt. systems can be built almost anywhere (above ground) that can provide power, refrigeration, conditioned air and even reliable commerce zones.

Sure, you can call it your own personal “Rural Electrification Program”if it makes you feel “special”… 🙂

Is it “expensive”?

Yes, taking the bull by the horns costs a little bit of money.

You’re going to have to sell off that third car in your driveway or wait until next year to buy that new BMW.

But, know also that your new freedom gained by this simple embrace of technology has about 1,357,228 fewer moving parts and requires literally almost ZERO maintenance – once properly implemented.

You won’t need a $100 an hour mechanic equipped with a rolling cabinet full of specialized tools to resolve issues. High School kids regularly put these systems together as class projects.  (Of COURSE they have proper supervision.)

PV (Photovoltaic) Power Systems are an integral part of what we do here at RR. 

WE often ship systems similar to this, housed in 20′ ISBUs that can be deployed in hours to begin making power…DURING the building process. Unpack the box, assemble the frames, mount the panels, connect the dots and then use the ISBU as a”Power Shed” that is secured and ready to run… regardless of the incoming weather.

And there are a LOT of other guys and gals looking hard at using this kind of power generation system to help get them out into “sustainable, affordable living”.

Heck, even guys like Steve Spence can do it… 🙂

(In fact, if you’re thinking about building your own Photovoltaic based power system, and you reside on the East Coast of the US,  – STEVE is a great place to start that planning.

The guy’s a treasure trove of information and he can guide you down the path to enlightenment without being forced to pull out his “big gun” vocabulary of three and four syllable words…

Now we suspect that the lack of big words comes from the fact that he hails from the “Carolina’s”… but he’ll probably tell you that his use of small words makes advanced concepts in power generation embraceable to”simpletons like us…” 

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. )  🙂

The point is… with some forethought, you can indeed move anywhere you can find clean water, IF you have the drive, the courage and the desire to get out there beyond “a 10 minute drive by your relatives”.

Now get out there and live the good life… in spite of those who would watch you fail.

:RR Staff

Have you heard about “Project SolarStrong”?

3 Dec

U.S. Army Housing to Get Solar Panel Makeover Courtesy Project SolarStrong

By Vince Font, Contributing Editor

Department of Defense Designates Fort Bliss a “Net Zero Installation”

Salt Lake City, UT — Having the stated objective of achieving 25 percent reliance on renewable energy by the year 2025, the Department of Defense is already off and running in pursuit of that goal. Thanks to the combined efforts of SolarCity and Balfour Beatty Communities, plans are currently in motion to install rooftop solar panels on 4,700 military homes at Fort Bliss, Texas and neighboring White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in New Mexico. The solar equipment that is set to generate up to 13.2 megawatts of capacity when completed will be leased to the Department of Defense by SolarCity, which will perform installation as well as maintenance.

Operating under the moniker SolarStrong, the project is the largest phase to date of SolarCity’s five-year plan to build more than $1 billion of solar projects for approximately 120,000 residential homes on military bases throughout the country…

[Editor’s note: I’m guessing that they’ll add an “extraction clause” to the contracts so that if Texas secedes from the Union, they can pull the power off the roofs… ] 🙂

Read the rest of this post, HERE.

Fire up those PV’s, folks!

9 Jul

People, people, people…

Lately, while most of the country is on fire… my inbox is too.

MANY of you seem to think that using Photovoltaic panels  is just out of reach of the common family, those middle-class “movers and shakers” that are headed to the hills.


Sure, I drag every PV I can get my mitts on up here to set families up “off-grid”, but an enterprising soul can just start looking for deals. Used equipment is everywhere.

For the price of a cheap transportation car, you can gain your independence over the utility conglomerates that are picking your pocket, forever.

Here’s just one as an example (I found several in all parts of the US, in just a few minutes);

Outback VFX3524 inverter/power center.

Prewired for 24 volt DC input and 110 volt AC output. Single Inverter, controller and charger prewired on single panel – just bolt to the wall – connect solar array, and output to house main panel to complete.

(This “power center” is worth a few thousand bucks by itself, and it’s ready to go. No muss, no fuss.)

Includes 8 Kyrocera PV panels (4- 135 watt, 4- 205 watt). Inputs for aux generator, second solar array, and wind generator.

Batteries not included.


Call for more information. 406-490-XXXX.

Note: That price probably ain’t written in stone, folks, it’s the “asking” price. I bet if you used your wits, you could get this caliber of  system (or something very similar) for under $3,000.00. In fact, I found several.

PV panels are running at about a dollar a watt or less – brand new – if you shop smart.

And before you “poo-poo” it because this is a small system, know that I have families living off-grid, with LESS than this. Think CHEST refrigerators and “assisted” cross ventilation! You’d be surprised at where you can cut back you energy needs painlessly!

This guy is in Butte, MT.  But these deals are everywhere. Go out and buy a turnkey system and then reinstall it in a weekend. It really IS that easy.

(Yes, you need to make sure everything is working. And, you may even need an electrician to help you, if you don’t have the necessary skills. But for “chump change”, you CAN start taking steps toward self-reliance!)

And no. I’m not gonna come to your house and help you install it… so stop asking! 🙂

Image Credits to: Craigslist