My wife and I became interested in alt. energy in 1995 when we first got access to the internet at home. I had seen solar panels installed at some buildings here in West Virginia, and was fascinated by the idea of self generated power that I knew was clean and green. After researching solar and wind power over the years we finally decided to try solar power first. Having a little working knowledge of electricity also helped. We watched videos of self installations and gained enough confidence to try it. We started small with one 80 watt panel and two 12v batteries and had success!
Once we were successful with this project, it gave us encouragement to try some other projects including a small wind generator and a bicycle powered generator. I don't know how best to explain it but once we saw the working end result of our labor we were quickly enticed to do more. There is just something wonderful and gratifying about generating some of your own power, especially when you did the installation yourself.
Saving money was also an incentive for all of our alternative energy projects. Initially we realized a small savings on our power bill but were able to capitalize on the Federal tax break of 30% on the purchase price of our solar panels. The savings have became larger as we expanded the system and began practicing reduced consumption methods such as compact fluorescent lighting and reducing "Phantom Loads".
The whole experience has taught us self confidence and a much greater working knowledge of alternative energy, and how to be more self reliant. We have some alt. energy projects still on the drawing board and are looking forward to 2009.
Have fun and enjoy! Ron and Pam Smith
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