Laura Dvorak 5:47 p.m., Dec. 6
I've always thought that going solar could be a good thing, but all of those government regulations on a $20K+ rooftop solar setup to power the house always seemed like a pain in the assets.
Then I saw the Harbor Freight ad in our dapper daily paper earlier this week.
$199 for a 3-panel 45 watt setup and another $30 for a DC-AC power inverter with 2 120-volt plugs.
I think I can do this... even during the post-Crash recession.
One setup at about $250 with taxes (especially if I buy it in El Cajon), and I can pull my new laptop and ancient HP inkjet off the grid forever.
Doing a dozen more $20 algebra tutoring sessions at City or Mesa, and I can afford to pick up a second solar setup to get the living room air purifier off the grid, too. (All of my occasional wildfire refugees love that air purifier... especially those with asthma.)
At this rate, I could have darn near all my appliances except the refrigerator and washing machine off the grid by this time next year.
If I bust out that old physics text book and actually take notes, maybe the fridge et al won't be that hard to pull off the grid after all.
Right now, I bet that if Agua Caliente is offering odds on it, then SDG&E is definitely favored to win its CPUC electricity rate increase case where people using less power are magically charged more for it.
Anybody wanting to protect herself or himself from greed on the grid doesn't need my permission to claim one's energy independence.
In our distinguished daily paper on Dec. 10: "Convention center to add solar panels in power-use deal" http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/dec/10/convention-center-add-solar-panels-power-use-deal/ where through clever lawyering Alternative Energy Capital apparently escapes categorization as a California public utility...