Safety & Local Help
Whether or not you are subject to building codes, we urge you to do a safe and neat job when it comes to building your off grid power system. The reputation of renewable energy, and the resale value of your home are at stake. Learn about battery safety, fusing and grounding for your home. The owner-builder ultimately takes responsibility for the safety of the home by following building codes as well as individual responsibility and competence.
Fusing, at a minimum, is essential for fire safety. A fuse or circuit breaker is required for every single wire, large or small, connected to the positive of your battery. Un-fused wiring can start fires. Rework existing wiring that is unsafe or not properly fused. We can supply circuit breakers and power centers that are UL listed, as well as low priced separate fuses and holders (which will not pass code inspection unless installed in metal enclosures).
Buliding Inspectors? Photovoltaic powered homes are included in the National Electric Code. Although smaller homes in remote areas are often ignored by building inspectors where there may be no local codes, in other areas, electrical inspectors do enforce wiring codes on every house with wires in it, no matter what the power source or voltage. It is a good idea to find out how ‘off grid’ homes are treated in your area. Cost of rewiring is much higher than the cost of doing it right the first time. Some off-grid items we carry may not pass building inspection in some areas. Where you do need to meet strict building codes, the easiest way is to follow your inspector's advice and use UL listed power centers and breaker boxes.
Get Help As Needed for Your Off The Grid Homes
Some electricians may not be familiar with low voltage equipment, but they can certainly help you with installation of conduit, underground cable, and wiring the home safely. Books on design and safety are available on this website.
The website DSIRE has good information on state loans, financial incentives, and tax breaks for solar installations throughout the United States.
Home Power Magazine is a great source of information about home-scale renewable energy and independent living technologies. Published bimonthly, it provides extensive product information, project case studies, buyer advice, how-to instruction, and much more. See their WebSite (HomePower.com) or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 707-6585, or (541) 512-0201.
Classes Available on Living Off the Grid
Solar Energy International offers hands-on training in several locations. You can contact them at following:
PO Box 715, Carbondale, Colorado
Phone (970) 963-8855
Fax (970) 963-8866
Online at http://www.solarenergy.org