Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

A lot has happened since I last posted.  Winter has arrived, and although December has been unseasonably warm, we have had two light snows.

First, we finished trenching and installing water pipe from the creek up to the water storage tank above the house.  We now have 30 psi into the house, gravity fed from the tank.  That is the pressure at floor level in the basement, but it is too low to produce enough flow at the shower upstairs, so we will have to put in a bladder tank and booster pump.  We bought a van to replace our Honda that was lost in the flood.  Here we are camping at Edgar Evans State Park in Tennessee. 

 Our biggest project has been putting up the ceiling.  We bought 1000 board feet of poplar from a local sawmill and had it kiln dried, milled and tongue and grooved.  The ceiling is up, and now we need to put on two coats of polyurethane and install the top trim piece and the trim around the edges.

Here, Randy is on the scaffolding we put up to install the ceiling boards.

In the kitchen, the back splash tile is installed, the window molding is on and the electrical outlets are wired up.  Also, the lights and fans are installed throughout the house.  The big project now is the deep trench and conduit that will bring our underground electric service to the house.  It runs 100 ft from a pole down by the grape vines to the house.  We are hoping to have that done next week before the ground freezes and becomes too hard to dig.

About a month ago, we bought a pallet (28) of 200W solar PV modules at a very good price from SunElectronics in Miami.  They had won an auction of over 5 MW of modules from Evergreen Solar, which went bankrupt this year, and were selling the modules for 78 cents a watt.  We should receive them early in January.  We are in the process of applying to intertie to the utility grid.  In addition to the 30% federal tax credit for all of the solar components, the local electric utility pays us $1000 for installing the system, and TVA buys all of the power we produce for 12 cents/kWh over what they charge to retail customers.  In other words, they charge us 9 cents/kWh we use and pay us 21 cents/kWh we produce.  Pretty good deal, and they guarantee to pay that rate for 10 years!

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