Hook up to power? Solar? Wind? Give all the kids giant gerbil balls to run in?.... These were all considerations for getting our Amish home into the 21st Century. Both Michael and I run our businesses online making power a pretty crucial part of living life in rural MT. We considered the cost of just going with the power company until we found out that would be a whopping $10,000 just for the privilege to hook up to the grid. We're a half mile from the closest hookup, but no thanks! We've always valued self-sufficiency so this was just a nudge in that direction. Thankfully there were still some Y2K deals to be had, landing us with a solar system that was a back up for some guy who had planned for the worst- a little too well- but didn't need the set up now.
Last year we finally got this massive solar system pieced together, without instructions, and entered the modern era. It took some massive engineering help from our friends the Hopes to make sure the structure was virtually hurricane proof. Yes, we do get gusts of wind that rival a wind tunnel. 14 yards of concrete later and we had our very own lawn ornament. For our 15th anniversary, we were surprised with the wind ripping several panels clean off and smashing those into several others. 10 panels were taken off-line in a matter of moments. Good thing the structure was built correctly or the whole thing could've been ripped out! What we learned from this is that the bolts on the back of the panels have to be tightened periodically. duh. So common sense, but we just hadn't thought of it. Several had come loose causing just enough wiggle room for a burst of wind to pop them off. Now we have an abstract looking panel set-up and a little less power.