Make Your Own Power – Is This For You?

In the Men’s Journal from June 2008, I found an article about Making your own Power. I was intrigued. They say that a little home improvement can reduce your carbon footprint and slash utility bills at the same time. With rebates and tax credits, up to 70 percent of the cost of going renewable can be offset.

Solar: To power a 2,000 square-foot house exclusively with solar, you’ll need four or five kilowatts of energy from about 400 square feet of photovoltaic panels, which will run $40k-$60k before rebates and credits. Visit to check solar availability in your area.

Wind: Good turbines last 20 years or more, so once you’ve made the investment, the wind can give you free energy for decades. Check your zoning first; some areas restrict tower height, and a rule of thumb is that a wind tower should be at least 30 feet above any obstacle within 500 feet. Generally, the higher you tower, the more costly ($30k-$70k) but also the more wind that can be harvested, speeding payback time. Go to to help find out how much wind hits your property.

Geothermal: Geothermal systems use the Earth’s near-constant temp to eliminate the need for carbon-intensive, oil-based heating. It can also work as an air conditioner in summer. Geo is better on larger lots and is cheaper if its part of a house’s original construction. If you integrate geothermal into a new home design, the cost, including all interior duct work tat would be needed for any system, is around $25k on a 2,000 square foot house. Retrofitting would run about $40k. Get more information at”

Now I know that these would help reduce my carbon footprint in a HUGE way but the cost was overwhelming to me. I took a look at the rebates at and found that there are a lot out there and the savings could really help offset the amount of the equipment but it still might be that you would have to start with only a few solar panels and maybe a smaller turbine to begin with.

I would love to hear from those out there that have implemented some of these great power options. What do you like? What do you dislike? Were the rebates/tax credits helpful?

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