Minga Wigington

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14 off-grid luxury

Dane Wigington

The Wigingtons choose to power their remote estate with renewable energy—it would have cost them twice as much to bring in the grid.

24 RE expansion

Rudy Ruterbusch

Learn how this on-grid family switched over to renewable energy by starting with a small system and then jumping into a larger one.

34 heat pump intro

John Lynch

Heat from the earth is so cool! Efficiently heat your home with a ground source heat pump.

42 PV in Burma

Chris Greacen

Hands-on workshops in Burma are spreading renewable energy throughout the country.

54 solar pumping

Ken Kelln & Paul Hanley

This cattle watering system keeps water from freezing—providing high quality drinking water to the herd all winter long.

On the Cover

Dane and Minga Wigington in front of their PV array— near Lake Shasta, in northern California.


60 PV training

Wahila Minshall

SEI's women-only PV workshop installed 1,485 watts of green power on the grid and provided professional RE training.

68 hot air

Chuck Marken

Solar air collector systems provide heat without some of the complications of solar hot water systems.

76 how-to battery maintenance

Richard Perez

Keep the weakest link in your RE system at its best by following this maintenance regimen.

82 RE view

Joe Schwartz

Outback Power Systems PV Combiner box.

86 PVs & trees

Jane Oldale

Clearing your solar window can be an emotional experience.

90 DC to DC

Steve Willey

How to use direct current to expand the capability of your RE system.

100 EV battery charging

Joe Miller

Knowing your EV's battery status helps predict driving range, extend battery life, and prevent wasteful overcharging.

10 From Us to You

Joe Schwartz

2003 Solar Tour.

32 What the Heck? Chuck Marken


106 Code Corner

John Wiles

Features an off-grid, code-compliant system.

112 Independent

Power Providers

Don Loweburg

NREL history.

116 Power Politics Michael Welch

The Solar Sebastopol model.

120 Word Power

Ian Woofenden


122 Home & Heart



Postal reflections.

136 Ozonal Notes

Richard Perez

RElief for the grid.

80 HP Subscription Form

126 RE Happenings

130 Letters to

Home Power

140 Q&A

142 Reader's


144 Advertisers Index from us to you

By opening her door to people attending Ashland, Oregon's Tour of Solar Homes, Risa Buck opened a lot of minds to renewable energy and sustainable living.

Folks living with renewable energy (RE) systems know that they work. So what's the best way to educate people who are curious about RE? Show them these systems at work!

This is exactly what happened on Saturday, October 4, 2003 with the American Solar Energy Society's eighth annual national Solar Tour. Forty-five states and over 160 cities participated in this year's tour. Newcomers to RE had an opportunity to see sustainable technologies in action, and talk with people who live with the technologies every day.

Here in southern Oregon, the city of Ashland, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, and Home Power magazine co-sponsored and organized a tour of six local homes and businesses. Almost 100 people from our small southern Oregon community took part in the tour.

In this day and age, when a lot of people don't even know their neighbors, the recent solar home tours stood out in stark contrast. Homeowners opened their doors to people they had never met, and shared their sustainable homes and lifestyles.

As a result, the national Solar Tour went way beyond its goal of spreading the word about renewable energy—it helped to bring communities across the U.S. a little bit closer together. And that is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

— Joe Schwartz for the Home Power crew

Think About It

Purely from a financial standpoint, people on the grid without solar hot water are way behind the times, and people with solar electricity are just a little ahead of their time.

—Andy Kerr, Solar Tour host

Copyright ©2003 Home Power, Inc. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission. While Home Power magazine strives for clarity and accuracy, we assume no responsibility or liability for the use of this information.

Legal: Home Power (ISSN 1050-2416) is published bi-monthly for $22.50 per year at PO Box 520, Ashland, OR 97520. International surface subscription for US$30. Periodicals postage paid at Ashland, OR, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER send address corrections to Home Power, PO Box 520, Ashland, OR 97520.

Paper and Ink Data: Cover paper is Aero Gloss, a 100#, 10% recycled (postconsumer-waste), elemental chlorine-free paper, manufactured by Sappi Fine Paper. Interior paper is Connection Gloss, a 50#, 80% postconsumer-waste, elemental chlorine-free paper, manufactured by Madison International, an environmentally responsible mill based in Alsip, IL. Printed using low VOC vegetable-based inks. Printed by St. Croix Press, Inc., New Richmond, WI.

HP staff

Publisher Richard Perez

Publisher & Business Manager Karen Perez

Chief Executive Officer & Technical

Editor Joe Schwartz

Advertising Manager Connie Said

Marketing Director Scott Russell

Customer Service

& Circulation Marika Kempa Nat Lieske Shannon Ryan

Managing Editor Linda Pinkham

Senior Editor & Word

Power Columnist Ian Woofenden

Senior Research Editor & Power Politics Columnist Michael Welch

Art Director Benjamin Root

Graphic Designer & Article Submissions

Coordinator Eric Grisen

Chief Information

Officer Rick Germany

Data Acquisition

Specialist AJ Rossman

Solar Thermal

Editor Chuck Marken

Solar Thermal Technical Reviewers Ken Olson

Smitty Schmitt


Editors Shari Prange Mike Brown

Home & Heart

Columnist Kathleen


Code Corner

Columnist John Wiles

Independent Power Providers Columnist Don Loweburg

HP access

Home Power, Inc. PO Box 520, Ashland, OR 97520 USA

Phone: 800-707-6585 or 541-512-0201 Fax: 541-512-0343 [email protected] [email protected]

Subscriptions, Back Issues, & Other Products: Marika, Nat, & Shannon [email protected]

Advertising: Connie Said [email protected]

Marketing & Resale: Scott Russell [email protected]

Editorial Submissions: Eric Grisen [email protected]

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