Total 1,185

* Other than lighting

Total 1,185

* Other than lighting microwave on the second oven. The electric ovens would be much too power-hungry to operate off-grid.

Two Todd Engineering automatic transfer switches were added to the design to switch the ovens from the grid panel (30 amp breakers) to the subpanel, using ten amp breakers with a twenty-second delay. This provides enough power for the igniters and microwave, but the breakers trip if the main electric ovens are used.

My home utilizes Smarthome technology for lighting, HVAC, entertainment, and security alarms. It uses a JDS Technologies Stargate computer with X-10 technology to control loads when off the grid. X-10 is a standard technology used by many manufacturers to send control signals over a home's wiring. The control signal is sent when the sine wave is at the zero crossing. The communication between the two Trace SW4024 inverters in the solar-electric system did not interfere with the zero crossing technology.

Appliances & Lighting

After the solar-electric system was installed, I began to look at where my power was being used. I added "Power Planners" to our fairly new refrigerator and freezer, furnace, clothes washer, and attic fan. These

The 8,500 watt Kohler backup generator runs on natural gas.

The 8,500 watt Kohler backup generator runs on natural gas.

Generator, utility power, and main output breakers.

devices are made by EnergySmart, an Arizona company. There is some disagreement about the effectiveness of these units in some situations, but they did seem to result in a drop in energy use in my home.

Next I looked at lighting, which is a major load in most homes. I wanted to keep bright lighting available throughout the house, and still reduce the load as much as possible.

My in-house lighting total was 4,550 watts. Out of that, 790 watts would need to stay with incandescents. They were in bathrooms and the dining room, and the fixtures were not easily retrofitted with compact fluorescents. But 3,760 watts could be changed to dimmable compact fluorescent lights compatible with my X-10 Smarthome control system. These lights were used frequently, so significant savings was realized by replacing these with 713 watts of compact fluorescents—a 3,047 watt savings!

Power Savings:

Incandescent vs. Compact Fluorescent Lighting


Incandescent (Watts)

Fluorescent (Watts)

Savings (Watts)

Percent Savings


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