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Off-Grid With Linwood

Berndt and Tuti Von Zehren’s California home exemplifies inspired living off-the-grid. Located at about 3700 feet (1128 metres) above sea level the home offers stellar ocean views and generates its own electricity by means of solar panels situated on the roof of their Linwood home. In their 3,000 sq. ft. home, they enjoy the conveniences of a dishwasher, microwave, and full access to power for televisions, computers, lighting and a washer and dryer. A solar system was not the initial consideration of the Von Zehrens who had used a generator to power their last home an hour’s drive away. However “the structure of the home and its angle of placement on the lot suited the requirements for solar roof panels,” says Berndt. A multi-media artist, Berndt had a client who was installing solar panels on a home and decided he would investigate the possibility of solar system for his new Linwood home. “I liked what I saw,” he says “so my wife and I made a decision.” The home’s energy comes from 12 solar batteries – each about five times larger than the size of a car battery. They are impressed with the result, saying that having just moved into their home, they are actually storing more energy than they can use. The cost to replace those batteries in five to seven years is quoted at $4,000 U.S. Many homeowners feel the initial start-up and replacement costs are well offset by the savings and environmental benefits that come from harnessing the sun’s energy.

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