Off-Grid With Linwood
Berndt and Tuti Von Zehren’s California home exemplifies inspired living off-the-grid. Located at about 3700 ft. (1128 m) 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 3000 sq. ft. home (279 sq. m), 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. However, “the structure of the home and its angle of placement on the lot suited the use of solar roof panels,” says Berndt. A multi-media artist, Berndt had a client who was installing solar panels on a home, and Berndt decided he would investigate the possibility of using a solar energy system for his new Linwood home. “I liked what I saw, 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, and 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 offset by the savings and environmental benefits that come from harnessing the sun’s energy.