tsb wrote:Off the grid electricity is like a "trophy wife ".
It sounds like good idea, but it take a lot of maintenance and you
don't get as much out of it as you might think.
I agree! I've studied the "real world" winter output characteristics of numerous local solar panel installations (the data for their output is online for all to see), and there is no way (this side of tripling to better yet, quadrupling the number of solar panels required to break even in a grid tied set-up) that the average Joe will size a residential solar system to get you through the winter months off the grid (at least where I live) without having a good generator on standby. The generator will see a lot of winter use if you only have twice the number of solar panels required to break even when grid tied.
And the batteries thing is a killer. Total battery replacement every 5 to 7 years would send most of us to the poor house. Just purchasing the first adequately sized set of batteries would send me to the poor house. And 3 full days worth of battery supply capacity for those long winter spans with near zilch for decent sunlight is actually not enough to alleviate the need for a generator (by a long shot). In the situations I've seen around here 5 to 6 days worth of total need supplying battery capacity would come close to getting you through December on solar panels alone (if 2 times over-sized vs. grid tied) without a generator. Otherwise you need to become a power managing wizard, and be prepared for outages of electricity.