Tuesday, November 13, 2012

YES!!!

So, we are doing it! After years of deliberation we have finally made the big decision.....

WE ARE GOING SOLAR!!

Very exciting! It really is the final step in my quest to prove to myself that even here in a barren desert suburb I can live in a way that almost satisfies my inner green person which is really the core of who I am.

We have looked at a lot of different options and none of them seemed quite right. It seems the only way to go solar, (unless one has a lot more money than we do), is to lease the panels, and this can be a big and uncertain commitment.

However, The Sierra Club, of which I am a member, recently did a promotion where it joined with a solar company. After looking into it we decided it was a pretty good deal in comparison to many others, and we were impressed with the information we received from this particular company. They were pretty honest about the risks and benefits and that was what finally sold it for us.

In reality we probably aren't going to save a lot of money over the course of the lease. This is O.K though, if we simply break even I will be happy thinking about all the fossil fuels we will have saved. That is a good enough deal for me.

I will post stuff as it all gets going and show some pictures of the final result.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Solar Updates



A question I received from someone today reminded me that I needed to update the "Solar Happenings" post that I wrote way back in May.

We decided not to proceed with solar panel rental at this time. We were poised to sign the papers until we received the contract and saw how much it was going to cost cumulatively over the 25 year rental period. The monthly solar panel rental fee from this particular company increased at a 3% annual rate which doesn't seem like much initially, but of course by the 25th year increases to what I believe to be too much money.

Not only would we be paying the monthly rental fee, but also a variable rate of money to APS for electricity each month. This is because during the hot summer months of high demand the solar panels do not work as efficiently, and one generally does not have enough panels to cover all the electricity required during these months.

The outcome of all this was that we would be paying an uncertain, but possibly large amount each month, (even taking inflation and the rising cost of electricity into account), and the whole thing made me personally too nervous to proceed.

The idea of signing a rental agreement for that long made me nervous too even with the "buy out" option. I think it has something to do with the fact that I have no intention of living here in Phoenix for that long and it made me feel tied down somehow, anchored to a place I don't really want to be.

Anyway, we will go solar I have no doubt, just not now, not on those terms.   

Friday, May 18, 2012

Solar Happenings!

Gosh, it has been such a long time since I last posted that Blogger has changed it's look and it took me a while to see how to write a new post!

Life has been so busy the past few months, I keep saying things will settle down but it seems that is not going to happen, well not until the girls are out of school next week perhaps?

I am still busy with the back yard. It is really almost finished but I am not sure I like the river rock wash now that it is done, and I may be making the rock pool area a bit bigger. I shall see. Apart from that all that is needed is the gravel, and it will be done. I will post pics when I get time.

Anyone who has followed my blog from the beginning will know that it started out primarily as a blog to document the progress we were trying to make to live a greener life. We have done quite well generally but I have been feeling like we had reached a plateau in that we still depend solely on the grid as our major energy source to cool and power our home.

I am excited to report that thanks to The Solar Phoenix 2 program we have embarked upon the process of installing solar panels that will almost entirely power our home with clean, green solar power. This rental program allows people to take advantage of solar energy who otherwise could not afford to due to the initial costs which can be considerable.

I am so excited about this for obvious reasons and feel as though this will be a major step towards us living a considerably greener lifestyle. Now I just have to continue working on reducing our gas useage which as I have mentioned before can be quite a challenge living here in the Burbs.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

2005

This picture was taken shortly after I had the trees put in in 2005 and before I had planted much of anything else. It looks so different compared to the picture below.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Work in Progress

I have been working hard to get all the top soil spread in the backyard and have finished arranging the rocks over the edges which used to be brick. Alll that is left now is to finish the river rock wash and add the fine grade gravel.

The goal in re- landscaping was to remove the thirsty and very un-desert-like grass and create a more wild and natural desert landscape with low water use plants and easy maintenance. We cut our water useage in half the day we stopped watering our grass!

I have been looking back at some pictures of our backyard a few years ago and the transformation is striking.

Here is the view from our patio in July of 2007. Everything is very green compared to now because it is summer obviously-


And here it is now, I can't believe how much the trees have grown!


Here is the view from the end of the yard now including the new firepit, and the desert wash which needs finishing. The rocks are just dumped in their right now. I will be adding ground cover plants all along the edges of the wash eventually.


Here is a similar view from May of 2008.


I am so pleased with what we have created. There is much more to do. I have lots of planting plans of course, (the really fun part), but I am really so happy to have got rid of the grass and that ugly brick edging. I am also happy that we have saved thousands of dollars by landscaping it ourselves. I will post more pictures as the project continues.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Garden News

My garden is really good at the moment. It is a result mainly of all the seeds the girls planted last Fall.

We are enjoying fresh lettuce, swiss chard, spinach, beets, cilantro, parsley and carrots right now and look forward to tomatoes, tomatillo's, leeks, and peppers.

I also have my first lemon ever on the little lemon tree that Dad bought me when he was here two years ago. It is small and green but it is definitely a lemon! The tree has plenty of blossom on it too so I am optimistic for next year.

In other news we had ten tons of top soil delivered last weekend and I have almost finished spreading it over the backyard. It is really beginning to look the way I have always imagined our yard could look and I am so excited. Once the top soil has compacted down somewhat we will have fine grade gravel delivered too and it will be finished, apart from the extra plants I will then want to put in but that will be an ongoing process. Pictures to follow. I may be done with the top soil later today. :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011