Solar power eliminates utility bills in U.S. home - Yahoo! News: "for Strizki and his colleagues, the house is about a
lot more than the bottom line. It's about energy security at a
time when the federal government is seeking to reduce
dependence on fossil fuels from the Middle East, and it's about
sustaining a lifestyle without emitting greenhouse gases."
This is seriously good, not so much because it is good for the environment but because you can fully power a home this way. The cost of solar has been steadily dropping for some time and will continue to do so as long as computers are being made faster and cheaper, they are the same basic technology.
With the recent ice storms and other back weather it certainly looks like a good idea to start to develop a backup power plan for your home.
It can be as simple as a generator (USE OUTSIDE ONLY!!!) or as complex as a full solar power system.
My plan is to have a backup generator, then expand that to include some batteries and an inverter that will allow the generator to only have to run occasionally which will let the fuel last a lot longer.
The first batch of batteries will be for running the refrigerator and freezer and the gas furnace (the blower needs electricity) and a few basic items like lights and maybe a laptop.
There is something to be said for having a satellite-based internet connection, it would allow communications in fairly bad conditions once the rain fade is past.
Eventually I would add solar panels to eliminate or reduce the need for a fuel supply, the generator would then be the backup to the backup.