by Chris Farmer. Reprinted from home

In June 2015, 22 residents of the Hut Hamlet neighborhood commissioned an 8.16 kW off-grid microgrid PV system at Earthaven Ecovillage, an intentional community outside of Black Mountain, North Carolina. The shared solar-electric system serves 10 small cabins, and the neighborhood kitchen and bathhouse. On an average sunny day, the system produces 31.5 kWh of electricity—what the average American house consumes—which is shared among the neighborhood homes.

Earthaven is a 21-year-old intentional community situated on 329 acres near the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Presently, about 80 people live in the community year-round. Earthaven’s mission is to create a village that is a living laboratory and educational seed bank for bioregionally appropriate cultures.

ashevillage - blog - earthaven ecovillage

“Tribal Condo,” one of the 10 residences powered by a central 8.16 kW off-grid photovoltaic system. Photo by Chris Farmer.

The entire community is off-grid, producing its electricity from several PV arrays (and two small microhydro turbines). However, after solar electricians Chris Farmer and Brandon Greenstein got repeated calls from the Hut Hamlet neighborhood residents asking them to troubleshoot, fix, or upgrade their old, owner-installed off-grid PV systems, Chris and Brandon proposed an upgrade—one state-of-the-art, code-compliant system to distribute conventional 120/240 VAC power to the entire neighborhood. While this idea technically made the most sense, the notion of sharing an off-grid power system brought up many issues.

Read the full article here.

Chris Farmer, is one of our Permaculture teachers and an Earthaven resident. Join Farmer and a list of other experienced instructors for the Permaculture School’s 3.5 day workshops this summer. See the full list of workshops here.

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