This is the time of year that all work involving being in the woods needs to be done. This is due to ticks, chiggers, and visibility. So we had one last structure on our list that will be completed soon, the Workshop. While we absolutely HATE to cut down trees (we try to clear just the bare minimum around the structures), this job had to be done. The pad for the workshop is only roughly 100 ft x 60 ft and is right on the farm road which saved us having to cut a driveway. In an effort not to waste any of the trees, we went thru and cut down everything that could be used as firewood before we had it root raked.
We also had to clear a 12 foot area along the farm road for the power lines to attach to it. While we are completely Off Grid for our house and office, the workshop will be tied to the grid. Here is how we came to this decision.
Our workshop will be used intermittently (sometimes 5-6 hours in a day, other times not at all or just for an hour) but when it is used it will need a lot of electricity in order to run the various machines. The amount of electricity used would have required a substantial battery bank (more batteries than we currently have to operate the house and office). So in order to go Off Grid with the workshop we would have to invest in quit a few batteries which are really the most expensive part of an off grid system.
Once we realized this we had to decide if the cost of the batteries could be financially justified and the answer was a big no. This was mainly due to the fact that we would not use enough electricity during the duration of the batteries life to pay for itself. This calculation may be different for someone who has a full time job using their workshop, but for our farm it didn’t add up.
While a complete off grid system did not make sense for this project, we think that this would be a perfect match for using a solar panel that could feed the grid. This means that we will use solar panels to connect to the power lines that will actually send power to the electric company or “feed them power”. In return they will pay us for the electricity and each month we will not have to pay for the energy we use as we will have the sun doing all the heavy lifting.