Net meterIf you have electricity available, take advantage of it. From a practical standpoint, it is great to have electricity. It is pretty straight forward to create enough solar power to run a refrigerator, lights, water heater, heat and A/C for a container home like Rhino Cube. Having power to the site means you don’t have to mess with battery storage. Batteries are the weakest link in solar power. They require maintenance and must occasionally be replaced. When you hook up to available power, instead of getting a regular power meter, pay extra for a net meter. When the solar system is making more power than you are using, the meter runs backwards. If you need more power than you make, the meter moves forward. Your power bill will reflect the net power you used beyond your production capability. Basically, you will be a mini-power producer–making, sharing and using power with a community of other users.

If this is the chosen route, it is smart to outfit with appliances and systems which run off electricity rather than another power source because for you, the power producer, this is a renewable resource. You will be making your carbon footprint small.

Written by Sam Austin. Sam holds a Master’s in Architecture from the University of Colorado-Denver and has been practicing architecture since 1992. He specializes in residential design and has completed more than 200 homes in the Boulder area and beyond. For 17 years, he has designed beautiful modern custom homes and is renowned for his use of reclaimed materials.