Monday, April 21, 2014

Amish Resouce For Homesteaders, Off Grid, Green, Holmes County, Ohio

Increasingly more people, often referred to as homesteaders, off griders, or those going green, are seeking self reliance and are finding expert advice among the Amish.  One of Holmes County's Amish-owned companies, Enviro-Sol, is a leading resource not only for practical information, but for complete systems, installation, and labor services. Owner, Javon Miller is one of those practical persons who can make recommendations as to the type of solar panels, inverters, batteries, water softeners and RO systems, natural gas generator setups, etc., are best suited for your needs.

Solar Battery System

Mr. Miller is a living example of self sufficiency; monthly using an average of 350 kilowatt hours of electric.  Operating from his solar system is his home, laundry, well pump, refrigerators and freezers, some energy efficient lights, three offices, and a small workshop with electric tools.  In keeping with Amish tradition, his family is careful to conserve. His family's usage is lower than the average American family, as they do not utilize the many electronic gadgets of most American homes. Mr. Miller stated that one of the greatest misconceptions about solar energy is that, "It will run only a few lights."  Mr. Miller can show that a complete household can be efficiently served by solar.

There are several different sects of Amish in this area, and not all would be permitted the use of solar energy; however, the more progressive Old-Order Amish, New Order, and New-New Order certainly do avail themselves to these technologies. It is ironic that the Amish, considered the US's most primitive life-styled people, those who resist change,  represent the largest consumer group utilizing solar power in the United States; are those on the cutting edge of solar implementation.  Generating their own power fulfills their self reliance needs and is not inconsistent with their Amish ideology of separation from the world.  Historically, and to this day, they guard their autonomy.  This is why they have refused adapting to the US electric grid and are receptive to solar.  It's all about economy and self reliance.

Windmill on Amish Farm


Mr. Miller sells wind turbines, stating that turbines provide auxiliary assistance and would not represent a core system for power.  Mr. Miller advocates battery backup storage for energy overages rather than selling it back to the power company.  Battery back up provides power if grid service is down.  His solar panels have a life expectancy of 30-40 years and come with a 25-year warranty.  Charge controllers regulate incoming energy.  If the batteries are full, they will go into what is called a "Float charge," or a maintenance charge.

Presently there is a 30% tax credit incentive available for installations, perhaps good until 2016. Many other incentives are available on the dsireusa.org site.  Other efficient systems can be implemented; such as radient heat, tankless hot water heat, and wood-burning stoves.

Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast

Loretta and Paul Coblentz, owners of the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast know and recommend Javon Miller and his company Enviro-Sol for your solar consultation and service needs.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
April 21,2014

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