We’re trying to design a photovoltaic (PV) system to power the farm. It hasn’t taken us long to figure out that we can’t afford to power everything we now use. So we’re asking the difficult (and fascinating) question: what are those electrical devices we must have for a pleasant, healthy life?
It’s easy to see that we could get by without some things, like air conditioning, of course, and that energy-hungry air compressor I use to pump up the tractor tires. And it’s almost as easy to see that powering a ceiling fan or two and rudimentary lighting would be “essential” (in quotes because we all know we could survive without it as our forefathers did for millennia before us). But then there are all those appliances in between, things that clearly aren’t necessary for our health and safety but which we nevertheless choose to make a priority, like the deep freeze, the microwave, and – quietly now – Amanda’s coffeepot. Listen in as we struggle with these tender questions.