Farmington resident "off the grid," on renewable energy

By Mark Bullion

November 19, 2012 Updated Nov 20, 2012 at 11:58 AM CDT

FARMINGTON, Ill -- The NBC show "Revolution" is what life would be like without the technology that has saturated American's lives, including something many of us probably take for granted, electricity.

One Central Illinois man has been ahead of that obstacle for years completely powering his house using renewable energy.

Farmington resident Bill Cirone has three solar panels and a wind turbine, otherwise known as "off the grid." He owns around 550 acres of property and his house sits in the middle of it, and that was a problem.

"The closest power line to our property is about a mile or mile and a half away so back in 2005 when we decided we wanted to build, there was really no way of getting Ameren to run lines in here at this point so the only way to do it was to go green," said Cirone.

That's when Cirone made an investment into the future putting up the solar panels and wind turbine. The guts of the green energy are housed in a barn on his property which powers his 4,500 square foot home. Part of what powers the home is the wind turbine, something very common in Central Illinois.

"What you have there is AC from the wind that works 24 hours a day, comes back into a transformer and converts it to DC and is stored in the batteries," said Cirone.

And then, there's the solar panels.

"They track all day with the sun, they're still faced to the east because we've had no sun but if we had normal sun, they would track east to west. So they are basically putting DC right back through battery controllers into the batteries," said Cirone.

Two 48 volt battery systems are where all the power is stored. And if there is no sun or hardly any wind, at full capacity, that's enough to power the Cirone household for 4 days. So while everyone else is in the dark say during a bad storm, Cirone has no worries.

One piece of advice Cirone has is not to be afraid to go "off the grid", because it is well worth the investment in the long run.

Prices for solar panels and wind turbines can range from several thousand dollars all the way up to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on how many turbines/panels you want to purchase for your property or business.

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