Readers write in about going off the grid and the surge of returning US soldiers.
Regarding the cover story "Off-the-grid pioneers," (August 9): My husband and I had 16 photovoltaic panels installed on our roof last October. Aside from the minor monthly fee for connection to the local grid, we have paid $0 for electricity in the ensuing months. In our high desert home that gets plenty of sun, we will recover our installation costs in three to five years through the federal alternative energy rebate, local rebates, and those $0 bills. It's clean, it makes sense, and my hope is the others in sun and/or wind zones will take advantage of these natural forms of energy.
I would like to know what it is really like to live with alternative energy on a daily basis. If something does shut down, is it easy for a nontech person to fix, or is there a long wait to get someone qualified to do it? Do the systems require regular checking/maintenance? Also, how do these technologies stand up to extreme weather events such as ice storms, cyclones, or hurricanes?
"The surge home" (August 16 & 23), by Michael B. Farrell, admirably discusses the challenges of combat veterans returning to civilian life but stops short of coming to grips with the essence of the problem and what can be done to solve it.