From the 23rd September 2011 to the 18th May 2012 I cancelled my electricity and was off the grid in the hope of learning more about energy, dependence, and behaviour change. In that time I learned a lot about myself and others, but most importantly (both in my mind and heart) I began another new journey in earnest. From my previous rural zen retreats in the mountains outside of Kyoto and San Francisco - to river valleys in northern NSW(New South Wales) Australia, I've been learning about, experiencing, and deliberately practicing non-violent ways of co-existing with mother earth.
Albeit I still currently live in the metro region of Melbourne (where I'm privileged with proximity and access to many types of markets) I decided to explore what I could learn about certain types of energy dependence, production, storage, and consumption. This is just the beginning and admittedly one could highlight deficits with my current lifestyle in regards to sustainability and toxicity, yet that is no excuse to maintain the status quo or remain complicit in the demise of our shared global commons.
Solar Tree v1
I have begun with electricity (as it lends itself to my techie disposition) and will focus more upon food security (another form of energy) over time. For example: I'm attending a 12 day hands-on Permaculture Design Certificate course next week (January 2013).
Solar load (previous series+parallel design was ~31VDC but now all parallel on ~16VDC)
Wiring Diagram (high level view)
Above is the wiring diagram and here http://s.nodecity.com/rig is more info regarding parts, costs, evolution etc. but suffice to say the ADSL modem/router is next on the list and I haven't figured out hot water and cooking yet.
Note: The choice to use modular parts was in the hopes of scaling more easily via lessons learned for bigger rigs (inlcuding maximising surface area in a small vertical space).