Don’t believe the hype

Solar newbies beware
Solar newbies beware

Don’t believe the awful ads which promise you “free power for $200”, or “build your own solar panel for $200”. Several of them appear on this site from time to time, despite that we are doing everything we can to stop them.  Many are from Chinese spammers, and a particular bunch of conmen called energy4free, or earth4energy or Get-Cheap-Solar-Panels.com, amongst many other aliases. These slimebags ask you to pay for an e-book which directs you to some other sites and offers to sell you components for a solar panel that will never work. Of course it would be quite wrong and immoral to suggest you should click repeatedly on their ads whenever you see the Earth4energy logo. We do not recommend that.

We have complained to Google but that did no good. Every time we find the ads we delete them, but they pop up under some other dodgy URL.  Please email us if you find any ads you think we should delete.

IF the federal government was really worried about the planet’s destruction it would force power companies to adopt a German model and pay people more for generating green power, and ban solar rip-offs like the above.

The solar tax rebate is mainly aimed at grid-connected homes, and although I can’t say its a bad thing in itself, I certainly don’t like that the State-based incentives tend to discriminate against off-gridders.  But the new Obama stimulus incentives might allow new off-grid properties larger grants for power and water.

Right now, the power generators are treating people who put energy back into the power grid as if they had somehow fixed the electricity meter – refusing to pay them any more once they have “zeroed out” their own electrical usage. In Germany, where solar power is a significant contributor to energy, I would get 50c, instead of the 10c I get here.

The contribution from solar is most important at times of peak demand in the heat of the day in the cities, when the faraway power stations are losing a lot of heat in the transmission lines.

Now back to that claim of “free energy for $200”: If you were to spend $10,000 on renewable energy for your house, you’re not going to get that back for many years. But it would bring your power bills down by a large amount.

So how much would it cost to take your home, with say a couple acres  completely off the grid? `If you do everything really well, you should be able to spend $5000 of your own money plus the $5000 grant from the Government.” For water and sewerage, allow another $5-8,000. In most cases, if you have a couple acres or more allow $15,000 of your own money and you need never get another power or water bill.

13 Responses

  1. Midnight Rider – that sounds awfully like a description of perpetual motion. It breaks several laws of physics I’m afraid. If anyone HAD come up with a generator that completely powers *itself* and suppplies a surplus too, we’d have no need of any sort of power stations, coal, nuclear or even solar I’m afraid. I wish it WAS true, I think Lynn Hicks remark above is true for this one too unfortunately.

  2. I saw a segment on PBS or the NatGeo station(don’t remember which) of people who have an electrical generator that once in motion runs off its own power while at the same time generating enough energy to possibly supply all the power requirements of the everyday household.Do you know of a site that actually explains this phenomenon in layman terms and with specs on how to build one for oneself?

  3. Does anyone know were I can get instructions on how to build y own solar panels for my home. Rosen talks about where not to go, so where do I go??? Replies to this comment thread.

  4. On your site there are at least three from these earth4energy people. domanimasters.net/energy, how2buildsolarpanels.com, solar.solarwindkit.org.
    The whole internet is chock full of these ads. I’m glad you blew the whistle.

  5. I have read a website that has offered free how to build solar panels – I’m on a different computer sorry can’t put the link in. The plans are simple – I have no idea on the cost of materials or if it works. My point really is that is people know how to share the power then they need to share – since we’re all going to hell in a handbasket anyway. A day could come when computers, electronics will crumble and then everything will be shut down – we don’t need a natural disaster like a title wave to shut down the earth. So people should be prepared and if you can share the information on people can get power, water, and how to grow their own food then they should share.

  6. There is so much hype and so many common misconceptions surrounding sustainability – including claims regarding solar energy, etc.. For a hand in sifting through it all, check out our myth-busting video “What’s Your Big Green Lie?!” which gives a taste of the widespread ignorance of green issues at https://www.biggreenlies.com. Thanks, Off-Grid!

  7. Dear Lorna

    I appreciate your comment about the google ads, but what is one to do? We split the Google revenues with regular writers, who deserve more than just praise for their efforts.

    And it takes a lot of time and some money to maintain a decent quality blog. That includes time weeding out bad advertisers. And if you ever see a dodgy looking ad please write and tell us and we will delete it immediately. We have a long list of banned domains.
    I’d appreciate help from anyone who knows how to optimise Google ads so we could reduce the number on the page and still keep the same money coming in.
    Help needed also in writing stories, and grant applications too – if we had a grant for our work we could take less or no advertising.

  8. I am just in the middle of reading your book “how to live of-grid” which I am loving but I am a little concerned about all the google ads you have on your site. For people who don’t know much about web sites they could think you endorse the websites and their products and it is my experience that a lot of google ads are just as ‘spammy’ as the ones you mention above.

  9. I’ve got an e-book I bought a couple of years ago which presents a fairly well thought out blueprint for building your own solar panel. Is it true you’ve investigated building your own panels and found it will not work? Seems doable to me though not easy to do. It’s basically hooking up small silicon cells into one large cell by soldering them in series, placing them in an effective container and voila. I’m interested in this as a hobbyist project plus I’d like a big panel for less than I’d pay retail.

  10. I’m so glad you mentioned earth4energy. I’ve been wondering about them for some time and was considering purchasing the e-book. Thanks for saving me a lot of trouble.

  11. While I agree that the power4free spammers need to go- I have been running them off forums for awhile now, your estimate for going off-grid is higher than necessary.

    I purchased an acre for $500, built my solar cabin for under $2000, installed solar electric for $1500, drilled a well for $300, Harvest rain and grey water, use a solar composting toilet I designed.

    Total for complete off-grid homestead about $5000

    You can see my website for ideas:


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