Why I Built an All-Electric House

In 2020 I had the chance to build a home from scratch. Nothing fancy, my dream home is a simple 2-bedroom 1,320 sq ft ranch on a slab with features that make it comfortable and healthy. Living in this house I have never paid a propane or natural gas bill, and five months of the year pay no electric bill (except the fixed fee to connect to Xcel’s grid). My average energy cost is $2/day. The daily cost ranges from $0.54/day in June to $8.34/day in January. This is possible because of a 16-panel solar array on site.

The biggest challenge is heating, since electric heat is expensive. The infloor heat is augmented by an efficient woodstove with a fresh air supply, so I can’t say there are no combustibles in my home. However, I find my home is warm, quiet, has less dust and better air quality than any other home I’ve lived in.

Building on a rural lot allowed me to roll the solar power, well, and septic system into a mortgage, so those utilities are a fixed amount over 30 years which gives me peace of mind. As I age, I take comfort in knowing the cost of my utilities is stable and not spiraling upward with global markets.

In addition to the financial aspect, I wanted to reduce my use of fossil fuels. I believe the high winds, increased flooding, and more extreme temperatures we’re experiencing are a result of climate change caused by humans putting more carbon into the atmosphere. I worry about the future for my two sons and their families as our earth becomes more stressed by climate change. I wanted to try and live in a way that would reduce my carbon footprint by using less fossil fuels like propane or natural gas in my home.

My house was built using conventional construction techniques—the most unconventional component are the solar panels wired into the electric meter. I am grateful that every day the sun rises and gives me free energy! When the sun shines, the electric meter spins backwards.

With the help of Cheq Bay Renewables I participated in the group-buy which streamlined installation and reduced the cost of solar panels by buying in bulk. The solar panels and ground mount cost $12,122 plus another (unexpected) $2,552 of electrical work for trenching, connection, and permit application preparation. A federal solar credit reduced the cost by 26% bringing the cost down to $10,858. The solar system will pay for itself in eight years.

The panels don’t produce all the energy I need, so I may add more in the future, especially if my next vehicle is electric.

You can do this too. All-electric features can be adopted in any housing situation. Readily available Energy Star electric appliances, electric water heater and boiler can be supported by a roof-top solar panel system or buying shares in a solar farm offered by utility companies.

It is impossible to get all fossil fuels and their emissions out of my life, since the materials, production and transportation of goods like solar panels, concrete, computers, vehicles and many other things require the use of fossil fuels. But I’m happy with my decision to reduce the use of fossil fuels and maximize solar power in my all-electric home.

Porch August 2021

It’s not totally finished yet. The truss and beams will be wrapped with cedar boards to look like a timberframe.

Also, the concrete is doing some weird delaminating, so that issue is in discussion.

But now there are more seating options that are quite comfortable!

Leopold bench and chair made by Norm Fankell, husband of my wonderful friend Chris whom I’ve known since kindergarten. He reused treated wood from a play set he made for their kids 20 years ago!

Scamp Lodging


Front porch.

Scamp and outhouse.

Composting toilet.

Back bunk, can convert to a table. Set up currently as a single bed.

Front bunk.

Sink, fridge, stove and furnace.

Projects by Carl 6/23/2021

My brother traveled here from Colorado and did some more house projects. My house is smarter than me. At this point, from my phone, I can monitor and control:

– garage door
– air quality
– electricity consumption
– window blinds
– thermostats
– solar panel production

And I can monitor the water use as I use it.

Tasks completed:

  • soldering work on trailer connection
  • move frequently checked network items to lower shelf
    • starlink router
    • DSL router
    • A/B switch
    • Cisco router
    • Map out all circuit breakers with full detail
      • in house
      • in garage
    • install two electricity monitors
      • test all inputs to each monitor
    • smart garage door implementation
      • replace garage door button
    • Get Purple air quality monitor working
    • install metal edging around house foundation by Thursday when excavator comes to lay river stone.
    • living room floor outlet trim
    • move heavy book case from garage to living room
    • level out kitchen window shade, left side keeps dropping off front bracket
    • change angle of solar array, document future angle changes
    • troubleshoot garage door sensor problem
    • added phone number in FOTAI system
    • figure out intermittent wifi connection for main thermostat
    • thermostat hardwire connection tightened

LED Recessed Lights –all new in box

6 inch directional downlights
3000k warm white
Quantity = 4


4 inch downlights
3000k warm white
Quantity = 12

3 inch rotatable downlights
2700 soft white
Quantity = 12

Cases of metal frames 6 inch and 4 inch.





Garage and electricity

Looking north. Garage door offset to the right/east to make sure the driveway clears the electric pedestal meter socket on left.

SW corner exterior of the garage. Underground wire from the electric pedestal enters the garage through this conduit goes through the wall straight into the breaker box.

Garage breaker box

Inside garage breaker box. Only two 100 amp breakers are installed so far. Far as I can tell, they are not serving anything. 22 additional slots are available.

Close-up of the two 100 amp breaker switches in garage panel.

Branch breaker bridge leftover by garage panel.

Bag of extra parts left by garage breaker panel.

Plate on exterior siding to receive an outdoor electric outlet.

The north side of the post of the electric pedestal also has an outlet on it. I am currently using it with long extension cords to power the garage door and the camper which is behind the garage.

So an outdoor charger could be placed on a second post outdoors next to the electric pedestal if we could avoid all the underground wires emanating from the existing electric pedestal meter socket.



Inside House

Breaker Box detail spreadsheet of labels

House breaker panel box in utility room.

In house breaker panel box, main breaker switch at the bottom of the panels which turns all the panel off.

House breaker panel labels. Also see the link to the spreadsheet https://wedalroad.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Breaker-Box-details.pdf

House breaker panel box, sticker inside door

Outside house

Conduit on north wall. L-R: internet, ?, pedestal wire, well pump wire.

75 ft from pedestal to house conduit and breaker panel box.

Inside Garage

The garage has nothing wired into the garage breaker panel. The door is powered by an extension cord that connects to the outside electric pedestal outlet.

pieces left on top of breaker panel in garage

Breaker bridge –extra piece left on top of garage breaker box

Garage breaker box with 22 open slots. No labels.

Garage breaker box has two 100 amp breakers. No labels.

Garage breaker box on inside west wall. wire goes out the wall and in conduit into the ground. Then wire goes about ten feet south to the electric meter pedestal underground.


Solar Array

See Ruth’s solar array information

Front of Fronius inverter

Left side of Fronius inverter

Fronius inverter wire in conduit going into the ground 75ft to the electric meter pedestal.

Looking up at the mini-inverters connected to each panel

Front of Fronius inverter showing the conduit entering the ground to carry wire to the electric pedestal.

Fronius inverter

16-panel solar array

Electric Pedestal


Front (east) of electric pedestal meter socket

Breaker box brand is Milbank

All of the breakers inside the electric pedestal break box. Only the well is labeled on the bottom right. I assume the two upper left switches that are off, go to the garage. No other labeling.

North side of pedestal with outlet box

South side of pedestal

West side of pedestal

Window blinds

My brother Carl received training and became a certified Lutron representative. He gave me 8 window blinds for the new house. Lutron has hundreds of fabrics, colors and style of blinds.

I chose the honeycomb blinds because I was feeling guilty about large windows losing heat in the winter and the cellular shades add 3R-value to the windows. I also really like the streamlined look.

These smart window blinds are hardwired along with the other electric service, but you could operate them off batteries or nearby outlet. You can program them to a Pico remote, and you can also schedule them to a clock or to sunrise/sunset using the app (which means you don’t have to be at home to adjust the window blinds).

Light-filtering blinds.

Room-darkening blind.

Yaggi Antenna

TechToo antenna. Can I plug this into the Alfa adapter?

Alfa 802.11b/g Long-Range Wireless USB Adapter

Starlink power brick. White cable to wifi, black cable to wall box labelled “Master”.

Starlink wifi router with two ethernet jacks. One says “Aux” with black cable which goes to the AB Switch.