The couple manages their energy use by not using multiple large electrical appliances at once.
A couple relying on solar panels to power a south Fargo home is readying for a potentially daunting challenge: winter.
North Dakota State University scientist John Bagu and his wife, Robyn Bagu, have invested $35,000 in solar panels and electricity storage batteries in hopes of becoming energy independent.
So far, the experiment is working. The panels and batteries have been supplying power to the home since September — and providing about 10 percent more power than the couple uses. Surplus energy is put on the local electric grid.
"Sometimes I sit and watch the energy come in," said John Bagu, referring to digital readouts of the electricity generated by the system. "It's kind of cool."
The Bagus also want to install a wind turbine, and power an electric car from energy generated by their system. Average wind speeds of 10 to 11 mph on their roof are strong enough to operate a wind turbine, John Bagu said.
The couple manages their energy use by not using multiple large electrical appliances at once. For example, they don't use the washer and dryer and the oven at the same time, The Forum newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/OT2bSH ).
"I try not to do everything at once," Robyn Bagu said.
The big test will be how well the system will work when it's snowing, John Bagu said. However, the dark solar panels absorb heat, and he doesn't expect accumulation to be a problem, he said.
"What are the winters going to be like? That's the challenge," he said.