Until now our solution to the “no available power on site problem” has been to wear extra gloves and hats, use batteries, and tether internet through our phones. It was working, but now it’s getting cold and frozen fingers don’t type too well….
Originally, our site didn’t have any “amenities” (power, water, sewer, telcom, etc..) and we managed to solve most of our basic needs through work-arounds. For compost water we use The Port’s water rights from the Columbia and a pump that Crestline had installed for their water trucks. For sewer we have the composting toilet. For clean water we fill 5 gallon tanks at home and use a water cooler (came free with the trailer) and a solar shower. The final hurdle for us to solve was power. We had designed a complete solar system to meet the basic needs of the office trailer, but the cost was high and we wouldn’t be eligible for any incentives unless we were grid tied (so that we could sell energy back). After much debate we bit the bullet and brought grid-tied power to the Dirt Hugger site.
The prep work for grid-tied power was arduous and paying a bill every month will be painful, but ultimately it will increase our efficiency and free up time to focus on other composting activities. Specifically, we will add an aeration system to the compost piles, which allows for a more efficient use of existing space, plus a reduced need to manually turn windrows (3 times vs 5 times). Additionally, we plan to automate our compost watering pumps versus the current system of dragging hoses and gas powered pumps around the site. We still have our long-term sites on a solar or wind system, but in the interim we are with North Wasco PUD, which does produce local hydro power. A big thanks to Ed Ortega, the Crestline Crew, Gorge Electric (Todd Clay and Frank) and North Wasco PUD for hooking us up.