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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Our power station

Pete, Nicola, Lola, 10, and Nell, 7, like travelling around Britain on public transport (don’t laugh). We spent three happy months exploring during summer of 2007 but now we’re home, you can still join us for the occasional sightseeing - plus tips on how to shrink your carbon footprint. This post is from Nicola

Today - 19 August - is an historic day for our family: we've turned our home into a power station.

Thanks to a grant (not yet collected) we've just installed solar PV panels generating electricity whenever there's light. That means even a teeny weeny bit is generated when there's bright moonlight. Because we are not off grid we can't see the meter going backwards. But we can watch as the sun generates electricity for us and clocks up the kilo watt (kWh) hours.

Last year we looked at all sorts of power sources including hydro and wind turbines. Interesting as these trips were the sun is the no brainer when it comes to turning your home into a power station. Even in our dodgy British summers - and the effects of climate change - there's enough light to make these solar electric panels charge up theoretically slashing #350 from our bill each year.

Five days later: we've used 14kWh of electricity - and generated (despite overcastness and rain) 13kWh of our own electricity. This may not pay off our investment (ie, we won't make a mint - hence the photo), but it's certainly going to bring daily running costs down. Having sun power is a fantastic feeling.