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Eventually I believe that all home electricity will essentially be free1 because of solar power and technology advancement.
It’s hard not to envision this when one considers how far we have advanced in other areas, such as the cost of an hour’s worth of artificial light.
Matt Ridley, author of “The Rational Optimist“, researched the amount of work it takes to generate (earn) an hour of artificial light today, versus 150 years ago.
- 1800: a candle providing one hour’s light cost six hours’ work.
- 1880: the same light from a kerosene lamp took 15 minutes’ work to pay for.
- 1950: it took eight seconds to pay for.
- Today: with LED lighting, for instance, it takes half a second to pay for.
Viewed in these terms, most humans are 43,200 times better off than in 1800.
So what if electricity is free?
Like the cost of light, the price of solar energy is also dropping fast… Free electricity, cheap light, digital and Internet technology will combine offering layered, multiple streams of income as part of Igrarianism in retirement.2
Igrarian Age Living Trends
From an employment standpoint, it is getting easier and easier to work from home. The Internet is making it possible to start companies easily and transact with customers from anywhere.
In the first third of our lives, learning technology skills, such as how to code or build a website, can provide an essential foundation for long term success.
In the second third of our lives, we may seek to have a “side hustle” or side business that allows you to work from home in your spare time.
In the last third of our lives, which arrives around retirement age, we may want to leverage the skills and experience we have accrued in the first two thirds and run an online business from home in retirement.
The Igrarian Home
One can imagine a model “Igrarian home” that embodies and reflects the independence of its residents… eg. is highly efficient, sustainable, grid independent and renewable energy powered.
The Igrarian home could produce more energy than it uses, and generate income by selling energy back to the grid or to neighbors (in a “community solar” project), like a small power plant.
With solar photovoltaics everywhere, and energy storage, the model “Igrarian Home” could save its residents money in retirement by having 100% of its electricity provided by the sun.
Even in cooler climates the Igrarian home could save money on energy by incorporating highly insulated walls, like in a passive house design.
While Net Zero homes and passive homes are highly efficient, the Igrarian home could also rethink the way homes handle water.
Water is an increasingly precious resource and one of the fastest growing costs of living. Most homes use freshwater for everything, even flushing toilets. But using freshwater to flush toilets or water plants makes no sense. Also, rainwater that falls in many areas is wasted instead of captured and filtered. Captured and filtered rainwater could be used in clothes washing or even personal hygiene. Instead rainwater flows into storm drains overflowing sewers and causing problems with stormwater runoff.
The Igrarian home could use water in your home the way it should be used.
- Freshwater for drinking, food preparation and personal hygiene
- Greywater for flushing toilets, and irrigation (if any)
- Blackwater sent to composting toilets or local treatment plant
And you can avoid the need for cable TV expenses by just having an Internet connection using unlimited data.
The home can be an ideal place to run an online business, especially in retirement.
From an energy standpoint, the cost of electricity is steadily increasing, along with our reliance on it… Meanwhile, the cost of residential solar power is falling.
While not analogous, the cost of solar is similar to the path that microprocessors chart according to Moore’s Law.
Continued downward trends in the cost of solar with increasing efficiency in solar photovoltaic technologies will make it more affordable for homeowner freelancers, work from home entrepreneurs and sustainable entrepreneurs.
- Assuming the cost of solar panels is integrated into the cost of the home itself. Solar photovoltaics may be used for windows, roofs, walls and other structures today, essentially making an entire building a giant PV electricity generator.
- Igrarianism is a philosophy of using Internet technology and daily blogging to build a foundation from which to create incremental streams of passive income.