FROM THE CREW: All Good Things In All Good Time

Beginner
The Home Power crew at our retreat a couple years back

The often boisterous post-dinner crew conversations that took place around the table at Home Power founders Karen and Richard Perez’s off-grid homestead could run for hours. On any given evening, the talk could range from the esoteric (“Should we tweak the float voltage of the Heliotrope two-tenths of a volt for the winter?”) to lofty pondering (“What would happen if PV hit a buck a watt?”). What “mainstream” solar might look like was well-tread ground, as was one of Richard’s only partially tongue-in-cheek regular musings: ‘“If we do our job well, solar will become so common, so ubiquitous, that we’ll put ourselves out of business.”

This edition of Home Power (November/December 2018) marks the end of the magazine’s 31-year, 188-issue publishing run. It’s likely no surprise that publishers of all sizes, and especially small, independent ones like Home Power, face a challenging business landscape. The importance of quality content can get lost as businesses chase metrics measured in clicks and likes, and readers are less inclined to pay for content. Ironically, and in tune with Richard’s thoughts, the solar industry’s success has made Home Power’s highly technical content more appropriate for niche enthusiasts.  

In 1987, Richard and Karen began publishing Home Power with the mission of changing the way people generate energy, one rooftop at a time. Their vision was truly revolutionary. The couple passed their skills and responsibilities to the rest of us in 2001. During these 17 years, the Home Power crew has continued the push to make solar mainstream. We are extremely proud of the current state of the solar industry and our decades-long role in its evolution and growth. We’re also very grateful for our dedicated readership, which has allowed Home Power to advocate for renewable energy for more than three decades.

Actions that originate from people, organizations, and movements occur at a given place and time. The action itself may be a quick flash of an idea or a sustained effort that crosses decades. Thirty-one years ago, Home Power was a glimmer of an idea that would morph into a committed endeavor to help demonstrate how clean, green power can change people’s lives. As long as the sun shines, this effort will continue to radiate, long into the future.

—Joe Schwartz & Michael Welch, for the Home Power crew

Note: Current Home Power subscribers can donate the value of their remaining issues to offset the magazine’s remaining operational expenses. If you’d prefer a refund for the value of the remaining issues of your paid subscription, please email refund@homepower.com. Call 800-707-6585 if you don’t have access to email. Home Power will continue to host digital editions of its archive online.

Think About It...

“We’re all [solar] bozos on this bus.”

—The Firesign Theater, as co-opted by Richard Perez

Comments (8)

William Wallace's picture

Almost 7 years ago in a hospital waiting room I was intrigued by your magazine while my dad was having heart bypass surgery. I must admit I took your magazine home ( but I did return it later). Your magazine covered everything from lightbulbs, energy sources to home design. I needed to subscribe!! Thank you for the knowledge you have shared throughout the years. I understand there are operational costs to be reconciled so please accept my subscription balance to help cover any remaining costs. I will miss you all. William Wallace, Midland, Michigan

LeeButcher's picture

Want to see a grown man cry? Tell him he'll never get another Home Power magazine in the mail. Just got mine in the mail today, and it took me 5 minutes to figure out what the heck the first page I read (above) was talking about. Then my stomach knotted up. My wife and I finally are able to start on our retirement dream of setting up a system that I've been collecting for years to use on the land we were planning on "someday" buying. The windfall arrived this September, and we've bought and are clearing our 43 acres in the southeast Missouri Ozarks. We've ordered our panels, bought our Bergey and tilt up and have 2 new old stock Xantrex SW5548's. All of this because of your magazine and the interest it spurred in RE over 25 years ago. Finally. And now the road we followed has disappeared. I will personally miss you all even though I've never seen any of you face to face. This is like losing a best friend you thought would never move away. So, may God bless and keep on shining His light on you and your lives- the same way you have done for me and my wife. I need to stop now. The tears are dripping onto my keyboard. Thank you, sincerely, for all you have given to all of us. Lee & Verla Butcher, Park Hills, Missouri

Lou O'Quin's picture

Sorry to see that you're going away. I've enjoyed the magazine over the 8 years that I've been reading.

By all means, apply the remaining portion of my subscription towards site maintenance.

You may wish to consider creating a disk image (CD, or more likely, DVD) of the downloadable issues, and offering them for sale as an alternative to the individual downloads; proceeds of this could also go towards site maintenance. I would buy it, and probably, many more would as well.

Lou O'Quin
Phoenix, AZ

flactemnad's picture

Wow!!! What a sad event to see the end of the magazine!
I setup solar powered home offices in Los Angeles purely from the information gleaned from the pages of Home Power Magazine. Ran the house on solar through every minor blackout. Had a blast doing that. Eventually, when we have our own place here in Japan I'll probably go all solar!

Thanks for the decades of information that made my life a little brighter! Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors!!!
-- Dan & Fujiko Metcalf, Obihiro, Hokkaido, Japan

Ryan Moy's picture

I would like to thank all of the people who spent the years and tremendous effort to make this magazine what it was over the years. I only found this magazine five years ago and it’s genuinely upsetting to think I will never see another new edition. I try to explain to people that the canceling of this isn’t just losing a subscription. I feel like this magazine ,while yes ,can seem mostly for real off gridder, also spoke to the future of energy. Distributed and resilient energy IS coming and you guys were early to the solar game and still too early for the mass expansion of home battery systems. It’s such a shame this is happening and I’m sure you tried really hard to keep this afloat. HomePower was something that let everyone who read it know that there were other people out there who loved this stuff as much as we do. I am grateful for that and all the knowledge passed on. I wish everyone at Home power the brightest future. thank you.

Ryan from NJ

Reid Brown's picture

I, too, will miss Home Power very much. I've been a subscriber since the early 1990's when we bought an off grid "ghost town" with a working hydroelectric system dating back to 1927. Your magazine was invaluable in helping us understand off grid power generation, evaluating equipment, understanding batteries, and much, much more. We will miss your insightful articles chronicling ordinary people using off-grid power to live extraordinary lives.

In your editorial, you point out that mainstream PV and off-grid technologies have caught up with Home Power, implying it is only a niche left for the techies. If that is true, it is sad because I've loved being a techie all these years.

Perhaps in your (collective) retirements you might consider continuing the Home Power website and expanding it into a user forum for all of us die hard techie subscribers who will miss the magazine and want a place to ask each other questions or share information on our installations. I, for one, would be willing to pay a yearly subscription fee to maintain the site.

Just a thought.

Reid Brown

Jose E. Torres Perez's picture

Dear Home Power Friends…
Good Afternoon!!!
My name is Jose E. Torres-Perez living in the island of Puerto Rico USA. For the last 18 years this magazine has been My North in many aspect of my passion for Solar Power. Thanks for the basics I learn from you guys and girls, and all the advance technology displayed on the mag, from which I still enjoy a lot, I was able to learn, install and get the certification from a professional licensed electrician on my solar installation on my home.
By 2006 I got my complete setup up running, but many persons lock at me as the “crazy guy”, “too much on investment”, etc... (You know all that stuff…)
During the last 12 years I have been active, giving insights and addressing the persons about seriously considering solar power.
But…. Not a better “advice” could be given more efficiently than that of Mother Nature. Last September 20, 2017 the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria. The complete electrical grid of the island was destroyed. In my house, I pull down the panels to a safe place in advance, not because of the winds, but because of the “flying objects” that could destroy one of my 18 ~ 175W Shell Solar panels.
Battery last for about 34 hours (lead acid forklift type), and after that I re-charge the battery with a Craftsman 4000W generator, thru the Xantrex SW4024 inverter while waiting all the after remains winds and rains stop. On the Friday afternoon I began to put back all panels which I end by Saturday mid-day. Nor my family, no my love ones, neighbors, suffer for lack of ice or charge for their cell phones or rechargeable lanterns for the long nights of the months to come.
All of that, because of YOU GUYS AND GIRLS!!! You serve me as my inspiration, for what I done in my house and in the house of all other persons that at this very moment are requesting my help in the selection, instruction, advice, and guidance for the purchase and installation of solar equipment. I think that Richard Perez and his wife (Respectfully RIP to both of them) didn’t ever have an idea of the transcendent their ideas and examples will help me at the other side of the Nation, at a small island in the Caribbean, as well as many other persons around the nation and the globe.
Our lives on the island have been mark forever. Live has change for all those survivors of Maria. The lesson has been hardly and widely learned by those that were without power for almost 9 months. We can’t put all the eggs in only one nest (the only company that provides energy to the island is owned by government).
Now I’m trying to internalize that I will not see the Home Power Magazine again. This has been quite a challenge for me. Don’t know the reasons why but, for sure there is a good reason. I hope that whatever your decision is, please maintain the Home Power Web Site. It’s a “lighthouse” for all those seeking for good and reliable information, with direct application.
For now I should end, but not before wishing all of you , a very pleasant and wonderful Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays by the year to end.
Sincerely,
Jose & Arlene Torres, MBA’s, MA’s
Vega Baja, Puerto Rico USA

Neville Reay's picture

I am sorry to see that your magazine and people are going away. I hope that each of you succeed in your future endeavors. May the wind always be at your backs.

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