Upstate family lives off solar power - News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Upstate family lives off solar power

Posted: Updated:
Several of the solar panels Jasmine's family uses to power their home. (File/FOX Carolina) Several of the solar panels Jasmine's family uses to power their home. (File/FOX Carolina)
  • More newsMore>>

  • 2 planes with more crash victims to leave Ukraine

    2 planes with more crash victims to leave Ukraine

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:13 AM EDT2014-07-24 08:13:41 GMT
    Ukraine's government says 51 containers holding bodies and body parts of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash are ready to depart for the Netherlands aboard two military transport planes.More >>
    Dozens of containers holding remains of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash were loaded aboard two military transports to go to the Netherlands Thursday on the second day of the airlift, while Australia's government...More >>
  • Gaza fighting rages amid cease-fire efforts

    Gaza fighting rages amid cease-fire efforts

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:01 AM EDT2014-07-24 08:01:56 GMT
    Israeli tanks and warplanes are pummeling the Gaza Strip as U.S. and other diplomats push for a cease-fire with Hamas militants.More >>
    Israeli tanks and warplanes bombarded the Gaza Strip on Thursday, as Hamas militants stuck to their demand for the lifting of an Israeli and Egyptian blockade amid U.S. efforts to reach a cease-fire.More >>
  • Arizona inmate dies 2 hours after execution began

    Arizona inmate dies 2 hours after execution began

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:35 AM EDT2014-07-24 06:35:51 GMT
    The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for Arizona to carry out its third execution in the past year Wednesday following a closely watched First Amendment fight over the secrecy surrounding lethal injection drugs.More >>
    A condemned Arizona inmate gasped for more than an hour and a half during his execution Wednesday before he died in an episode sure to add to the scrutiny surrounding the death penalty in the U.S.More >>
SENECA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An Oconee County family is raising their daughter in a self-sufficient, solar-powered home.

The couple's solar-powered home may now have modern conveniences like TV, but they have not always lived in a home with more than the bare basics.

Jasmine Williams' parents brought her home from the hospital as a baby to their yurt - a Mongolian style shelter with the bare basics, like heat and running water.

Once Jasmine was 7, her father, Buzz Williams, converted a barn into a solar-powered home.

Nicole Hayler and husband Buzz Williams said they have always been environmentalists. They used to guide rafting trips down the Chatooga River nearby and now lead a Chatooga conservancy that works to protect the land and forest surrounding the river.

"We're trying to demonstrate that alternative energy is something that's viable and that you can do it," Buzz Williams said.

They say their house is quite luxurious, including their toilet that uses only wood shavings to flush before their waste is composed.

SLIDESHOW: Take a look inside their solar-powered home

They rely on 16 solar panels that heat their water and power batteries that save the energy for nighttime and gray days. The sunshine powers lamps, their freezer and refrigerator and even charges their cell phones.

"I couldn't live without my computer now," said Jasmine, who acknowledges her upbringing has been different then other kids her age. "So whenever they came to school, they'd be like I watched TV over the weekend. I'd be like, yeah, I ran through the woods this weekend."

Now 12, Jasmine watches her favorite shows on their antenna TV and has her own room at the top of the house that has windows lining the floor to funnel hot air up and out.

The entire house was designed to use as little energy as possible, with brick floors to keep it cool and large windows that draw heat from the sun. The family also grows much of their food.

When asked if she would want to live any other way, Jasmine said she loves her family's home and lifestyle.

"No, I love the way we live," Jasmine said. "Even though it's kind of a pain sometimes in the winter, it's nice never having the power go out and never having to worry about the parents paying the electric bill and stuff. I really like it."

Hayler and Williams said they had a hard time finding people to help set up their solar-powered home, first using a company out of Virginia. They said Greenville now has some good options.

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow