How Much Does it Cost?
As an urban homesteader, you may want to look toward using alternative energy sources. The most obvious source of alternative energy is the sun.
While solar power is clean and plentiful, solar systems can be very expensive. For between $10,000 and $30,000, you can purchase a professionally installed solar system that will supply enough power for everything in your house except heating/cooling. For the average user, it would take between 7 and 10 years to recoup your investment. By selling excess power to your electric company, you could recoup it more quickly. Unfortunately, most of them don't have that option yet.
While there are sites online with instructions on building a solar cell for less than $200, you must have some skills to do it. According to these sites, the batteries and other accessories you'll need can be purchased inexpensively on auction sites.
8 of these cells should provide sufficient power for the average home. Using power saving methods, such as CFL bulbs, smaller appliances, and hanging your clothes for drying will help lessen the power load.
While there is labor involved, and the quality is not as high as a professionally built and installed system, you can possibly have solar power for roughly 1/10th the cost of a professionally installed system. Even one cell can reduce your electric bill and put you on your way to energy self-sufficiency.