Su Ba, I can only agree with you. Sounds like you made the right choices and are reaping the benefits. A huge benefit to me, and no way can it be quantified monetarily, is the benefit of self reliance. Knowing how to make your own power, how to troubleshoot and fix problems, make you, somehow, more alive. And if the set up fee of getting grid power is more than or at least the same as the initial set up cost of an alternative energy system, then you are really in that small category of people who are even making an economically astute choice.
The thing of it is, is that I am looking at my current situation (hooked up to the grid) and desperately trying to make a case for the economical reasons to set up an alt energy system, and they are not there. But we are planning on moving within the year, to set up a new homestead and large farm (about 200 acres) and that land has no power, and getting power will cost between $25,000 and $100,000 (we are looking at several properties) and when we do make the move, oh I really want to set up my own electrical system.
I do understand the "lifestyle" aspect for me, but it at least has to make some marginal sense economically, for me, as well.
But thank you so much for your input!!