I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

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What Are the Components of a Solar/Wind Control System?  RSS feed

 
Danielle Black
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Hi all,

I am really excited about the idea of, one day, building my very own alternative energy system. Ideally this would involve both wind and solar energy. What I am trying to figure out right now is what parts I would need in order to make a control system for my solar/wind power. How do all of these components work together to keep the lights on? If anyone could offer prices for these components, that would be extremely helpful as well. Thank you so much for your help in advance!

--Danielle
 
Toby Davis
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Hi Danielle
I have done all of that and my system is up and working.i use it more for emg use some times the power goes off and I just need power for 4 -5 hr's.But is running my out side lites .Frist i wood start small and build on it slowly.frist you need power.harbor freight sells a kit of solar panels some times on sell for 170.00 it has 3 panels,charge controller,2 12V blubs and wires you can plug into the controller,and a plug with ends to charge stuff.next you need some storage. I use 6V trogen batterys put 2 together and you have 12v. this type of batterys has a lit of amp hr's so wont just go dead right away.so put the panels with stand supplied in a sunny place that will not get shade.put all 3 wires together plus and neg connect to the charge controller on the back you will see + and - on the other side you will see battery connection.then you have that part done you can add more batterys as you go I have 30.the thing here is compasty more batteys nore you have stored.after you have the power get a inverter that changes 12v to 110v habor fright sell them two.i have a 3000w starts and holds 1500 to power stuff.when you get ready for wind let me no did that to.But sad where i live not enof all the time here so i have to go solar only.bye for now hope this helps.
 
Andy Philips
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You could also go to backwoodssolar.com and order their catalog for $5. It is VERY educational, and the equipment they carry is generally pretty durable, if not the least expensive. A little simple math can go a long way towards helping understand what components match up well. Good for you and the most important thing is to start! Oh yeah, and not to electrocute yourself.
 
Danielle Black
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Thanks guys! Since I have done this post I have realized that solid information for how to put together these systems is few and far between. I think I may invest in a book like, like alternative energy for dummies or something like that. Does anyone know of a good book for this kind of thing? Thanks again!
 
Toby Davis
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Hi all Ill see if i can take some pictures of my system and upload them if I can do that on this site.Easy-er just to look and say Ooo ok thats easy.Basically just 2 6v batterys Fuse 30amp panels and a 110v inverter.The panels charge the batterys and the batterys feed the inverter.what you wont to run depends on the size of the inverter.The inverter has a plug built in just plug the item into it.the back has a plus and a neg from the batterys.Most inverts have a auto stop if the batterys gets below 10 1/2 v.The 6v's will last way longer then a 12v.bye for now hope this helps.
 
Dave Brik
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Danielle Black wrote:Thanks guys! Since I have done this post I have realized that solid information for how to put together these systems is few and far between. I think I may invest in a book like, like alternative energy for dummies or something like that. Does anyone know of a good book for this kind of thing? Thanks again!

Hello, Danielle

There are many good books and guides for building your own solar systems. Personally I prefer to find and check some information for free on the internet first and try to learn from blogs and forums for free. I may reccomend you to read this post on what are the best solar energy websites. And if you want to know what are the components of every solar system, you may also read it there. I hope this helps.
 
John T Jones
Posts: 1
Location: NE Georgia
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If you're still interested, I have a bunch of PDF files I can send you on it that you may or may not have seen.
 
Marcos Buenijo
pollinator
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Location: Southwest U.S.
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Danielle Black wrote:Hi all,

I am really excited about the idea of, one day, building my very own alternative energy system. Ideally this would involve both wind and solar energy. What I am trying to figure out right now is what parts I would need in order to make a control system for my solar/wind power. How do all of these components work together to keep the lights on? If anyone could offer prices for these components, that would be extremely helpful as well. Thank you so much for your help in advance!

--Danielle


Solar panels, mounting hardware, wiring, controller, battery, inverter, wind turbine w/alternator, tower, wiring, controller, may use same battery in solar system, back up generator.

Cost varies. However, note that the single greatest cost (especially over the long term) is going to be the battery. Based on my research, you won't lessen the long term cost of the battery by going cheap. Rather, you're just more likely to reduce system reliability and probably wind up spending more in the long run anyway.

The single most important step in building and maintaining your own alternative energy system is reducing electrical consumption.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Use solar for daytime and wind for nighttime, battery is the most expensive so max out everything else 1st.
Inverter, Battery, Charger, Load, Controller, Wire, Mounting, Solarpanel/Wind turbine.
 
Gerald O'Hara
Posts: 15
Location: 45.7187 N, -97.4436 W (where it is really cold)
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Danielle Black wrote:Hi all,

I am really excited about the idea of, one day, building my very own alternative energy system. Ideally this would involve both wind and solar energy. What I am trying to figure out right now is what parts I would need in order to make a control system for my solar/wind power. How do all of these components work together to keep the lights on? If anyone could offer prices for these components, that would be extremely helpful as well. Thank you so much for your help in advance!

--Danielle

It appears that you have gotten a variety of information here so I will not belabor the points already made. However, asking for "adivce" on prices, etc. without specifying your needs (either now or in the future) makes the entire issue diffiicult to assess.

Let's start by putting a few things into perspective. Once you do that, hopefully you will rapidly determine whether such an idea is actually within your means/ability.

Before you do anything in the "buy" column, you need to sit down and seriously examine your "needs". What are your specific needs? What can you "live without"? An alternative energy system for the way you probably live right now is going to cost in the range of $350,000 or so just to get the "hybrid system" you are "dreaming about".

I have a system in place and running (very much like what you are describing) and that is where I came up with the figure I used above. Let's examine the actual issue.

First, you have to know what your current standard of living uses in terms of energy expenditure. To do this, you might want to get a small item called a "Kill-a-Watt" and examine the actual energy expenditure of each and every item you wish to "preserve" for your "NEW" life style. It will cost you about $100. You plug it into the wall, and plug your item into it. Then it will tell you what the energy consumption of that item is. You extrapolate that into a monthly energy consumption plan and then go to the next step. There just is no sense in "buying" anything till you have a firm idea of what you will need. Further, what you currently use if not planned well will exceed what your system can produce and seriously disappoint you.

Once you have determined these numbers (and they will astound you) then you have to design a system that will produce what you "REALLY NEED" out of all the things you "currently use". Let's look at a example. light bulbs are an easy thing to examine. If you use ten 100 watt lightbulbs for 5 hours a day, you consume 5 kWh. (1000 WATTS (1 kW) X 5 HOURS) At the present time, one kWh of electricity costs about Eleven cents...at least where I live. Now, you have some place to start. Multiply that 5 kWh by 30 days and you have 150 kWh for that month alone in just light bulb use. Your cost is $16.50...just for those light bulbs.

Now you want to look at ALL your energy consumption items. If you have an electric stove and an electric dryer, you will quickly realize that your "alternative energy" system will closely approximate the "Hoover Dam" in consumption and become painfully discouraged... OR, you can consider alternative living choices to conform to your energy production capability. If you add this to your light bulb use, your hair dryer use, your refridgeration and freezer use and the list goes on, you will quickly see that any system you buy will need to generate and be able to provide you with somewhere in the range of 4000 kWh per month which in my neck of the woods would give an eletric bill of over $300. And that doesn't include the electricity your husband would use in the shop to weld, or light or operate his equipment. AND if you have animals and WINTER, you need to keep your water from freezing which uses about 500 watts or 12 kWh/day)

OK, now we begin to see that all of this starts to get a little more tricky unless you take some serious look at your "consumption" and decide exactly how much you are going to actually use. (by the way, air conditioning and heat weren't figured in to the above figures so you can add that to all of this)

Lets assume you have made the following alterations in your lifestyle.
1. You have changed every bulb in your house to LED which burns on average 0.1 watt per hour. While the cost of LED bulbs is coming down, the power cost for 100 light LED bulbs will cost less than a single 100 watt bulb with the "old system". You unplug your 52" Wide screen TV when it is NOT being used. So there is something you can do to be "ready" to buy your "alternative energy system".
2. You have built a "rocketmass heater" for your living space and now burn about a cord of wood over 4 months during the winter rather than the 4-5 cords with a regular fireplace or wood burning stove.
3. You let your hair dry after washing it without the use of a 1500 watt hair dryer which would suck all the juice out of your system in a matter of minutes.
4. You are cooking with liquid propane stove and using a tankless water heater which uses propane for it's fuel (or natural gas) (Ed. note: we can't get natural gas here in my neck of the woods...)
5. You wash your clothes once a week and actually wear them more than one day in order to minimize your water, soap and electricity consumption)

I can go on here but I think you get the idea. The desire to have an "alternative energy production system" is an admirable goal, but unless you approach it realistically, you will be frustrated at every step.

Now, based on the truth here, I will explain MY system. I currently have 16 solar panels (170 watts each) and a 3 kW wind turbine) which charge 24 AGM batteries (3 banks of 8, wired in series to give a 48 volt system)
Each of the batteries is 305 amp/hr. yielding 915 AMP/HR. Remember AMPs are the amount of flow, Volts are the pressure (if you equate Ohms law to water) I have a 6000 watt inverter and a charge controller for both solar panels and the wind turbine. In any given day I am not able to make the entire 6000 watts/hr because the sun doesn't come up till after 0800 and sets before 1700. That is nearly 9 hours of sun, most of which is not really very direct although my panels face south at the same angle as my latitude. My wind turbine does spin more than most places because I am located in the "Saudi-Arabia-of-WIND" here in the midwest. Just the same, it is not always spinning at 12 mph all day/every day.

Therefore, at my current utilization rate, I am able to light my house (yes, I have LED's and CFL's everywhere). I have the fridge and freezer on the system. I have the tankless water heater on the system which burns propane so it consumes very little. I have all energy efficient appliances and included in that is a pellet stove and a geothermal heating system. Despite these steps, I still consume power from the grid because I have to keep the cattle water from freezing, the welder able to work, and a variety of other power consuming items I choose to use; NONE of which will probably be available if we lose all to EMP.

If I choose to operate solely from my own system, I would have to cut WAY BACK in my consumption. My electric bill for last month was $350 and that included what I produce!

So, now that you have an idea as to the "realities" of an alternative power system from a "utilization" perspective, lets get down to cost. At the moment, Alternative energy systems cost in the range of $5/watt produced just for the equipment. Remembering any job costs 33% in materials and 66% in labor, you are looking at $100,000 for a system like mine. My good fortune is that I did most of my own labor. I let a licensed electrician do some stuff because I had to have it inspected. I brought all the wires to the boxes in the house and had him "hook it all up" saving me a lot of money. I designed and built my own tower for the turbine, and poured the 7 yards of concrete to provide its base.

In summary, you are now better equipped to plan your dream in a more "realistic" manner. Hopefully, you will be able to use what I have explained in order to give your family a better life with your own power.

I will answer any question you may have if I have not already terrified you with the "realities" of the situation.
 
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