Beginner guide to setting up solar panel its and residential wind generators
So now that you are considering renewable energy systems where do I begin? The simple and easy and probably most convenient thing to do is call and speak with a specialist who can help you put your system together at hurricane wind power. We are real people with real experience in developing systems and providing great products and the best values available.
If you’re here for research we got you covered to so here is our straightforward guide putting together a system whether it be wind solar microhydro or some combination thereof there are some common consideration which you to start with. I will for the sake a discussion provide my opinion as well as what some others may have to say on the subject which we may or may not be in agreement. In short there are many ways to do things and I write this guide with the intention of assisting you. If that is not the case of course there are many opinions in the field of renewable energy about just about every topic. Conflicting information on social media, blogs and post board cloud the water so to speak more often than not.
Now with all of these things being said in simplest terms a portable power system could be established with a deep cycle battery which could power dc appliances. When one wants to run 110 volt appliances then in becomes necessary to use a power inverter. Before we get to that lets take a moment to briefly look at typical system voltages used in common wind and solar systems, 12 volt systems are probably the most common. People new to wind and solar have a familiarity with 12 volt DC systems and they seem like logical starting point for many. These systems are great for stand alone, emergency backup, and smaller applications. 12 volt power systems are limited to a certain extent in that they are inefficient. By this I mean that the power inverter has to multiply the inverted DC power to 110 volt AC by a factor of around 10. As a result 12 volt inverters are not typically as efficient as power inverters in 24 or 48 volt applications.
12 volt systems are also limited in that considering the power formula volts times amps = watts we have high amperage passing through 12 volt systems of higher power ranges. This results in the need to use heavier gauges of wire. As well as in the case of an MPPT charge controller a unit such as the midnite classic 150 which can handle 96 amp input if we consider using a pv array of a mere 1000 watts we would looks at the sizing in the following way 1000 watts solar divided by 12 volts =1140 watts which uses most of the capacity of the controller
In the same context 4000 watts of solar divided by 48 volts uses about 83 amps of capacity so as you can see in terms of using high efficiency controllers with larger systems 48 volts uses lighter gauge wires is more efficient and is the logical choice for applications with larger needs. 24 volt systems come in somewhere in between and we use them for smaller homes and applications which are a bit to much for 12 volt. Many preppers and homesteader will however dismiss my analysis and view a 12 volt system preferable due to the prevalence or availability of inexpensive power inverters in the case of and emergency. In should be noted that there are no UL listed 12 volt grid ties that I am aware of. If you set up a 12 volt system currently know no way of back feeding the power grid which does not involve a cheap house burner grid tie hailing from China.
Once you have decided on which battery voltage in inverter is the next logical decision that we recommend. There are a few basic types of power inverters. Some inverter are stand alone and devices are plugged into the so we have “stand alone power inverters” hardwired power inverters which as the term suggests mean they can be wired to an electrical panel to provide power to outlets in a home boat RV or cabin. Inverter chargers are often hardwired as well but inverter charger as the term suggests use the grid power to charge the battery backup when the wind solar or other renewable energy source cannot keep up or this can be used in a boar or camper to connect to shore power and charge marine batteries. Lastly there are grid tie interactive inverters. These power inverters back feed power into the power panel to power up appliances from renewable power sources and are often hooked up in what is known as net metering to sell power back to the grid at times when production exceeds usage. Gtid tie interactive inverters have battery backup and direct feed option with no battery back up.
Power inverters usually come in what is known as pure or modified sine wave power wave forms. Grid tie interactive devices will always use pure sine and will synchronize with the grid power source. Stand alone inverters and some inverter chargers may utilize what is known as a modified wave form technology. These inverters are what are mostly seen with cheaper products and while some are decent products if budget allows these devices are generally not the ideal. While I have spoken to many customers who swear by a particular name or brand of specific modified sine wave inverter over the years my experiences are as follows.
Money sometimes dictates what we have and my first power inverter was a large modified sine wave unit. It worked ok but these are the things I noticed. When I used my dewault Miter saw the motor sounded different. I did not like it. Florescent lights buzz and in some cases there are appliances that a modified sine wave inverter simply will not run. I have seen a microwave not able to start and they are not ideal for sensitive electronics. In general for units that are being charged by battery such as a laptop or cell phone I have not noticed in detriment in using the cheaper modified inverter.
Solar wind or hydro or both?
I have 3 words for you location location location. In general terms if you are in a location to have strong water running there is much more power available in water than the wind. We are not hydro specialist but there is a tremendous potential there for 24 – 7 power. In many locations solar will do most of the heavy lifting for a system. Viewing a wind zone map of the country you will find that the average wind speed is not very high. While there are many area in which wind provides and good source of power as a primary power source in many location it prove invaluable as a backup to the solar primary. In our area on one of our properties we get ample power to product generous power from our hurricane wind generators year round. On another we have found that the wind backs up the solar nicely on days in the winter with shorter days when it is partly cloudy or at night and the wind is howling.
Back to my point about location, According to the map both of our properties are in the same wind zone and the results and application of the wind powered products could not be much different. In my experience it is not a matter of wind or solar or wind but both complimenting each other. If you are considering wind power you should read our page on permanent magnet alternators as if you do not understand how these work you will likely find your first experiences with trying to make power with the wind troubling,
Solar panel systems come in many shapes size and variations. We have 12 volt solar panels fr off grid battery charging. Larger systems typically use larger 24 volt panels with mppt controllers. A topic which usually dominates conversation about solar panels for many is efficiency of the panel. While much ink is spilled on this topic for most installations it is from my point of view one of the most irrelevant. Which weighs more a lbs or bricks or a lbs of feathers? The same hold true with which outputs more power a high efficiency 100 watt solar panel or a low efficiency solar panel. This is only a generalization and the efficiency can affect the power output over time but I just included the point for the sake of understanding. Generally speaking when you need to make sure you buy very high efficiency panels is when you are working with limited space. If you only have a few feet on a sport boat yes all of a sudden a very costly 22 percent efficiency panel can make sense.
Lastly all over the web you will find much ink spilled over the pecking order of panels monocrystaline , polycrystalline or amorphous panels. Much written will explain that mono is the most efficient so that it is the best ect ect. Our experience is that as with all products they are like tools and depending on the application one can be better than the other. In northern climates amorphous panels thin film and Stion panels perform better due to their ability to output power in ambient light. We are partial to our Synthesis solar panel line which is a poly panel. We have experienced more power over time and at the end of the day making the most kilowatt hours over time is the most important thing about any power input device.
Find out how my power usage.