How to grid tie a wind turbine is one of the questions we receive on a regular basis. So what are your options?
At Hurricane Wind Power we routinely run into customers looking for a solution to directly grid tie wind turbines without the use of batteries. To hook and electricity producing wind turbine to your electrical grid to backfeed your grid and reduce power bills, many electrical companies require the inverter to be UL 1741 approved. This may be required by electrical inspectors and/or may be an issue with your home insurance. Regardless, on a daily basis we run into consumer who explain that they wish to purchase these types of systems and have received permission to use non UL 1741 approved inverters.
Keeping your homeowner's insurance in mind, electrical codes and/or all state, federal and local laws in mind, these issue must be fully consider prior to purchasing a small wind turbine grid tied system. Historically companies such as SMA made the "Windy Boy" and Aurora made direct grid ties which were hardwired into your electrical panel and met these UL and electrical code criteria. Currently we are unaware of any direct grid tie wind systems that meet the UL 1741 standard.
Regardless, we have many consumers who give us at Hurricane the feedback that their electrical company does not care so long as the inverter has anti islanding protection and they receive permission to proceed with an instillation. Many customers have advised as long as the inverter has "anti islanding" protection, which simply means that when the grid is down the inverter does not back-feed into the power grid which could potentially injure a lineman. Secondarily, backfeeding into the grid during a power outage could create a "brown out" situation in your power grid where there is some power but not enough to meet a surge damaging appliances. So what are your options?
Hurricane is now offering a direct plug and play grid tie wind turbine system with an adjustable MPPT window that will allow the 48 volt XP and Vector Wind Turbine to be directly grid tied to the electrical grid. These kits plug into a standard electrical socket which truly make this a plug and play grid tied wind turbine solution. It is important to not as previously stated these inverter do not have the UL 1741 standard and it is completely up to the home owner to determine if the user kit is acceptable to their local utility, meets electrical code in their locality and or is acceptable to their insurance company. These kits come with a grid tie which has a built in overload protection and a diversion load in the event the grid is down to consume the energy which is being made in a resistor thus not delivering power to the home and or electrical line.
If you are not lucky enough to get approval to use one of these devices then your options are using and Outback VFX 3524 or Outback VFX 3648 or Radian 8048 which is grid tied with battery backup system. The Schneider Electric Conext XW 6848 is a battery based system and are hard wired and meet the UL 1741 certification. Building this type of infrastructure is the best bet in many regards as such a grid tie inverter has the capacity to add extra wind turbine and or solar to your grid tied system. In the event of a home to meet the extensive power demands these type of products in many ways are better long term solutions. Having battery back up, these type of inverters have the ability to run your appliances and AC electrical system during a power outage through a critical loads panel. The end result is to keep you out of the dark. Having batteries in the system also acts as a buffer so your AC side loads have a reserve to pull from and are able to be powered without pulling from the grid so long as you have sufficient power saved up in your batteries. The obvious downside is the cost of batteries and the more expensive inverters.
Hurricane's recommendation for those looking for a serious system to meet their long term power usage on their home, is to stay with the UL listed inverter that are heavier and have much greater capabilities in many regards. We do however recognize those who are hobbits and wish to experiment with wind power. It is in this capacity which we have decided to offer the plug and play kits. Remember it is up to you to check all state, local and federal laws codes, electrical company policies and insurance regulation prior to commissioning an non UL certified system. This being said, we have tested the system we are selling coming upon a year and have had great so far. Keeping cost in mind we believe it is a needed system to get started with for those who do not have the commitment to go all in for the more costly systems described prior.