Another important part of a solar installation is meeting all of the necessary regulations. A professional installer can help you navigate the complicated details of ensuring that your equipment and install complies with all local, state, and national building and safety standards. You may need to get approval from a local electrical inspector, and your installer will also make sure you’re meeting all applicable electrical codes. You may need approvals from city planning departments. Your installer will also help you work with your insurance company to meet any special requirements they may have. Your power company will also have specific requirements, and working with a solar installer will help you get everything set up correctly. Although it’s not a regulation, you’ll also want to follow all of the requirements that your solar panel manufacturer has laid out in their warranty, so that if you ever need to replace a panel you know that you’ve met all of their guidelines for installation.
Smaller panels are available for RVs, boats, and remote off-grid power systems. 12-volt panels are available in sizes from 5-160 watts. There are also small 24-volt panels available in a few sizes up to 190 watts. These solar panels have a nominal output of either 12 volts or 24 volts, which means they are designed for off-grid use and can’t be used in grid-tied PV systems. A few manufacturers offer flexible solar panels for RV, Marine and camping which are exceptionally lightweight and easy to install.
As you climb, work with a “spotter” who can alert you to dangerous conditions or potential problems. Depending on your tower’s design and construction, you may have to check handholds and footsteps as you climb, repairing or correcting defects with nearly every step. As you climb, focus on your next move; do not look all the way to the tower’s top, and steadfastly resist the urge to look down. Your brain and body can imagine you are on solid ground if you control where you direct your sight. When you reach the tower’s top, stay focused on the maintenance tasks you must perform. Unless you know your capacities and limits, and unless you have lots of climbing experience, you should resist the nearly overwhelming urge to take-in the view from up there. And, as you descend, resist the temptation to slide or rappel down the tower; for most climbers, coming down is tougher than going up.
If you're keen to living off the grid, take the time to consider which hybrid micro generation systems may be worthwhile for your home or cabin. The ability to generate your own electricity using solar panels and wind turbines can make an off-grid power system more stable by increasing the amount of time that energy is being produced, reducing dependence on energy stored in the batteries. These days, it's possible to generate electricity at a high level of efficiency without using fossil fuel generators . Once you've made the decision to live off of the grid and generate your own power, you need to select the renewable energy technology that best suits your needs. Our comprehensive guide helps you make the best choice for your home.

Only a community cooperative, municipal corporation or public-private partnership should buy a wind turbine. And when a community invests in wind energy, it should buy and build as aggressively and ambitiously as apparently crazy visionaries recommend, because wind power benefits from economies of size and scale. Bigger always is better; more and mightier always work better than just a few little ones. Although the biggest and best industrial wind turbines cost more than $1 million each, the more generators a community buys and installs, the more quickly they pay for themselves; and the higher the towers soar, the more electricity each wind turbine generates.
Before we discuss power centers (Inverters), lets hit on what a charge controller does. A charge controller is an electronic voltage regulator used in off-grid hybrid solar wind systems with battery banks to properly control the charge from the solar panels or wind turbine keep the voltage to the battery bank within acceptable limits. The charge controller automatically tapers, stops, or diverts power when batteries become fully charged. Without a charge controller your solar panels or wind generator would continue to send electricity to the battery bank and eventually destroy your batteries.

You can buy panels, racking, inverters, and more at SolarTown. As we continue through this article, we'll look at some of the products that are available and what each will cost. If you feel overwhelmed by all of the different options, we sell packages that include panels, racking, and the inverter at discount prices, so give that a look as well! You could have a 5kW system for $35,000. Try not to let the price tag turn you off - we'll look at government programs to help cover the costs in step 7.
Another thing to double-check on DSIRE is the installation requirement for any incentive programs you may apply for. Although I'm sure that the most Instructables users will opt for a DIY solar installation, you may not be qualified for state or local grants if you don't hire a government-approved contractor to do it for you. That said, a do-it-yourself solar project is both fun and rewarding! Check out the further reading for some advice on DIY solar.
"Hello, we have lots of wind in our area and I want to add a wind generator to my off-grid home. It is always windy here." Many a homeowner has learn an expensive lesson the hard way because they have not taken the time to understand the basics of wind generation which is wind generators placed in areas of insufficient average wind are like dams placed in streams with little water, they do not work.
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Net metering varies by state and by utility company, depending on whether net metering was legislated or directed by the Public Utility Commission. Net metering programs specify a way to handle the net excess generation (NEG) in terms of payment for electricity and/or length of time allowed for NEG credit. If the net metering requirements define NEG on a monthly basis, consumers can only receive credit for their excess that month. But if the net metering rules allow for annual NEG, the NEG credit can be carried for up to a year. Most of North America sees more wind in the winter than in the summer. For people using wind energy to displace a large load in the summer (like air conditioning or irrigation water pumping), having an annual NEG credit allows them to produce NEG in the winter and receive credits in the summer.[36]
When you decide to DIY your solar panels, remember that you get what you pay for. A home solar kit may be less expensive, but solar installers offer tremendous value for relatively little additional cost (remember that ten percent figure?). When it comes to installing an expensive electrical system on your property, finding someone who knows what they’re doing can actually save you both time and money in the long run.
On a side note I was reading one of your articles last month where you casually mentioned that you use like 250kW/month! How the hell can he do that I thought. We average 1800kW in sunny Florida in our 2 story 3200 sqft 1969 home. So digging even farther through your blog I discovered some hacks….no dryer, no lights (unless needed), etc….and actually measure where it is going. So I did, we did an experiment…killed the dryers (one upstairs and one down ….architect wife remember) and hunted for loss. Well we found a ton! Water heater set too hot, 2 amps. Old dishwasher 12 amps, and the list goes on. Making a few easy changes we dropped the used (not counting the solar) to less than 900kW. Still too high, but on the right track. We keep the air at 80 in summer and 63 in winter so not that :)
For simple installations such as solar garden lighting or heating your swimming pool with the power of the sun, there are viable, effective, and affordable DIY options on the market. However, with larger projects, such as whole-house solar, the process requires quite a bit of knowledge of electrical systems. Here are a few things to consider before going forward with your DIY solar project.

Another important part of a solar installation is meeting all of the necessary regulations. A professional installer can help you navigate the complicated details of ensuring that your equipment and install complies with all local, state, and national building and safety standards. You may need to get approval from a local electrical inspector, and your installer will also make sure you’re meeting all applicable electrical codes. You may need approvals from city planning departments. Your installer will also help you work with your insurance company to meet any special requirements they may have. Your power company will also have specific requirements, and working with a solar installer will help you get everything set up correctly. Although it’s not a regulation, you’ll also want to follow all of the requirements that your solar panel manufacturer has laid out in their warranty, so that if you ever need to replace a panel you know that you’ve met all of their guidelines for installation.

We currently have16 solar panels and 12 batteries with a 28kW system. We have a backup generator for cloudy or snowy days. I would like to see us get a wind turbine for nighttime power production. However, I do not want a 100 ft tower in my yard. Oh yeah, we are 14 acres at the top of Elk Wallow Mountain at 4,000 ft in North Carolina and can have winds up to 50mph. We are very remote and have been off the grid for 19 years. Isn;t there a smaller wind turbine available?

A third and final option also exists, and it is a hybrid solution between grid-tied devices and batteries. Some high end battery systems will feed back into the grid once the batteries have reached a certain charge, but these are quite expensive and the feature is normally only found on these much larger systems.  Homeowners can use this third option if they want back-up power if they live in an area with frequent power outages.  These can also be a good investment in areas that have time of use rates, so power can be stored during the day when rates are the lowest and used at night when rates are the highest.

Turbine A has a steady output of 250 watts constant therefore in 4 hours it produces 1 kilo watt hour. Over the period of a day the same wind generator in this example would produce 6 killo watt hours of the course of the day. 24 hours divided by 4 is 6 KWH. Estimating at this rate we can presume that at this average turbine A would generator about 180 KWH per month
You’ve heard it on the news and you’ve read the latest reports. Solar power is projected to become cheaper than coal in about 10 years. Just consider the significant drops in the cost of going solar – since 2009, solar prices have dropped 62%! What was once a far-reaching solution to lowering your home energy bill has now become a reality in the life of many homeowners. In fact, DIY residential solar kits are appearing on the shelves of big box stores. As a homeowner, you’re ready to get in on the action! And with a DIY kit, how hard could it be to start saving money on your monthly electric bill? In this article, we’ll cover what you’ll do to install a home solar energy system and the pros and cons of the DIY method versus hiring the professionals.
In the spirit of self-reliance and ecological responsibility, wind farms and wind generators have become an increasingly logical option for energy. The wind generator kits available are a huge step in that direction. Wind generators create and provide energy by harnessing an inexhaustible, renewable resource: the wind. There is a large inventory of wind generator kits available on eBay. The basic components of a wind generator kit include the wind turbine, the blades and hub, and the tail. There are many additional choices to consider with your wind generator such as tower height and length, amount and size of blades, and power translating efficiency. Wind/solar hybrid designs, tail extensions, and other customizable options and add-ons are also available, depending on your wants and needs. You can even add decorative details with a colored or American flag emblazoned tail. Alternative energy is becoming a more popular choice for people willing to invest in both the wind generator as well as the path to non-polluting energy it is forging.
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If you've been thinking about going solar, there's no better time than now to do it. Government financial incentives are still ripe for the picking, the cost of photovoltaic (PV) cells is falling every day, and you'll probably be the first person on your block to make the jump. Adding solar energy to your house is an excellent project for several reasons: You'll save loads on electricity, and may even be able to sell some of yours back to the utility company; you'll reduce your carbon footprint; and if you're installing in a remote location (such as a cabin), you'll have much less to worry about than you would with a gasoline generator. You'll also support a growing industry, and in doing so, help contribute to the worldwide adoption of this wonderful new energy source.
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Is the wind resource at your site good enough to justify your investment in a small wind turbine system? That is a key question and not always easily answered. The wind resource can vary significantly over an area of just a few miles because of local terrain influences on the wind flow. Yet, there are steps you can take to answer the above question.
Cities and suburbs had failed to keep pace with advances in alternative energy because they came of age in the sixties when everyone believed fossil fuel would last until nuclear power satisfied all our electrical needs. Now, as eagerness for the wind and solar power drives engineers and planners, preliminary studies suggest just about every North American community has geographic and weather conditions conducive to hybrid wind and solar power installations. We still can use our fingers to count the number of communities seriously considering investment in wind turbines.
This is great if you’re a handy DIY person with experience in these types of installations, but if not, you’ll need to hire a contractor to actually install the system onto your home. These contractors generally charge around $3-4,000 per installation, which will cut into your cost savings. However, most homeowners lack the technical expertise to correctly install solar panels so hiring a professional to do the job correctly is worth it in the long term. For more information check out our breakdown of solar panel costs here.
Module electrical connections are made in series to achieve a desired output voltage or in parallel to provide a desired current capability (amperes). The conducting wires that take the current off the modules may contain silver, copper or other non-magnetic conductive transition metals. Bypass diodes may be incorporated or used externally, in case of partial module shading, to maximize the output of module sections still illuminated.

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However, you are going to have to pay a licensed contractor to install the system and much of this savings may go to them. Because most licensed and experienced solar electricians work for solar companies they will often charge quite a lot for installation because they perceive they have lost the ability to make any margin on equipment. This may change over time but currently this is a big factor in why it is very difficult to save much money from a DIY solar project.
Wholesale Solar has designed the following Hybrid Gridtie System with Battery Backup for emergency power outages. A sophisticated Outback Power GVFX3638 vented inverter allows your gridtied solar panels and wind turbine to charge a battery bank, even when the grid goes down. With the help of a Wholesale Solar technician, you can select the appliances that you want powered during an emergency power outages, and then choose the correct battery bank size.
Solar mounts and solar trackers are nearly as important as the panels themselves. Solar mounts provide the stability your panels require to remain in place. Solar trackers allow you to orient your panels automatically to take maximum advantage of the sun's rays. The IronRidge, SnapNrack and UniRack roof and ground mount module racking we sell were developed by teams of engineers working with installers in the field to ensure quick, efficient installation.

This is pretty key. If your roof is covered in shade most of the day throughout the year, it might not have a favorable enough “solar window” to justify the costs of panels. That’s something you’ll want to assess before you move forward. If your roof won’t cut it, or you can’t make the call because you rent your apartment or live in a multi-unit building, you don’t have to give up on solar power altogether. Instead of installing your own panels, look into shared or community solar. This approach lets many different customers buy a stake in a solar installation and receive credits on their electricity bills.
These Primus Wind Power and Magnum Energy MidNite E-panels, combines one of the worlds best top brand small wind turbines, inverters and charge controllers. Mechanically and electrically engineered, every component of this kit has been specially selected to assure the highest performance in a safe simple-to-install system. Primus Wind Power is located in Colorado, USA and is a leading provider of high-precision, high-complexity assemblies and components for the energy, aerospace, defense and medical industries. Primus Windpower, MidNite Solar and Magnum Energy, American companies producing products made in America, creating American jobs. We like it... a lot!
Excellent article as always MM, we’ve been anxiously waiting for you to post it! This is something my wife and I have been researching for a while as well, especially since we got an electric vehicle. I would really appreciate more information on your financial numbers, especially how you calculate the returns and payback period. I did some math on this recently and found payback times on a 10KW DIY install were closer to 40 years before breaking even. This contrasted harshly with the numbers (8-10 years) that a local solar company was advertising. Not sure if they’re being misleading or if I missed something.
Well, coming to size and weight, it is obviously a bit larger and heftier. It has a rotor diameter of 5.6-feet and weight of 33 lbs respectively. However, it is easy for setting up on the rooftop of your home. It is also made of high-quality corrosion resistant materials for continuous performance anywhere. Use the link above to order a unit of the wind turbine.
These kits can also be used for a small building on your property that needs power, such as a barn or parking garage. Running electricity to these buildings can be expensive, particularly if all you need to power are a few light bulbs and small appliances. If you own a cabin that has a greater electricity demand and is off of the grid due to geographical reasons then a solar kit can be an excellent option.

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Rural America has relied on wind power for decades. Even after the government completed rural electrification in 1964, far-flung communities continued generating much of their own power from hybrid diesel/wind systems. And the windmill remains a fixture on most American farms-not because it represents a cute and quaint testimonial to times past, but because it makes perfect economic sense. Many large farms connected to the grid only as a back-up for their own more ambitious wind turbine installations. Most American farmers and small manufacturers recognize the wisdom of buying wind turbines instead of paying for electricity. Soon, owners and operators of large industrial and office complexes ought to see a considerable financial advantage in buying wind turbines, too.
Wire the solar panel : At the back sides of the solar panel a small junction box is there with positive and negative sign for polarity .In a large size solar panel this junction box have terminal wires with MC4 connector but for small size panel you have to connect the junction box with external wires.Always try to use red and black wire for the positive and negative terminal connection.If there is provision for earth wire the use a green wire for wiring this.
After the cells are attached so the substrate, finish the wiring by using extra tabbing or wires to attach the 4 columns of 9 cells in series.  To know what to attach to what, visualize all of the columns connected together in one big column.  Remember which tabs would be connected together in this arrangement and make the same connections in the 4 columns of 9.

Of the various configurations — grid-tied, grid-assisted and off-grid — offered by Wholesale Solar, based in Shasta, Calif., the most popular and least expensive are grid-tied that allow you to route excess power into the electric grid for compensation from the utility company. A simple 10-panel grid-tied system that produces 353kWh a month costs about $5,400. At the other end of the scale, an 80-panel system that produces 3,091 kWh a month cost about $43,000. (Note: These are ballpark costs before subtracting up to 30% for the Federal Tax Credit, state rebates or other financial incentives.) 

Reactive power—When the voltage and current waveforms for AC power are out of phase the resulting instantaneous power flow is modeled as real power and reactive power. The presence of reactive power increases the instantaneous current flow required to do work. The increase in current flow results in additional line losses. The utility tariff for larger customers may include a charge for reactive power compensation, measured in kilo-volt-amp-reactive.

This discussion is mainly about factory-made grid-tie wind turbines. The off-grid crowd has an entirely different set of decisions and goals. The main ones are that for off-grid use economic viability in comparison with the electrical grid is not an issue, and a wind turbine can make up for the loss of sunlight (and PV electricity) in the winter months. For the DIY group there are several good turbine designs available; Hugh Piggott and the two Dans have written books that outline this step-by-step. Building your own turbine can be a great hobby, and some of the topics touched below apply (such as proper site selection), but this discussion is not about those. The decisions involved in making your own turbine, and the cost basis, have little overlap with a the process of having an installer put a factory-made turbine in your backyard.
These kits can also be used for a small building on your property that needs power, such as a barn or parking garage. Running electricity to these buildings can be expensive, particularly if all you need to power are a few light bulbs and small appliances. If you own a cabin that has a greater electricity demand and is off of the grid due to geographical reasons then a solar kit can be an excellent option.
Here’s the deal: For a home wind turbine to be worth your investment, you really need to live on an acre or more. That’s the guideline from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Guide to Small Wind Electric Systems, a free publication for homeowners. Living in a rural area helps, because if you’re in a residential neighborhood, you’re likely to run into conflicts with zoning and local homeowners associations. Additionally, you’re more likely to find a high average wind speed in wide open spaces far from windbreaks such as buildings and trees. Altogether, while installing a small wind turbine in a city or suburb is certainly possible, you’re much more likely to have the right conditions for home wind power if you live well outside city limits.
The first component we are going to wire is the Charge Controller.At the bottom of the Charge Controller there are 3 signs in my charge controller. The first one from the left is for the connection of the Solar Panel having positive (+) and negative (-) sign. The second one with plus (+) and minus (-) sign is for the Battery connection and the last one for the direct DC load connection like DC lights.
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“The vision of the project is to make PV systems similar to an appliance, something that can be installed quickly, easily and safely, even by someone with no prior PV installation experience,” says Jacquie Ashmore, CSE engineering program manager. “If you buy a washing machine, you don’t buy 18 different components and assemble it yourself. You buy one big appliance and have it installed by a contractor or hook it up yourself.” 
Working with all my formulae and variables for wind turbines’ kW, I inadvertently, fortunately, have begun to sort my “need-to-know” list from my “wish-I-knew” list.  For example, I understand that “kilowatt” is the standard unit of measure for generating and consuming electricity; I do not really need to understand the relationship between watts and volts—at least, not yet anyway.  I must remember, though, that most of my appliances run on twelve-volt alternating current, and I cannot connect my (still imaginary) wind turbine directly to my household power without running it, first, through an inverter or transformer, converting it from direct current to alternating current.  Working-out my (still in the catalogue) wind turbine’s “kW,” I have mastered the difference between “power” and “energy”:  Oh sure, you think the two words represent the same atomic stuff surging through the wires, but “power” tells me what my (I should buy it) wind turbine can crank out in any old split-second.  “Energy,” on the other hand, tells me what my (durable, reliable, but still imaginary) wind turbine will produce over time—that kilowatt-hour deal that means so much.  Yes, I should know my wind turbine’s kW power, but I absolutely must know my wind turbine’s kW energy…first in kilowatt hours, for the sake of comparison, and then in kilowatts per month for the sake of calculating supply and demand.
In a normal residential application, a home is served simultaneously by the wind turbine and a local utility. If the wind speeds are low enough, the turbine will generate no electricity, and all of the electrical power must be purchased from the local utility. As the wind speed increases, the turbine’s output increases, and the homeowner’s electrical bill decreases. When the turbine produces more power than necessary, the extra power can be sold to the utility.
Each module is rated by its DC output power under standard test conditions (STC), and typically ranges from 100 to 365 Watts (W). The efficiency of a module determines the area of a module given the same rated output – an 8% efficient 230 W module will have twice the area of a 16% efficient 230 W module. There are a few commercially available solar modules that exceed efficiency of 24%[1] [2]

The article says it “may” cost you more. Meanwhile ive seen articles describing how installer have shortened previous install times from days to hours. Costs continue to decrease, probably from healthy competition. Your best DIY time is spent understanding the available technology, financing options, incentives, tax breaks, and where vendors will willingly compete for your business. The combined incentives are substantial, in some cases 60% of total cost, not including the reduced power bills. My advice is to Learn the costs and technology and ask for itemized quotes that include; panels, mounts, inverter(s), cables, meter, misc hardware, and most of all, labor. Incentives and discounts should also be separately itemized. Major components should include suppliers and model/part numbers. Car repair vendors are required to do this by law. I can think of no reason why this should be any different. If they wont quote component prices at least insist on supplier/part numbers so you can cost them yourself. If they wont commit to part numbers then cross them off your list. There are plenty of vendors out there. Base all figures assuming you will buy and own the system. You can quote financing, leasing, and service options separately. Get several contractor quotes and compare. You can readily price the same parts from online suppliers, then calculate the markup for each quote. As some have already noted here, the markup can be very high. Is the vendor making $10+K profit for a one or two day install? Published data shows that half the nations installers quote flat rates of $4.90 per KW – thats $25,000 for a 5KW system! And most people are unaware of the markup. Solar vendors have honed the “Green Power” pitch to the calculator challenged. The tax breaks and incentives make this worse. Legislators please take note. Incentive rules have produced a Cartel, where most incentive $$$ go to contractors at the expense of the consumers. Please join me, to the degree that you are able, to be an informed consumer. I am particularly offended by sales people who ask for my birthday (credit check) in the first minute. I am in the market for a solar power products and might later be interested in their financing, but only if it suits me. Birthdays are a major source of identity theft. Say no until its the proper time to discuss financing and then insist they put in writing their legal obligation to prevent disclosure. Solar power is becoming mainstream and economical. some helpful info. 1) For comparison, panels are specified by max power, aka “Standard Test”. Typically 200 to 300+ watts per panel. 2) add up past 12 power bills to get an daily average KW-HR usage. 3) Size your system to provide daily average in a few hrs. Example: 5KW system provides 20KW-HR in 4 hrs. 4) panels generate about 12 to 14 w/ft-sq. 5KW needs ~ 400 ft-sq. Or (20) 250 watt panels. 5) you need south facing surfaces. See panel sizes for how to arrange and fit on your roof or possibly ground area. 6) panels are available at, prices are $0.90 – $1.20/watt. Look for durability and warranty. 7) Grid tie inverters will run $2000 to $3000 for 5 to 10KW system. Look for efficiency, monitoring, and warranty. 8) Fed provides 30% tax credit. Find your state incentives for tax relief, low interest loans, permit rebates, etc 9) Power companies need renewable sources (you!) and they are reluctant to inform you about it 10) “Grid Tie” systems are most typical. “Backup” and “Off Grid” systems require more (serious DIY!) research. 11) Some places have complicated permitting. See “CPF DOE Permitting study” at Good Luck!

Watch me complete my windsmith’s midterm: The very biggest and best “small” wind turbine has the power to produce 50kw—in a gale.  On average, it runs at 30% of its capacity, so its energy comes in at a respectable 15kw, and “average” is a word which here means approximately the same as “in an hour.”  Okay, so my (I really want to buy it) wind turbine produces 15kw per hour or 360kw in a day.  We consume 0.69kw each day.  I do not even need to finish the problem to see that we could actually make some money on this deal.  If I have done all my calculations correctly, I will produce six times my family’s needs each day.
Before you go searching for websites that sell solar kits the first thing you should do is get at least one quote from a full-service solar company. You can do that online through our solar panels estimator. The advantages of this are that you find out what the cost of the competing option to a DIY solar project (a full-service installation) costs. You need to know this to know whether all the individual costs you face when doing a DIY installation (panels, inverters, racking, electrical sundries, service board upgrades, installation labor, permitting and inspections) are actually worth it. Click here to learn how much a solar installation for your home will cost.

Costs in addition to the turbine and the tower are the balance of system, including parts and labor, which will depend on your application. Most manufacturers can provide you with a system package that includes all the parts you need for your application. For example, the parts required for a water-pumping system will be different from the parts required for a residential, grid-connected application. The balance of system equipment required will also depend on whether the system is grid-connected, stand-alone, or part of a hybrid system. For a residential grid-connected application, the balance of system parts may include a controller, storage batteries, a power conditioning unit (inverter), wiring, foundation, and installation. Many wind turbine controllers, inverters, or other electrical devices may be stamped by a recognized testing agency, such as Underwriters Laboratories or Intertek.
There are in fact people that collect the original Edison batteries, and believe it or not some of them still work even today. The problem is people take the cheap battery way out and those batteries don't last. Buy good batteries and cry once. There is a company that offers the Edison type batteries for sale brand new, and that is the route I would suggest going. Buy good solar panels and Edison type batteries, and cry once. The only thing you will probably have to replace is he battery acid and maybe your inverter somewhere down the line.
Hybrid Solar Wind; Combining Wind Turbines with Solar Panels - Installing solar panels to generate electricity an ideal way to create power using the sun's energy. However, once the sun sets you're left drawing power from a battery bank. By using a combination of a small wind turbine and solar panels (Hybrid Solar Wind), it should be possible to generate sufficient electricity to power your home or cabin day and night. When the sun goes down, your solar panels lose their effectiveness, but your wind turbine keeps turning even on those overcast days.

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The NPower 400 Watt wind turbine is the ideal choice for off-grid power requirements. Charging begins at wind speeds as low as 5.6 MPH, providing clean, green battery charging. High quality marine-grade coating and construction is ideal for both land and sea environments. Includes MPPT (maximum power point tracking) charge controller, which optimizes power production. Aluminum alloy construction with low-noise 47.2in. dia. carbon fiber composite blades. Optional tower mounting kit (Item# 121072) is sold separately.
The cost has dropped significantly in the last several years, making it such that, with tax incentives or rebates, a grid-tie solar system will pay for itself in just a few years. Essentially, for the price of a few years electricity, you get 25 to 35 years of electricity. In fact, solar systems will likely keep on producing electricity at a lower rate for even decades after that.
Another good solar kit is the 100W WindyNation. It features one of the best controllers of the products that we reviewed, with an LCD display that shows statistical data such as voltage and the solar state based on the panel output of this kit. Whether you are installing it on your roof, your motorhome or even an outhouse or barn, you will find that this unit produces good results with its high-quality panel.
Seeing the usual gushing over "solar" energy, a contrarian point of view is needed. "Solar" energy is, obviously, nothing but battery power. I'll stick to the grid any day rather than see a countryside littered with millions of dead batteries. Let the energy companies do what they do best. Of course, it's fun to mess with the technology but, as a practical matter of sunlight availability especially in certain parts of the country, you're going to go to the grid someday for some period of time...and it ain't gonna be cheap. The only really viable application is where there is no grid (unless we're talking about the poles!)

Most people don't think in terms of particles, but light actually hits the PV (photovoltaic) cells as photons. As each photon hits the PV cell, it gives up an electron. While this is putting it somewhat simplistically, this is, indeed, the moment of conversion. The freed electron is absorbed by the silicon where it flows with other electrons into current; hence, electricity is born. Some scientists would say that the real tricky part is enhancing the cell with an electrical field to get all these electrons in line to flow as a current in the required direction: enter silicon.
Batteries – an off-grid system will need a bank of batteries to store the electricity. The turbine will produce electricity whenever it spins above the cut-in speed. So you can stockpile this energy in the batteries for when it is needed. Lead acid batteries (deep-cycle) are the most common kinds to use. They can be wired in series or parallel to make a battery bank.
Installing DIY solar panels is potentially dangerous from a number of perspectives depending on whether you are physically installing them yourself or hiring a contractor to do it. The installation itself can potentially be dangerous if you are not used to working at heights or with DC electricity and there can be ongoing risks of fire if the electrical work is not done by an experienced and qualified solar electrician.
I myself have yet to get a power bill measured in watts. The measure that is used is kilo watt hours. This simply means the use of 1000 watts a load for an entire hour. This is used to calculate how much power is used and how to size renewable energy systems. In the discussion as it relates to small wind generators it would be it would give a better understanding to consider which would produce more kilo watt hours in a day.