Wind turbines need a good wind resource. Off the grid homes on higher ground, with no obstructions between the turbine and the prevailing wind, are ideal, which is why coastal areas work well. The wind energy map can help you predict you average wind speed before installing your system. As a minimum, you need wind to hit the turbine at around 11 to 12 miles per hour. Local weather data will be helpful, but wind is very site-specific based on local terrain, site elevation, wind direction, and any obstructions such as trees or buildings. Check with your local code authority having jurisdiction because zoning and other planning restrictions may prevent you installing a turbine on your site.
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.
Beaufort scale—A scale of wind forces, described by name and range of velocity, and classified from force 0 to 12, with an extension to 17. The initial (1805) Francis Beaufort wind force scale of 13 classes (0 to 12) did not reference wind speed numbers but related qualitative wind conditions to effects on the sails of a frigate, then the main ship of the Royal Navy, from "just sufficient to give steerage" to "that which no canvas sails could withstand." Although the Beaufort scale has little use in site assessments, a system of tree flagging observations has been used to estimate prevailing wind directions and levels on the scale over time.
Besides that, the stakes are high—this is going on your roof, after all. “This is a big one. This is one where you can’t say, ‘well, if I make a mistake, the next time I’ll know better,’” says Jane Weissman, the president and CEO of the nonprofit Interstate Renewable Energy Council, which just released a consumer checklist and other resources for rooftop solar.

Now, it is time to consider site specific issues associated with installing the hybrid solar wind system. The most important factor in maximizing the performance of your wind generator is the correct siting on your property. The better the siting, the greater the performance. Small increases in average site specific wind speeds result in dramatic increases in energy output of your wind generator. For example, an increase in wind speed of 10% (10 mph - 11 mph; 4.5 m/s - 5 m/s) results in approximately a 30% increase in the power available from the wind. Therefore, the better the location the better the performance. As a rule, the small wind generator should be mounted as high and as faraway from obstructions as possible.

Besides that, the stakes are high—this is going on your roof, after all. “This is a big one. This is one where you can’t say, ‘well, if I make a mistake, the next time I’ll know better,’” says Jane Weissman, the president and CEO of the nonprofit Interstate Renewable Energy Council, which just released a consumer checklist and other resources for rooftop solar.
Roof mounts are especially great since they're aesthetically pleasing and don't take up any space in your actual yard. There's a lot to consider with roof mounts, however. Most importantly, you'll need to think about the actual strength of your roof. If you live in an older house, you might have to get your roof redone before you can start bolting PV panels to it. Thirty panels weighs an awful lot, and it'd be a shame to have the whole thing come crashing down into your living room. Besides the strength of your roof, you'll need to make some decisions as to whether it's the most effective location.
Governor—A device used to limit the RPM of the rotor. Limiting RPM serves to reduce centrifugal forces acting on the wind turbine and rotor as well as limit the electrical output of the generating device. Governors can be electrical, also know as "dynamic braking," or mechanical. Mechanical governors can be "passive," using springs to pitch the blades out of their ideal orientation, or an offset rotor that pitches out of the wind, or "active" by electrically or hydraulically pitching blades out of their ideal orientation.*
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.
"Jeremy was easy to work with and instilled confidence from the beginning. I never felt pressured to purchase, and every question was answered. I felt confident and I knew that if I had a question or an issue he would help. On the installation, I was a bit nervous at first but once I understood the layout and installation it went together quite fast, and it was relatively easy."

Should you lease your panels? Solar leasing is available in about half the states. The company installs solar panels for you in exchange for letting it collect your government incentives. Much like leasing a car, you don’t pay much, if anything, upfront, but you pay the company a monthly rent for as long as 20 years. Problem is, when those years are over, you don’t own anything. Either the company will remove the solar panels or you still have to buy them. A PPA or “power purchase agreement” is similar to a solar lease, only instead of paying rent, you agree to pay for the power the company’s panels produce.


Eventually, we should realize that net-metering is an incentive (needed at first to jump-start the rooftop solar industry), and that retail-wholesale rates are fairer to the utility and community all around. Net metering is when you over-produce in the summer, and get those kWhs back in the winter for free–you haven’t paid the utility for the transport and “storage” of the energy. Retail-wholesale is when the utility pays you the same rate they pay other power plants for each kWh (usually 1/2 to 1/3 the rate on your bill), and whenever you consume from the grid (evenings, cloudy days, winter), you pay the normal cost. That way, you pay the utility the infrastructure cost for moving that energy around. We have that here now, and I think it’s the way forward. But now, what they want to do is curtail the homeowner solar: using smart meters (and smart inverters), they would automatically shut down your production (turn off your inverter) when they have too much electricity (from their own solar farms). You would have to agree to this in order to be grid-tied, and remember, when they shut down your inverter, you can’t even use your solar power yourself. I think this is purely for profit motives and has nothing to do with the purported technical reasons.
In some cities around the country, solar is already cost competitive with the electricity sold by your local utility. The cost of going solar has dropped every year since 2009, a trend researchers expect to continue. Not only are the prices of panels dropping, so are the costs associated with installation, such as permitting and inspection—also known as “soft costs.” All of SETO's funding programs are working toward improving the affordability of solar and making it easier for consumers to choose solar.
Let’s start off with the 10% savings this article starts off with. DIY will save thousands off the company prices! Salesman make thousands off selling you a system. It’s almost a joke. Purchased my system in 2010 first inverter went in 2012. 10 year warranty but by that time nobody wanted to fix them not enough money in warranty work. My system was backed by Home Depot but if you pay it off before the interest kicks in there’s no help there. Don’t be fooled by the article saying the bigger companies buy better and pass it on they don’t that’s how there bottom line improves. I now have replaced 4 inverters 3 for me and 2 for neighbors. Fronius is great with replacement units but sometimes I get them and they have issues with them already. My suggestion is if you live in a salt air environment think twice. If your halfway smart you can do it yourself if you know construction but in the end you better know a good electrician whose reasonable with his prices. Only customer service you will get is if you lease a system cause they keep the SREC’s another part of their profit they either don’t tell you about or brush off!
So you got your cells in the mail. Let’s say you received solar cells totaling 194 watts for $105+shipping (an actual example from ebay) that you carefully unpack, taking care not to break them, as they’re very thin. Now find yourself some tools like a soldering iron, solder, solder paste or flux (for removing the grease off the wires), a saw, some wooden board and protective glasses, a multimeter to measure voltage and amperage. And, of couse, a pencil and a ruler.

Thin-film comes on a roll of flexible material. Though crystalline modules are more popular, thin-film is gaining a strong foothold in the market due to its ease of use. The two biggest advantages of thin-film are cost and convenience, since installation is as simple as slapping the module onto a smooth surface. One major drawback of thin-film, however, is durability - Thin-film usually only lasts around 25 years. Compared to crystalline, thin-film is usually more efficient in the dark, but less efficient in general.

Is my state an SREC state? Roughly 30 states plus the District require power companies to generate a portion of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar. Power companies will pay you to help them do this. SREC stands for solar renewable energy certificate. For every 1,000 kilowatt hours of solar power you generate, you earn one SREC. Your utility will buy it from you — for as much as $480 in some areas.

Wind Resource Considerations -- If you live in complex terrain, take care in selecting the installation site. If you site your wind turbine on the top of or on the windy side of a hill, for example, you will have more access to prevailing winds than in a gully or on the leeward (sheltered) side of a hill on the same property. You can have varied wind resources within the same property. In addition to measuring or finding out about the annual wind speeds, you need to know about the prevailing directions of the wind at your site. In addition to geological formations, you need to consider existing obstacles, such as trees, houses, and sheds. You also need to plan for future obstructions, such as new buildings or trees that have not reached their full height. Your turbine needs to be sited upwind of any buildings and trees, and it needs to be 30 feet above anything within 300 feet.
When you decide to get solar panels for your home, it’s tempting to consider installing them yourself—after all, going the DIY route is a great way to save money on many different home improvement projects. But solar power is a different story. It’s highly recommended that you work with a professional solar installer, and here are some of the reasons why.
Connecting the leads in itself to an electrical load, while closing the current path, does not allow to the electrons to flow, despite the positive and negative imbalance. It takes sunlight hitting the silicon in the solar cells to loosen up electrons. And as soon as they a freed up, they immediately start flowing through the wires to power your electrical loads. The more sunlight shines on the cells, the more electrons loosen up, the more electrical current flows and the more power it produces.

I don’t own, but I hope that some of the landlords that read your blog see this article! My apartment complex recently put panels up on the main office as a “test drive” for the rest of the complex. Renting makes sense for me in the big city, but I hate that renting usually equals bad environmental choices. The costs benefit analysis is probably fuzzier when utilities are paid by the renter though. I’m thinking my complex will shift their policy if they really go for solar so that they get the surplus returns!

I put caulk on the backs of each cell in a column of 9, then picked the whole column up by the tabs at the top and carefully laid the column down on the substrate.  My daughter helped me keep everything lined up properly as you can see in the picture.  (This is a great project to do with your kids, by the way!)  These are homemade solar panels so the gaps between cells and the columns aren’t precise.  I don’t think it had any impact on power output so don’t think you need to be perfect.

Flagging, the effect of strong winds on area vegetation, can help determine area wind speeds. Small wind site assessors can help you determine whether you have a good wind resource on your site. State or utility incentive programs may be able to refer you to site assessors with training in assessing the wind resource at specific sites. Computer programs that estimate the wind resource at a particular site given specific obstacles are also available. Site assessors and computer programs can help to refine the estimates provided on wind resource maps.
Equipped with an OutBack Power's Radian inverter, this hybrid wind and sun grid-tie systems will power 120-volt and 240-volt circuits. Designed with true off-grid capability, you can charge your battery bank with solar panels and a wind generator. More versatile than the systems above, these systems also have a "grid-assist mode" for folks mainly interested in being off the grid, but would like to have access to grid power.
We decided to go with a grid-tied system, which is much more cost effective than an off-grid system. One advantage is that you don’t have to buy batteries, which are expensive and have to be replaced from time to time. You can also choose to install a smaller, less expensive system that generates just a portion of your electricity. On the downside, grid-tied systems provide no electricity when the power grid is down.

Batteries are an important part of your solar kit installation if you plan on using your stored solar power when the sun goes down. Most solar kits don’t come with batteries, so you will have to choose the best battery for your needs. Luckily you can use the above formula to work out exactly what you need to keep your system powered up when you need it the most, at night.
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.

You need to make sure that all the tiny little lines in the negative side of the cells are interconnected (a way to gather all the electrons from the surface). This step is not necessary for all cells, only for the ones like in this picture, which don't have any connection between the lines on the surface. you can use the conductive pen to draw a thin line which connects all of them. Once you do that, you will immediately see the voltage rising for that specific cell.
Paying to have solar panels cleaned is often not a good investment; researchers found panels that had not been cleaned, or rained on, for 145 days during a summer drought in California, lost only 7.4% of their efficiency. Overall, for a typical residential solar system of 5 kW, washing panels halfway through the summer would translate into a mere $20 gain in electricity production until the summer drought ends—in about 2 ½ months. For larger commercial rooftop systems, the financial losses are bigger but still rarely enough to warrant the cost of washing the panels. On average, panels lost a little less than 0.05% of their overall efficiency per day.[28]

Now you have to connect the solar panel to the charge controller.At the back side of the Solar Panel there is a small junction box with 2 connected wires with positive(+) and negative (-) sign.The terminal wires are normally smaller in length.To connect the wire to the charge controller you need a special type connector which is commonly known as MC4 connector.See the picture.After connecting the solar panel to the charge controller the green led indicator will light if sunlight is present.

PROS: Solar kits are easier to install comparing to DIY solar install, but given the cost effectiveness and satisfactory results, conclusion is that DIY solar panels are definitely worth making. The collector, at the very least, can be used for additional heating of your home, and it is up to you to calculate and figure out how much money you can save with renewable energy…
Photovoltaic modules use light energy (photons) from the Sun to generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect. The majority of modules use wafer-based crystalline silicon cells or thin-film cells. The structural (load carrying) member of a module can either be the top layer or the back layer. Cells must also be protected from mechanical damage and moisture. Most modules are rigid, but semi-flexible ones based on thin-film cells are also available. The cells must be connected electrically in series, one to another.
First, you’ll need some wood to attach the solar cells to called the substrate.  You can use whatever you have laying around like cheap fiberboard.  Make a 3×6 inch template with a piece of paper and draw out where you cells will lay on the substrate.  After you have things drawn out the way your want, cut the substrate with a little room around the edges.

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.

The soldering is super easy and will go fast once you get the hang of it.  This is a great first soldering project because it is so easy.  Put the cells face down on the table and bring the tab from the front of one cell to the back of the next one.  There will be metal squares or pads on the back of the cell.  Press the tab down on the metal pad with the soldering iron to heat them and then press the solder on the tab.  The solder will melt and attach the tab to the pad.  If you aren’t experienced at soldering, make sure you heat the metal and apply solder to the metal.  Do not heat the solder.  If you end up with the tab connected to the pad and nice shiny solder, you’re doing it right.  Keep going until you have 9 cells in line like this.
Some utilities require small wind turbine owners to maintain liability insurance in amounts of $1 million or more to protect them from liability for facilities they do not own and have no control over. Other utilities consider the insurance requirements excessive and unduly burdensome, making wind energy uneconomic. In seven states (California, Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington), laws or regulatory authorities prohibit utilities from imposing any insurance requirements on small wind systems that qualify for net metering. In at least two other states (Idaho, Virginia), regulatory authorities have allowed utilities to impose insurance requirements but have reduced the required coverage amounts to levels consistent with conventional residential or commercial insurance policies (e.g., $100,000 to $300,000). If your insurance amounts seem excessive, you can ask for a reconsideration from regulatory authorities (in the case of private investor-owned utilities) or the utility's governing board (in the case of publicly owned utilities).
Equipped with a 3-phase External Rectifier pigtail. This small black connector on the back of the unit allows you to run less costly 3-conductor wire to your battery location instead of large heavy battery cables in addition to lessening the voltage loss you get with DC power. Once at the battery location the 3-phase power is fed into the included Charge Controller and is converted to DC for connection to the battery.
There are 2 other problems that he has not mentioned, and should be. The first is degradation. Solar panels will be less powerful over time. The rule of thumb is 1% a year. Certainly future tech can, and likely will ameliorate that, but today 1% is a solid number. The second problem is that, for his carbon calculations, he does not consider the energy cost in making the panels. It takes a lot of energy to make the panels, and while I am a fan, installing them in low stability areas is not “good for the planet”. To say it another way, you don’t get enough energy out of them in places like Vancouver, as compared to New Mexico, to justify the energy lost to make, transport, and install them. One also should consider what do do after the panels are done, and what to do with the toxic metals in them. My point here is that they are not perfect nor clean. Each power option has it’s drawbacks, even if all of them are not carbon emissions.

Every household will need to run its own cost-benefit analysis on this basic trade-off. Buying your own system costs more up front but pays bigger dividends; leasing lets you access cheaper electricity with little or no money down, but the benefits are more limited. If you lease, the company you contract with owns the system, and you pay them a certain rate for the electricity; when the lease is up, they might take the system away. When you own the system, it can keep working for you long after it pays off the cost of the purchase. Make sure you compare the total lifecycle cost of the lease and weigh the savings against the benefits you would get from ownership.
"I came across Wholesale Solar's website and found out that we could purchase a system and install it ourselves. I researched their products and called several times with questions. Wil was readily available to answer every question, spent time looking at pictures that I sent of our property, and gave us several options that he felt would work well.
One of the mistakes which is often made by the newbie who is trying to size a generator is that they buy specifically by a voltage classification. Remember as we discussed before windmill generator builder tend to rate their voltages at direct drive rpm 150-250 at a given voltage. This does not mean that if the permanent magnet alternator is turned at a higher RPM that the generator will not exceed 24 or even 48 volts. This is to say that in the case that you may have a hydro machine is cable of higher gearing and higher RPM that it may be better to in fact us a 24 or even a 12 volt rated permanent magnet alternator.
I bought a diy solar panel guide before starting my project.  The one I chose is called Green DIY Energy.  In order to help people out, I bought several of the most popular guides and reviewed each of then.  Green DIY Energy is the most comprehensive with over 200 pages of ebooks and 6 DVD quality videos that cover the entire build process from start to finish.  I especially liked the videos.  When I built my first solar panel I followed along with the videos and at the end of the weekend, my solar panel was finished.
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Governor—A device used to limit the RPM of the rotor. Limiting RPM serves to reduce centrifugal forces acting on the wind turbine and rotor as well as limit the electrical output of the generating device. Governors can be electrical, also know as "dynamic braking," or mechanical. Mechanical governors can be "passive," using springs to pitch the blades out of their ideal orientation, or an offset rotor that pitches out of the wind, or "active" by electrically or hydraulically pitching blades out of their ideal orientation.*
I would recommend micro-inverters on each panel if shading is an issue. That way only the panel with shade will suffer from power degradation as opposed to the entire array suffering when using a single inverter. They also give you ability to monitor each panel on-line for performance/issues etc. Makes troubleshooting a breeze. Also when factoring in future performance don’t forget to include panel power degradation. After roughly 20 years you should still be seeing at least 80% output from the panels themselves though, so not a huge issue.
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