The peak power rating, Wp, is the maximum output under standard test conditions (not the maximum possible output). Typical modules, which could measure approximately 1 m × 2 m or 3 ft 3 in × 6 ft 7 in, will be rated from as low as 75 W to as high as 350 W, depending on their efficiency. At the time of testing, the test modules are binned according to their test results, and a typical manufacturer might rate their modules in 5 W increments, and either rate them at +/- 3%, +/-5%, +3/-0% or +5/-0%.[18][19][20]
Solar panels, grid-tie / off-grid kits and home backup power. The do-it-yourself (DIY) craze is hardly crazy when one considers the mind-boggling cost savings resulting from this trend nationwide. In fact, many people wouldn't call it a trend at all, merely a return to the practical know-how of yesteryear when people simply had to do it themselves and took great pride in their handiwork! Yet few DIY projects are as cost-saving and investment-rich as the installation of a solar system.
In a different reply above, I mentioned that retail-wholesale rates are much more equitable. You get paid the wholesale rate for the kWh you put into the grid, similar to what the industrial solar farm gets paid. The utility immediately resells that kWh at the normal rate, which has the transmission, maintenance, and admin costs built in. When you need a kWh in the evening or on a cloudy day, you pay the normal (retail) rate as well, thus you pay for the electricity and transmission, maintenance, and admin costs as well. Typically, the wholesale rate is 1/2 to 1/3 of the retail rate, so you have to produce 2 to 3 times as much as you consume from the grid to zero your bill (including any fixed monthly fees).
Home wind energy systems generally comprise a rotor, a generator or alternator mounted on a frame, a tail (usually), a tower, wiring, and the "balance of system" components: controllers, inverters, and/or batteries. Through the spinning blades, the rotor captures the kinetic energy of the wind and converts it into rotary motion to drive the generator, which produces either AC or wild AC (variable frequency, variable voltage), which is typically converted to grid-compatible AC electricity.
Practices vary dramatically across the country so becoming familiar with the local regulations, authorities, and general requirements is helpful. In some cases, zoning and permitting expectations are consistent and straightforward. In other cases, hearings may be required and the process is uncertain. A project designed within the existing limitations will experience a much smoother permitting process and will be more likely to receive a permit. But if your project falls outside of defined limits, it must usually undergo a special review process to obtain a variance from the existing rules and regulations — a potentially expensive and time-consuming process that often involves at least one public hearing and has no guarantee of success.[8]
Most utilities will have an information package and a person who specializes in the utility requirements. We found our local utility and code inspectors helpful and friendly. We didn’t pick up a hint of resistance from them regarding the idea of a homeowner-installed PV system. Permit costs and turnaround times were small. Check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) for information on rebates in your state.

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.
Mind you, in the upper Midwest, it won't produce near the power it did in the southern desert. It produces 5-6 Amps in "full sunlight" which means no clouds, no trees, no buildings. Low angle sun in the north doesn't deliver near the illumination that high angle southern desert sun does. This is why solar doesn't pay back in Detroit, Chicago or Minneapolis. Not enough sun.
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.
We are also seeing our local utility stigmatize distributed generation (their industry term for homeowner roof-top panels). A utility is a way for investors to park their money (build a power plant) and get guaranteed returns (protected by rate increases, where the PUCs are mostly regulatory capture). So they don’t like it when homeowners can produce their own power and zero out their electric bill. Most of them are building their own solar farms now, because it is cheaper than fossil fuels for daytime production, and because they still want to sell you power, not have you make it yourself. But if you think about it, it’s better to have 100,000 panels on 5000 roofs spread across the city than in a single location that can be shaded all at once by a single cloud–the power generation will be smoother.
Great points Angela. The efficiency side of the equation is often overlooked. The best ROI comes from efficiency efforts: they are the low-hanging fruit. LED bulbs are as easy at it gets. High-efficiency appliances should be the only consideration when making a new purchase. Tightening up the house by sealing cracks (especially in exterior drywall and around the rim joist of the house, two common offenders) can be surprisingly effective as well.
Each time it’s accompanied by some type of announcement about how great solar is, and how they are building or have a solar farm, and they love solar. The next paragraph though, talks about how if you have solar panels, they are charging you more, or somehow increasing the costs. When I started getting quotes, payback was calculated at 6.3 years. Now, 4 years later, I’m looking at about 10.5 years . . . from today. Functionally, they have more than doubled my costs.
From a strictly financial perspective, I’m still not sold. The returns you mentioned (about 12%) are great but aren’t factoring in the loss of principle. I suppose the system will have value in the future for resale, but I have a hunch in ten years that setup will be laughably outdated. Not as outdated as no setup, however :) But it’s not all about the money, and I appreciate the clear info. It looks much more DIY than I thought.

Solar leases and PPAs allow consumers to host solar energy systems that are owned by solar companies and purchase back the electricity generated. Consumers enter into agreements that allow them to have lower electricity bills without monthly loan payments. In many cases, that means putting no money down to go solar. Solar leases entail fixed monthly payments that are calculated using the estimated amount of electricity the system will produce. With a solar PPA, consumers agree to purchase the power generated by the system at a set price per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced. With both of these options, though, you are not entitled to tax benefits since you don’t own the solar energy system.
Although solar battery backups are outside of the scope of this article, I find it necessary to at least mention them and why they are useful. First, battery backups are good in the event of a blackout. Unfortunately, your solar panels will not power your home if the lights shut off. This is to prevent your system from frying a lineman who's repairing the grid. A battery blackout will let you keep your refrigerator running while the power's out. Second, if you are running an off-grid system, you'll need the batteries when the sun's not shining.
A bit on how small wind turbine worked or has worked in the past and how our product is different. To understand how a wind generator works you must first understand that a generator in and of itself does not make power it converts kinetic energy and torque from a set of blades to electrical energy. It would seem that while the average consumer or individual has a compression of this concept when they understand that a utility scale wind turbine with huge blades makes more power than a micro wind turbine. At some juncture this logic is lost on many consumers which are seemingly now making purchasing decisions based on a “wattage ratings” that in my experience is simply made fictional accounts in some cases fabricated by some small wind vendors. Some members of the small wind enthusiast community have coined a term and refer to this as “watt wars”. While the watt wars are good for some unscrupulous individuals who are seeking to gain any competitive advantage they might in a competitive market what these companies have succeeded in is in essence confusing consumers, fostered unrealistic expectations of their products, and in many cases exodus many consumer and small wind enthusiast from the hobby. At a minimum these individuals have drawn focus away from what is important in small wind and to a greater extent renewable energy as a whole.
Solar Power Rocks provides free comprehensive guides to solar policy and incentives for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with hundreds of helpful and informative articles about recent solar news and general information related to home solar power. For media inquiries, general questions, or to report an error, you can reach us here.

That last one refers to net-metering, the practice by which utilities reimburse rooftop solar at the same rate as they charge users for electricity. This is politically fraught territory: some states, like Nevada, have adopted policies where utilities pay less for surplus solar, which makes it harder to recoup the cost of the installation. For a handy guide to where each state stands on this, check out this solar scorecard.
I had modified an alternator myself using the permanent magnet rotor and the low wind speed winding.  It actually starts charging at about 5~6 mph.  Recently I lost my setup to 95 mph winds and am just getting around to get it back up and running.  I recommend going up a step or two in the sizing of the guy wires.  Use the double clamp method on all guy wires for the most secure step up.  You will not regret it in the long run if you ever run into a similar situation.  I do recommend the kit over messing with the old alternators, the cost savings is very small.
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Matched this PMA up with a Six-Pack of Air-X Blades after buying it on Ebay. The BladeSpeed was mindboggling and the Volt meter went to 110+ during one gust. Saturday, July 11th 2009 about 3:30 p.m. Mohawk Highlands N.Y. Average for the day was about 40-50v in 12-16mph winds. 11ft. Tower. I highly recommend this product. The mount is very sturdy and pivots perfectly on the (Teflon) washer. Excellent customer service, shipping, and packaging. I've been building these for about six months. I've experimented with many kinds of motor and blades.
A residential wind turbine can cut the homeowner’s electrical bill in half. Wind turbine owners can reduce their utility costs to less than $20 for nine months during the year. The cost savings for a home wind product is based on the installation cost, the electric usage of the homeowner, and the amount of wind present at the home site. An average home having all modern electrical appliances uses about 9400 kWh of electricity per year (783 kWh per month). Assuming reasonable wind speeds throughout the year, a wind turbine of 5 kW to 15 kW power output would provide the required electricity. If you create more energy than you use, your power company might pay you to sell them the extra power.
This Windmill 400 watt wind turbine for home use is ideal for off the grid use on land or at sea. It has been well designed to survive all that nature can throw at it. It has a UV coating and will not be corroded by salt water. Furthermore, it can withstand strong gusts and high winds. It also comes with an integrated breaking circuit that means it will “switch off” when the batteries are fully charged.
"Wholesale Solar and John Grenvik where a pleasure to do business with. I found it interesting and quite unusual that John would not let me up-size my battery bank beyond what my panels would support on my off grid system, as he said I would be destroying the batteries by their not getting a full charge. How's that for looking out for the customer even at the expense of additional sales."

Since the energy output to the loads must be balanced by the energy input from your solar panels and wind turbine, we need to calculate your daily charge requirement in amp hours as that number will come in handy later. Take your total daily watt hours x 20% (rule of thumb) to account for losses in inverter, circuits and wire transfer. Now divide by the system voltage you chose based on the previous section and write this number down. This is the charge in amp hours your solar panels will have to provide each day to meet your load requirements you have set. Example 5,000 watts daily load total X 20% = 6,000 watts / 48 volt system = 125 amp hours that will need to be generated. Example #2, 5,000 watts daily load total X 20% = 6,000 watts / 24 volt system = 250 amp hours that will need to be generated.
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.
Its handbook is written keeping the ease-of-understanding in mind so to make the installation and maintenance smoother. This well-crafted model possesses a feathery weight of 17.3 pounds. Yet there’s no chance of doubting its endurance. Because applying the trademarked PMG and the exceptional stator, the Popsport Wind Generator lessens torque resistance and solidifies the gadget.
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.

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).

MMM, long time reader first time commenter. Excellent to see you finally got your array up and running and that you shared your DIY report for fellow folks not afraid to get their hands “dirty” in saving some cash for a great project. As a professional solar installer I must politely request you remove the photo of the L-foot lag screwed directly to the roof. National Electric Code and industry best-practices require and suggest a metal flashing that goes over the lag screwed and under your shingles to create a waterproof seal. Through-The-Roof sealant is added protection but not enough stand alone. I look forward to further DIY posts as well as a continued look at your solar power production over time as power prices continue to rise. Bike on, my good man! Cheers, Sam in SW Montana
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Yes, this Nevada homeowner, working off our drawings and instructions, installed this 12 panel off-grid system himself. Every do-it-yourselfer knows the feeling of pride that comes with completing a project oneself and knowing that it's a job well done. Saving up to 50% over a professional installation by installing a solar kit while still receiving the federal tax credits and local incentives translates to thousands of dollars in savings down the road. It also means that it's going to take far less time for the kit to pay for itself through the electricity cost savings it will reap each year. This is a no-lose investment that effectively trumps anything happening on Wall Street. A pole mount solar system has to be among the most fun things you can plant with the added benefit of watching your savings grow. Don't take our word for it. Look at this customers face. You will be the envy of all your neighbors.

TIP; Match the number of solar panels and wind turbine average daily output to the battery capacity: After you finish sizing the number of solar panels combined with the average daily output of your wind turbine to off-set your load requirements, you will need to consider whether the panels power and your battery bank's capacity are sized to work together, or are matched, within reason. You will want the hybrid system to have the capacity to ideally fully charge your battery bank on the shortest day of the year or be prepared to lower your power needs during the wintertime. If the hybrid system is too large, you waste money and power because your charge controllers will not send all the current the hybrid system produce because your battery bank will not be capable accepting too much power too quickly. If the hybrid system is too small, it will not be able to fully charge your battery bank.

If you are worried about utility blackouts, take at look at Blue Pacific Solar® off-grid power generators and pre-wired, pre-engineered power center equipment. A backup solar generator can provide you with peace of mind during utility power outages and blackout or other weather related emergencies. With a grid-tie system when the utility provided power goes down, your solar power system is nonfunctional, you will be literally in the dark without a backup generator or battery bank to power essential loads. Your solar back up generator will automatically switch over to your battery bank and so that it takes over immediately in the event of a blackout when the grid goes down. Our solar generators are designed in compact kits that work by having stand-by batteries connected to an AC inverter.

Square wave inverter is cheaper among the all but not suitable for all appliances.Modified Sine Wave output is also not suitable for certain appliances, particularly those with capacitive and electromagnetic devices such as: a fridge, microwave oven and most kinds of motors.Typically modified sine wave inverters work at lower efficiency than pure sine wave inverters.
Prior to conducting an on-site measurement campaign, some small wind project developers use state wind maps to conservatively estimate the wind resource at turbine hub height. While these maps can provide a general indication of good or poor wind resources, they do not provide a resolution high enough to identify local site features. State wind maps cannot include information on complex terrain, ground cover, wind speed distribution, direction distribution, turbulence intensity, and other local effects. Purchased maps or services can often provide higher resolution and more flexibility with zooming, orientation, and additional features. Pay attention to a map's height above ground as it relates to the potential project's tower height. Adjusting the wind speed for the height difference between the map and the turbine height adds a potential source of error depending on the wind shear exponent that is selected, and the greater the height difference the greater the potential error. Therefore, for small wind generator applications, 30- to 40-m wind maps are far more useful than 10-, 60-, 80-, or 100-m wind maps. It is also important to understand the resolution of the wind map or model-generated data set. If the resolution is lower than the terrain features, adjustments will be needed to account for local terrain effects.[26]
FEATURES: Integrated automatic braking system to protect from sudden and high wind speed. Easy DIY installation methods with all materials provided. Can be used in conjunction with solar panels. MPPT Maximum power point tracking built into the wind turbine generator. Made with high quality Polypropylene and Glass Fiber material with a weather resistant seal.

72-cell panels are commonly used for larger systems, especially utility-scale but also residential and commercial projects. Most 72-cell panels measure 77x40” with power output in the range of 325-400 watts. 72-cell panels are ideal for larger systems because the bigger size reduces the total number of connections and components, making for an easier installation with less maintenance.

For the times when neither the wind turbine nor the PV modules are producing, most hybrid systems provide power through batteries and/or an engine-generator powered by conventional fuels such as diesel. If the batteries run low, the engine-generator can provide power and recharge the batteries. Adding an engine-generator makes the system more complex, but modern electronic controllers can operate these systems automatically. An engine-generator can also reduce the size of the other components needed for the system. Keep in mind that the storage capacity must be large enough to supply electrical needs during non-charging periods. Battery banks are typically sized to supply the electric load for 1 to 3 days.[40]