Many people are now considering a home power generator system as a realistic alternative to reduce or even eliminate their power bills. Solar home power or wind power are the two obvious alternatives and both have their advantages and disadvantages. Looking into the future tells us that our power bills are only going to increase and it is therefore becoming more cost-effective, and important for the conservation of our planet, for us to use clean, renewable energy to run our own home power generators.
Both solar home power and wind power systems have similarities – they take an intermittent, renewable source of energy (sunlight and wind) and convert it into electricity to be used either at the time of generation, or stored in battery arrays to be used later.
Wind turbines are generally cheaper to set up but in some situations they can have drawbacks that make them unappealing for urban areas, where sometimes they may require large platforms or towers, to get them high enough up that the steady prevailing winds can be used. They also generate a small amount of noise, which may or may not be a problem for some people. Building your own wind turbine can save you a lot of money and give you a much faster return on your investment and from then on, you’re in profit year after year.
Solar home power systems are somewhat easier to set up, but commercially-installed systems can be very costly and therefore take a long time before return on your investment can be realized. Again, building your own can save you a substantial amount and can prove easier and cheaper than you might think. They are also situational – you really need a home with a southern facing area to catch sunlight for them to be optimally efficient. However, unlike a wind turbine, with a solar home power setup you can start out small and add to your home power generator system incrementally with a solar array setup.
Regardless of which way you choose for your home power generator system (wind power or solar home power), the power collection system is only part of the setup. You will also need a power converter (something that will take the DC power these systems generate and covert it to AC power to be used by your home) and you’ll want some way to store that power for when it will be useful.
When thinking about a home power generator with solar home power as a source, often the most efficient way to harness the sun’s power is to warm up water for later use. A solar power water heater tends to get a lot less emphasis that photovoltaic systems because sometimes it’s not as easy or as convenient an addition to an existing home, but it can be done – especially if you can afford to put a solar thermal collection tank in the back yard and run the water to a hot water tank to be used later. Every step where you convert solar energy to electricity, you’re losing efficiency; every step where you’re then using electricity to make heat, you’re losing efficiency again. Rather than use photoelectric cells to run your clothes dryer, you’re better off putting your wash out on the line to dry by sunlight and breeze; likewise, using solar home power to fire up the hot water heater, when you can heat the water directly with sunlight is inefficient.
Determining how much power you need to generate with your home power generator system is the other constraint on this sort of project. First, you should see how much power you use; if your utility uses smart power monitoring, you can try and figure out how much power you use at specific times of the day; this can be indicative of specific appliances being started, and can also tell you a lot about your actual power usage (which can help on the conservation side of the equation). However, you do need to make decisions based on how much power you use, what your peak usage is, and whether you want to go for ‘generate your own baseline load’ and use the utility company for overages, or whether you want to use the utility company for the baseline, and use the solar power array to take the edge off during peak usage times (like using it to cut back on your air conditioning bill, for example.)
All in all, there are a lot of options when choosing a home power generator project and you will need to take into consideration your individual situation and requirements when reaching your decision.
Please visit our website for more detailed information about solar home power and home power generators. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and provide any additional information for you.