A Basic Renewable Power System 0

Photovoltaic cells, or a combination of photovoltaics and a wind generator, can be used to provide all or some of the electrical needs of a house. A photovoltaic array of suitable size that can supply the needs of the house is mounted either on the roof or on some type of ground or pole mount.

How a Renewable Power System Works

A basic off-grid solar and wind power system is shown in the diagram on the left.

A solar panel array and an optional wind turbine supply power to run your electrical system and also store energy in a bank of deep cycle batteries.

The batteries are especially designed for solar applications, and will supply the power to run the house during periods of darkness or low sun. The cells produce DC current, usually at 12V or 24V. The charge controller regulates the power to the batteries and prevents over charging of the battery bank.

An inverter is used to convert DC to 110V AC, and supply power for regular household loads such as fridge, freezers, kitchen appliances and entertainment and office systems. Inverters can also supply 220V AC power for loads such as large power tools, electric stoves and dryers, but this usually substantially increases the cost of the system. The inverter is connected, through an isolation switch, to the main breaker box.

An emergency backup generator supplies power to charge the batteries during extended periods of calm and cloudy weather. This usually only happens a few times during the winter, when short days provide only minimal solar energy.

Grid-tied Systems

In a grid-tied system, the battery bank, charge controller and emergency generator are not required – the grid becomes the battery bank and emergency backup. However, a small battery bank and charge controller can provide your system with emergency power in the case of a utility power outage.

For more information about the off-grid and grid-tied renewable energy systems see Off-Grid or Grid-tied Solar – What’s the Difference?

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