Windmill and solar panel energy systems are examples of renewable energy sources. Renewable energy sources are becoming popular options for home energy systems for the potential cost savings. Wind and solar systems capture naturally occurring, renewable energy and convert it for electrical use.
The federal government offers tax incentives for windmill and solar panel home energy systems. Most states allow homeowners to sell unused power back to electric companies. A well-designed renewable energy system can reduce or eliminate your monthly energy bill.
To Grid or Not to Grid
When considering a home renewable energy source, your first decision will be whether you’ll cut the cord to your electric company. A system connected to a local power company is called a “grid-tied” system. A system that runs separate from the local power company is called “off the grid.”
A grid-tied system can draw power from the power company when your system isn’t generating power. A grid tied system can also sell surplus energy to the power company where states allow.
If your system is off the grid, you’ll be responsible for your own power when your system is offline. This means your system will have to have a battery backup system in place.
Where The Winds Come Whipping Down The Plain
Windmill home energy systems use a fan-blade powered turbine (called the wind generator) to convert wind energy into electrical energy. Most wind generators use three blades in an up-wind design. Up-wind generators have blades that face the direction the wind is blowing.
A charge controller regulates the voltage of the electricity generated and delivers it to your home and the power grid.
Windmill home energy systems must be carefully placed to be effective. The wind generator is usually installed on a tower and must be at least 30 feet above any obstructions within 500 feet of the tower.
The Power Of The Sun
Home solar energy systems uses photovoltaic cells to convert light energy into electrical energy. Once a home solar energy system is installed, it runs exactly like a traditional electrical system.
The main advantage of a home solar energy system is that the sun generates some or all of your electricity. At times of peak generating capacity, you may even see your electrical meter spin backwards!
Home solar energy systems work best when installed on a south-facing roof. The pitch of the roof changes the efficiency of the system slightly, but improper facing will have a big impact on efficiency. Typically, you should plan to install 1-kilowatt hour worth of solar panels (about 100 square feet) per 1000 square feet of living space.
Residential solar panels are available in a number of forms including rigid and flexible panels or as shingle replacements. In some installations, it is possible to combine solar water heating with solar cells for extra energy savings.