One excellent idea is to create a miniature "hybrid" renewable energy power plant. This could be accomplished by combining solar cells and a small windmill kit. Such an idea could graphically demonstrate the complementary nature of these two free power sources.
You are an excellent candidate for a solar electric system if your electric bill is over $75 per month, you pay more than $0.12 per kwh for electricity, your state offers substantial rebates for solar electric systems, and you have good solar exposure.
Spending a few minutes with this software can provide as much education as reading several books on energy saving construction ... in real terms ... with your own house as an example. The tips provided along the way are very helpful and having the "Energy Efficient House" costs listed gives you a great target to shoot for.
I use my Global Sun Oven to cook anything that I would normally cook in my regular oven. My family loves fresh-ground wheat bread and we regularly cook roasts, cookies, rice, casseroles, baked potatoes, cakes and more. I can't tell you how many times I've been told that sun cooked chicken tastes better than Kenny Rogers' rotisserie chicken (and I love K.R. chicken).
The Submeter shows you where electrical power goes in your apartment building, office, marina, or RV park! Do you have a "smart house"? A submeter can track all of your branch circuits and report power anomalies. Read and control from any internet connection.
The main impetus for the accelerated interest in solar electricity has been the California Energy Commission's rebate program. They offer rebates of $4.00 per watt for homes and $4.50 per watt for businesses (approximately 50% of the total installed cost of solar electric systems).
Making a hybrid power system work in the long run is not just about buying and installing the equipment. Like with any other technical system, there must be adequate documentation of the installation. Operators and maintenance personnel must have proper training. Funds must be allocated for maintenance and repair, e.g. to replace a worn-out battery bank or hire a specialist for troubleshooting.
The question is why are you interested in using solar or wind energy? Is it because you need some back-up electricity for when the utility grid is unavailable? Or is it because you want to spend less money per month on electricity?
As onlooking eyes filled with wonder watched, I assembled the three solar panels to the framework, it was time to hoist the finished array onto the roof. We were on the front side of the clinic and the ladder was not very good. We got the array to the top of the ladder but I could not get my helpers to go up on the roof.
News articles indicate that photovoltaics are already cost effective in Hawaii and some parts of California. Photovoltaics are also cheaper than electric grid power if you wish to power a remote home that is more than 2 miles from the nearest power line.
My view is that while we would all like to believe that the decision to use alternative energy sources by individuals will be justified economically ... or politically ... or culturally ... in fact the primary market growth for the products and services in this industry will be driven by responsible people who just want to feel good about the way they conserve or create energy.
Solar electric systems have high up front costs. Before going solar electric, you should conserve as much energy as possible so that your solar system can be smaller. Here are some tips on conserving electrical energy.
Steam, as with other forms of alternate energy has it's realm. Where steam excels above the other common systems, is in an application that requires large quantities of controllable, useable heat.
Maximum Power Point Tracking, frequently referred to as MPPT, is an electronic system that operates the Photovoltaic (PV) modules in a manner that allows the modules to produce all the power they are capable of.
The design is simple yet truly effective in offering to the building owner an aesthetically pleasing, lightweight photovoltaic roofing system that rests on flat or low slope roofs, requires no roof penetrations, protects roofs from weather and UV radiation and produces cost effective solar electric energy.
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Morningstar's TriStar MPPT 600V charge controller leverages Morningstar's innovative TrakStar™ MPPT technology and our 20+ years of power electronics engineering excellence, to enable the widest input operating voltage range available from a solar array, wind turbine or hydro input. This controller's standard and DB versions are for off-grid applications, and the TR versions were developed to enable retrofitting grid-tied systems with battery backup.