Many people today have realized the dream of getting off the grid by combining solar and wind energy. Compact and affordable wind generators are now available for the home consumer, and they can be combined with photo-voltaic cells for solar power generation. Fossil fuel energy costs are set to continue rising making power from the grid more expensive. Solar and wind energy can provide a solution to these rising costs and remove us from our dependence on unrenewable fossil fuels.
Wind turbines are, in fact, quite simple machines consisting of three parts: rotor blades, a shaft, and a generator. The rotor blades act like a propeller that turns the shaft when the wind flows through them. The shaft then turns the generator and a current is generated. About eighty-five percent of all off-grid systems use solar wind energy.
The new micro as well as mini wind turbines are very popular with sailors, and are now starting to be more popular with home owners in Europe and the UK. Mini turbines are very cost effective and will only cost about $1,500 to $2,500. They are perfect for generating electricity if you live off the grid in remote rural areas. It’s satisfying to think about having solar wind energy provide for all your energy needs and also knowing that you never have to depend on utility companies.
The typical home solar power system consists of:
- Photovoltaic Panels
- Charge Controller Module
- Batteries (optional)
Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into an electrical current. The type of current generated by a photovoltaic panel array is direct current, known as DC. For this current to be usable in most households, it has to be converted into alternating current, or AC. That’s where the inverter is used. Its job is to convert DC into AC current.
Solar–wind energy systems are also known as hybrid energy systems because the use a combination of solar and wind power to generate electricity. The wind turbines are mostly used during the winter months (in the northern hemisphere) when the sun’s vertical rays are mostly directed toward the southern hemisphere, and days tend to be short and cloudy. During the summer months, photovoltaic cells supplement the energy created by the wind turbine.