power your home with renewable energy products
Planning for a home renewable energy system is a process that includes analyzing our existing electricity use, looking at local codes and requirements, deciding if you want to operate your system on or off of the electric grid, and understanding technology options.
- Although it takes time and money to research, buy, and maintain a system, many people enjoy the independence they gain and the knowledge that their actions are helping the environment.
- A renewable energy system can be used to supply some or all of your electricity needs, using technologies like:
- Small solar electric systems
- Small wind electric systems
- Micro-hydropower systems
- Small hybrid electric systems (solar and wind).
how we analyze the electricity loads
Calculating your electricity needs is the first step in the process of investigating renewable energy systems for your home or small business. A thorough examination of your electricity needs helps you determine the following:
- The size (and therefore, cost) of the system we will need
- How our energy needs fluctuate throughout the day and over the year
- Measures we can take to reduce your electricity use.
- Conducting a load analysis involves recording the wattage and average daily use of all of the electrical devices that are plugged into your central power source such as refrigerators, lights, televisions, and power tools. Some loads, like your refrigerator, use electricity all the time, while others, like power tools, use electricity intermittently. Loads that use electricity intermittently are often referred to as selectable loads. If you are willing to use your selectable loads only when you have extra power available, you may be able to install a smaller renewable energy system.
- To determine your total electricity consumption:
- Multiply the wattage of each appliance by the number of hours it is used each day (be sure to take seasonal variations into account). Some appliances do not give the wattage, so you may have to calculate the wattage by multiplying the amperes times the volts. Generally, power use data can be found on a sticker, metal plate, or cord attached to the appliance.
- Record the time(s) of day the load runs for all selectable loads.
- Considering energy efficiency measures in your home before you buy your renewable energy system will reduce your electricity use and allow you to buy a smaller and less expensive system.
choosing the right renewable energy technology
To begin choosing the right small renewable electric system for your home, you will need a basic understanding of how each technology works, as well as:
- Renewable energy resource availability
- Economics and costs
- System siting
- System sizing
- Codes and regulations
- Installation and maintenance considerations.
- Remember that all of these technologies can be used by themselves, combined, or used in conjunction with a fossil fuel system. When these technologies are combined or used with a fossil fuel generator, the result is a hybrid system.