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RunGreenPower - Your Way To Green Your Life

Homemade Solar Power System – Building Your Own Cheap Power System

By Carolyn Anderson

Having your own power system is indeed a very good advantage in these times where electricity cost is rising and many of the gadgets and appliances that we use at home are powered by electricity. One of the best alternatives when it comes to electricity is the solar power system.

Indeed, the sun’s energy is a good source of power and aside from that, it is also a source of clean, renewable energy as well and of course, it is far from depletion. To be able to put up your own homemade solar power system, you have to find ways to convert solar energy into electricity that is usable for your home and putting up solar panels is the technology that you will be using to do this.

The use of solar panels has been around for years but one thing that hinders a lot of people to go for it is the cost of solar panel kits these days as well as the pricey installation costs. However, you can do your own homemade solar power system. In fact, these can be a great do-it-yourself project. If you are interested in putting up your own homemade solar power system, here are a few things that you might find useful.

- Check out where to find cheaper materials for your solar panels. Solar panels are made up of solar cells that are being soldered to create one panel. These materials can be costly if you purchase them in kits or if you buy new ones but of course, you can find solar cells for sale online and do the soldering yourself. Indeed, it can be a DIY project and for as long as you can invest your time in learning how to put up the said project, you can save a lot from the cost of installation.

- Plan and budget. Determine how much power you want to generate. This will guide you on how many solar panels you want to make and how much you can afford according to your budget. You may not be able to put all your electricity needs on solar power right away, but you can do it little by little, until you can fully put your entire electricity needs on solar power system.

- Learn the skills you need in putting up your homemade solar power system. You may need to learn how to solder solar cells and you may also need a little carpentry work to build the panel on which you can lay out your solar cells. You will also need a little knowledge on how to try the voltage as well as the electrical connections of your solar panels. Keep in mind that you have to understand kilowatt hours, voltage and other things that will help you successfully put up your solar power system at home.

Always keep in mind too that you cannot just plug anything into your solar panel before it is checked and everything is okay. Of course, without proper testing, it can also damage your appliances or anything that you plug it into, thus make sure that you are guided properly on how to test and check your solar panels before use.

Carolyn Anderson is a freelance author, book reviewer and an avid reader. For a great resource on how to build your own solar panel, check out this DIY Power System. Also check out Home Energy Kit, where you can find ways on how to generate your own power source with wind and solar energies.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Carolyn_Anderson
http://EzineArticles.com/?Homemade-Solar-Power-System—Building-Your-Own-Cheap-Power-System&id=5068648

 

 

ADVANTAGE & LIMITATIONS OF HYDROELECTRIC POWER PLANTS

ADVANTAGES OF HYDROELECTRIC POWER PLANTS

• Hydroelectric power plants generate no CO2, CO, NOx, SOx, particulates, ground contamination, or waste products. Some heat is imparted to the stream or river water as a result of friction with the turbine components, but this is not always significant.

• Water is a renewable source of energy, as long as the stream or river does not dry up. The hydrologic cycle replenishes the source of potential energy in the form of rainfall, snowfall, and runoff.

• Hydroelectric power plant output can be controlled at will by changing the volume of water fl ow per unit time.

• The reservoirs created by an impoundment or pumped-storage power plant can be used for recreational purposes, and may also provide dramatic scenery.

• The reservoirs created by impoundment are generally clean, because impurities precipitate to the bottom. They can often be used as sources of water for drinking, bathing, washing, or irrigation.

LIMITATIONS OF HYDROELECTRIC POWER PLANTS

• Large reservoirs flood land that could be used for something else. Whole towns have been sacrificed to reservoirs, causing displacement, resentment, and economic hardship.

• If a dam fails in a large impoundment facility, a catastrophic flood is almost certain to occur downstream.

• Hydroelectric power plants are not practical in regions where the terrain is flat.

• A prolonged drought can adversely impact, or even cut off, the energy production capacity of a hydroelectric power plant.

• In impoundment and pumped-storage power plants, the water level in the reservoir(s) varies considerably. One cannot expect to build a “beach house” directly on a reservoir!

• A dam can cause low dissolved-oxygen levels in the reservoir, because it brings the normal river flow to a nearly complete halt. This can kill fish and affect the nature of plant life in and around the reservoir.

• Dams can interfere with fish spawning. This problem can be mitigated by the use of fish ladders, fish elevators, or trapping and hauling the fish. However, such measures add to the cost of system construction or operation.

Solar Heat Your Swimming Pool

 

Circulating at a faster rate, unglazed collectors can provide acceptable efficiency.

But that’s not all!

In some hot climates, pools can have a tendency to overheat. Solar collectors can save the day here!

By pumping water through the collectors at night it is possible to dump excess heat. This technology isn’t just applicable to small pools at home, large municipal pools are also heated by solar technology in a number of cases. Take for instance the International Swim Center at Santa Clara, California, 13,000 square meters of solar collector heat a total of 1.2 million gallons of water a day!

Do we need to use solar thermal power directly?

If we consider power generation on a large scale, all of our power stations whether they be nuclear, coal, oil, or gas fired, all produce heat primarily, and then use this heat to produce steam, which then, through using rotating turbines, produces electricity.

This means, that at present, we do not produce electricity directly from chemicals, like we do in a battery—we first produce heat as an intermediate process, which is in turn used to produce electricity.

Once we recognize this, we quickly realize that it could be possible to use solar thermal energy to raise steam to generate electricity. And this is exactly what they are doing in Kramer Junction, California.

Tip

Enerpool is a free program that can be used to simulate your swimming pool being heated with solar collectors. By inputting information such as your location, and how the pool is covered. The program can predict what temperature your pool will be at, at any given time!

www.powermat.com/enerpool.html

Green DIY Energy Review

The GetYourReviews staff is here to separate the scams from the quality products for sale online. Zach Angelo personally bought and used the Green DIY Energy Guide. Read his full Green DIY Energy review below.

*Note: This is an independent review of Green DIY Energy. Click this link to go directly to www.greendiyenergy.com

1/3/11 Green DIY Energy Guide Review

Product: Green DIY Energy Guide
Theme: How to build solar panels for the home, while spending less than $200
Cost: $49 during current promotion, normally $197
Rating: ★★★★½

(more…)

Earth4Energy Guide Review – Homemade Renewable Energy

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Earth4Energy is a guide on how to build homemade power systems, including a DIY solar power system, a DIY wind power system, and making your own bio diesel. This in depth Earth4Energy Review takes you through the membership system showing you the products you get when you sign up. For more info click: Earth4Energy.

New Homemade solar cells vs. old-style Homemade solar cells

Solar Cells

Either of these types of cells is fine for the construction of solar panels, but if you want to get the most power from a given amount of space, use monocrystalline cells.

Both poly- and monocrystalline cells come in several shapes and many sizes. The basic cell shapes are round, square, pseudo-square and rectangle. Cells can be cut to just about any size needed by the manufacturer.

New Homemade solar cells vs. old-style Homemade solar cells

The structure of photovoltaic cells has changed over time. They are becoming thinner, which makes them less expensive to make since the manufacturer can get more cells from a given amount of silicon and other active materials in the ingot, ribbon, or deposition process. The cells are now easier and less costly to manufacture, but they are much more fragile and delicate than the older cells, and require much more care in handling and soldering.

Solar Cells

The electrode contacts are also becoming thinner. The older cells, usually round in shape, have heavy solder contacts on the front side of the cells, and the backs are usually totally covered with solder. Cells made today have just thin lines or spots of solder that are usually vapor deposited or silk screened onto the cell.

Solar cell output

Solar cells all produce about 0.5 volts, more or less, no matter how large they are. However, the size of the cell does affect the current output. The larger the surface area of the cell, the more current it will produce. A 2″ square cell will produce less current than a cell that is 4″ square, all other parameters being equal. This is important to consider when you design panels for a specific purpose. If you need a lot of battery charging power (amps), your panels should have high current output cells. If your power needs are minimal and/or you live in a fairly sunny climate, you can do well with lower current cells.

Solar Cells

Cells with high current output are generally more desirable; but, the higher the current output, the more they will cost. High current cells will recharge batteries faster in less than perfect solar power conditions, such as in a climate prone to cloud cover, or during winter months when the sun is low on the horizon and less light is available daily. So, seasonal and local climate conditions should be considered when selecting the cells to use for building a panel.

Another very important consideration is how much energy will be drawn

from the batteries on a daily basis, and thus how much the batteries are being drained, and how much time will be required to recharge them each day.

Watt rating of solar cells

When looking for solar cells, notice that a voltage rating and a current rating (amperage) is given. These figures are called open circuit voltage and short circuit current ratings. If you multiply the current by the voltage you will get the watt power rating of the cell.

For instance, a cell with a voltage rating of 0.5 volts and a current rating of 4 amps is rated as a 2 watt cell.

Generally cells range from milliamps on up to 6 amps output. For most practical projects a 1 to 4 amp cell will suffice. Two to three amp cells are more commonly used and are the most readily available at a decent price.

Home Power tests the Trace Model 1512, 1.5kW. Power Inverter

Test Environment–

We tested the 1512 at our site located about 12 miles from any commercial utilities. This place has been totally powered by alternative energy since 1976. Photovoltaics and motorized generators (both 12 VDC and 120 VAC) are the power sources. We hooked the 1512 inverter to 2 Trojan L-16W batteries (350 ampere-hours at 12 volts) for the test period.

The 1512 was wired to the batteries with 0 gauge copper cables with a combined length of less than 6 feet. The inverter is used to power a variety of test equipment, computers, printers, power tools, kitchen appliances, and some lighting.

The 1512 was constantly monitored by a DC powered oscilloscope (fully isolated from the 1512′s output by its own internal battery power supply), a DVM, and an analog expanded scale AC voltmeter during the entire testing period of three weeks. Testing was conducted by Richard Perez.

Packing, Installation Instructions, and Owner’s Manual

The unit was packed very well and survived UPS shipping. The shipping container is first class. We first turned our attention to the installation instructions, and operator’s manual.

It is well written, very thorough, and has a folksy flavor that is refreshing. The short form for immediate hookup is a very good idea for impatient customers. All the instructions are clear and concise. No one should have any trouble installing or operating the model 1512. All that is necessary is to read the manual.

The manual is very detailed in comparison with those of other inverter manufacturers. It may be a little too technical for some, but it is good to see this information available to the users. The discussion of the various types of loads and how they function on this inverter is very good, and will help non-technical users understand such things.

Inverter Operation

The 1512 powers inductive loads better than any inverter we have ever used. Regardless of size or type of load (we tried all kinds), the inverter was very consistent in its output waveform.

We saw on the oscilloscope that we could not get the inverter’s waveform to go out of the modified sine wave mode. This is amazing and almost unique. The Trace is very different from some inverters, which put out a wide variety of glitch waveforms on inductive loads (especially small ones).

The Trace 1512 inverter powered inductive loads such as fluorescent lights, stereos, TVs, satellite TV systems, sewing machines, computers, and motors better and quieter than many other modified sine wave inverters. Our inductive AC equipment happily consumed the power made by the 1512.

One very dramatic case was our computer equipment. This computer equipment has had problems with overheating when powered by other inverters. It ran much cooler on the 1512.

The Trace inverter is among the most efficient types we have tested. The 1512 met Trace’s specs for efficiency. The 1512 inverter produced noticeably less heat when powering large inductive loads. For example, we used a large 720 watt vacuum on the inverter.

When powered by another inverter this vacuum began serious overheating after only 20 minutes of continuous usage. The inverter itself was also very warm. When the vacuum was run on the Trace 1512, neither it or the 1512 showed any appreciable heating after over 2 hours of continuous operation.

The 1512 has excellent voltage regulation and is within Trace’s specs. Regardless of load size, load type, temperature, and battery voltage, the 1512 did not vary over 2 volts (measured by us) in its AC output voltage. We tested the inverter on input voltages from 11 to 15.3 VDC. Temperature ranged from 10° C. to 40° C. Loads ranged from 25 watts resistive to 1.2 kW. inductive.

Trace has really accomplished a great deal in the area of voltage regulation. Trace’s digital approach to inverter design has produced an incredibly stable inverter. We were not able to measure any deviation from 60 cycles in all our testing. This is a big plus for anyone powering TV, video equipment, or audio equipment from an inverter.

The 1512 met Trace’s specs. for power output. We repeatedly tried to overload the Trace inverter, but we couldn’t kill it. The 1512 protected itself from any damage due to overloading. We tried resistive and inductive loads up to 3kW, with starting surges over 10kW. In the past, inverters would not survive being so grossly overloaded.

Battery Charger Operation

The battery charger was a very pleasant surprise. Not only is it easily user programmable, but its range of operation is much greater than anything else available. The 70+ Ampere current output of the 1512′s charger is nearly twice as powerful as any comparable unit. The battery charger’s voltage output can be set high enough to fully recharge deep cycle batteries.

The Trace 1512 is the only inverter/charger we’ve seen that can effectively cycle the batteries; it is unique. The Trace is the best for operation with a motorized generator.

The 1512 will recharge the batteries faster than any other type of inverter/charger we’ve ever seen. This results in less generator operating time, and greater fuel economy. The programmable nature of the charger makes overcharging or too rapid charging of the batteries impossible.

The 1512′s current output was very constant over the entire recharging voltage range of our test batteries. Inverter to generator automatic changeover is smooth and positive. The Trace 1512 has the best built-in battery charger in the industry.

On the down side…

It was very difficult to find anything to complain about with the Trace 1512. The only feature we didn’t like was the inverter’s audio buzz. This audio noise is loud enough that the inverter should be located where no one will have to listen to it. A little noise is a very small matter in comparison with the inverter’s many fine points.

Conclusion

The Trace 1512 is one of the finest modified sine wave inverter available. We found that it meets all of Trace’s specifications. It is as far ahead of most other inverters as a Corvette is from a Model T.

The 1512 is the first inverter to combine digital technology with ease of use, efficiency, and sheer toughness. The list price of $1,310. (with optional charger) is in line with the 1512′s superb performance. We are recommending the Trace 1512 as an excellent buy. You can get more info on the 1512 from Trace Engineering Inc., 5917 195th NE, Arlington, WA 98223, or phone 206-435-8826.

Wind-Electric Systems simplified

Wind-electric systems may be the most captivating of the three main renewable electricity technologies. Most of us just love to watch a wind turbine spin. But these  systems are also the most prone to problems, and can be more complicated and expensive to install.

To get you started down the right road in using wind energy, this article will outline the basic system components and types. It will help you understand the systems better, so you will make better choices if you decide that wind energy is right for you.

Off-Grid Wind-Electric System

Off-grid wind-electric systems are battery based. People generally choose these systems because their home or other energy use is not connected to the grid, and connection would be expensive. Others prefer the independence of offgrid systems, or live where utilities and governments make it difficult to tie a renewable energy system to the grid.Off-grid systems are limited in capacity by the size of the generating sources (wind turbine, solar-electric array, fuelfired generator, etc.), the resources available, and the battery bank size. Off-grid homeowners have to learn to live within the limitations of their system capacity.

Wind Generator AKA: wind genny, wind turbine

The wind generator is what actually generates electricity in the system. Most modern wind generators are upwind designs (blades are on the side of the tower that faces into the wind), and couple permanent magnet alternators directly to the rotor (blades).

Three-bladed wind generators are most common, providing a good compromise between efficiency and rotor balance.Small wind turbines protect themselves from high winds (governing) by tilting the rotor up or to the side, or by changing the pitch of the blades.

Electricity is transmitted down the tower on wires, most often as three-phase wild alternating current (AC).It’s called “wild” because the voltage and frequency vary with the rotational speed of the wind turbine. The output is then rectified to direct current (DC) to charge batteries or to be inverted for grid connection.

Tower

A wind generator tower is very often more expensive than  the turbine. The tower puts the turbine up in the “fuel”— the smooth strong winds that give the most energy. Wind  turbines should be sited at least 30 feet (9 m) higher than  anything within 500 feet (152 m).

Three common types of towers are tilt-up, fixed-guyed,  and freestanding. Towers must be specifically engineered  for the lateral thrust and weight of the turbine, and should  be adequately grounded to protect your equipment against  lightning damage. See my article “Wind Generator Tower Basics” in HP105 for information about choosing a tower.

Brake  AKA: emergency

Shut down mechanism Most wind turbines have some means of stopping the turbine for repairs, in an emergency, for routine maintenance, or when the energy is not needed. Many turbines have “dynamic braking,” which simply shorts out the three electrical phases and acts as a disconnect.

Others have mechanical braking, either via a disc or drum brake, activated by a small winch at the base of the tower. Still others have mechanical furling, which swings the rotor out of the wind. Mechanical braking is usually more effective and reliable than dynamic braking.

Charge Controller AKA: controller, regulator

A wind-electric charge controller’s primary function is to protect your battery bank from overcharging. It does this by monitoring the battery bank—when the bank is fully charged, the controller sends energy from the battery bank to a dump (diversion) load.

Many wind-electric charge controllers are built into the same box as the rectifiers (AC-to-DC converters). Overcurrent protection is needed between the battery and controller dump load. In batteryless grid-tie systems, there is no controller in normal operation, since the inverter is selling whatever energy the turbine is generating. But there will be some control function in the case of grid failure, and there may be electronics before the inverter to regulate the input voltage.

How He Made His 6 kw Solar System?

Sir Charls Shults shows us how he can make 6 kw Solar Systems for a fraction of today’s PV solar panel costs. Power your home & Electric Car for $6,000 instead of over $50,000 for PV systems!

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Is Wind Power Practical for You?

Small wind energy systems can be used in connection with an electricity transmission and distribution system (called gridconnected systems),or in stand-alone applications that are not connected to the utility grid.

A grid-connected wind turbine can reduce your consumption of utility-supplied electricity for lighting, appliances, and electric heat.

If the turbine cannot deliver the amount of energy you need, the utility makes up the difference. When the wind system produces more electricity than the household requires, the excess can be sold to the utility.

With the interconnections available today, switching takes place automatically. Stand-alone wind energy systems can be appropriate for homes, farms, or even entire communities (a co-housing project, for example) that are far from the nearest utility lines.

Either type of system can be practical if the following conditions exist.

Conditions for Stand-Alone Systems

• You live in an area with average annual wind speeds of at least 9 miles per hour (4.0 meters per second).

• A grid connection is not available or can only be made through an expensive extension. The cost of running a power line to a remote site to connect with the utility grid can be prohibitive, ranging from $15,000 to more than $50,000 per mile, depending on terrain.

• You have an interest in gaining energy independence from the utility.

• You would like to reduce the environmental impact of electricity production.

• You acknowledge the intermittent nature of wind power and have a strategy for using intermittent resources to meet your power needs.

Conditions for Grid-Connected Systems

• You live in an area with average annual wind speeds of at least 10 miles per hour (4.5 meters per second).

• Utility-supplied electricity is expensive in your area (about 10 to 15 cents per kilowatt hour).

• The utility’s requirements for connecting your system to its grid are not prohibitively expensive.

• Local building codes or covenants allow you to legally erect a wind turbine on your property.

• You are comfortable with long-term investments.

Additional Considerations

In addition to the factors listed previously, you should also:

• research potential legal and environmental obstacles,

• obtain cost and performance information from manufacturers,

• perform a complete economic analysis that accounts for a multitude of factors

• understand the basics of a small wind system, and

• review possibilities for combining your system with other energy sources, backups, and energy efficiency improvements.

You should establish an energy budget to help define the size of turbine that will be needed.

Since energy efficiency is usually less expensive than energy production, making your house more energy efficient first will likely result in being able to spend less money since you may need a smaller wind turbine to meet your needs.

Potential Legal and Environmental Obstacles

Before you invest any time and money, research potential legal and environmental obstacles to installing a wind system.

Some jurisdictions, for example, restrict the height of the structures permitted in residentially zoned areas, although variances are often obtainable (see “Wind System

Basics,” which follows).

Your neighbors might object to a wind machine that blocks their view, or they might be concerned about noise. Consider obstacles that might block the wind in the future (large planned developments or saplings, for example).

If you plan to connect the wind generator to your local utility company’s grid, find out its requirements for interconnections and buying electricity from small independent power producers.

Pricing a System

When you are confident that you can install a wind machine legally and without alienating your neighbors, you can begin pricing systems and components.

Approach buying a wind system as you would any major purchase. Obtain and review the product literature from several manufacturers. Lists of manufacturers are available from the American Wind Energy

Association (AWEA, see Source List); however, not all small turbine manufacturers are members of AWEA. Manufacturer information can also be found at times in the periodicals listed in the Reading List.

Once you have narrowed the field, research a few companies to be sure they are recognized wind energy businesses and that parts and service will be available when you need them. Also, find out how long the warranty lasts and what it includes.

Ask for references of customers with installations similar to the one you are considering. Ask system owners about performance, reliability, and maintenance and repair requirements, and whether the system is meeting their expectations.