So you are considering either by necessity or for whatever reason becoming power self reliant with home made electrical power. Let us look at some things you need to do so that you have a chance of getting something that will work for you.
1. Perform an energy audit
What is an energy audit? Put in a nutshell it is determining how much power you use and what specific items are using it. What you want to determine is how many watt hours or kilowatt hours per day are you using. The power bill if you have one can help. Purchasing an energy monitor can help to get some real data.
2. Rationalise your power use
How can you reduce your power usage? I don’t mean changing habits or lifestyle but looking at the efficiency of the appliances. Power systems that utilise battery power for home store the power DC. Did you know that with many items, particularly lighting and refrigeration that the DC equivalent items, although initially more expensive are much leaner and efficient than the normal AC versions. DC powered items also don’t have the extra overhead of the inverter that the AC equivalents. Eliminating dummy loads by turning off or unplugging the TV, DVD and VCR at the wall socket when not in use will also save power. You should also scrutinise items including the washing machine as to its efficiency and consider replacing it. Spending money to reduce your power usage may seen silly but can save you lots when building a home made electrical power system, particularly if you build your own solar power system.
3. Eliminate heating uses of electricity
Unless your budget is huge it is unlikely you will be able to cook, have hot water and heat your home with a home made electrical power system. Consider other forms of heating and cooking. Obviously the main alternatives items are those fuelled by bottled gas, natural gas and wood. Unless you do this even just the battery power for home that you will require will be VERY expensive.
4. Decide how you are going to provide the power
Now you have a good idea on how much power you really need how are you going to give yourself that power? Are you going to store the power in batteries? I suggest you do. If so how are you going to charge the batteries? The main alternatives would be evergreen solar power and windmill home power. Other things you may consider depending on suitability is home steam power generation and home hydro power. Another technology emerging is thermo-electric power (electricity directly from heat). Make sure you research any special requirements of each type of diy power generator and the initial costs as well as any ongoing cost and maintenance.
5. Design the system
This is where you look at the details of sizes of the individual components of the power system. The individual components can be grouped into three types: power charge sources, power storage, power users. Usually the power user components location and size is already set (you worked this out in the previous steps). So working out the size and location of your battery system, your number and size of solar panels, your windmill home power generator and what ever else you are going to give a try. Note I said size AND location, for windmill home power generators and home solar generator panels, location is everything.
Being power self-reliant with home made electrical power is very rewarding. Whether you build your own solar power system, use windmill home power, have home steam power generation, install home hydro power or a combination of any these, you will be satisfied with knowing you are in control of your own power destiny and energy footprint. By following the steps above the process of becoming self-reliant for power can become a more planned, less painful process.
Copyright 2008 Kevin Day. Please feel free to pass this article on to your friends, or use it in your ezine or newsletter. It’s a shareware article.