Wind/Solar Hookup Basics and Beyond.
Putting it all together.
There are some great articles out there telling us just how great a particular RE (renewable energy) product is; but, for some reason there are precious few articles showing us the “Big Picture” as to just where each individual component gets installed and if you really need it or not, and why or why not! This article is by no means exhaustive, but should provide both a visual and textual illustration of a battery based solar and wind grid-tie home system. I hope to be expanding this document from time to time to include other technologies as well as battery-less systems. Please feel free to contact me if you see any errors or omissions, please let us know.
1st off – What I will attempt to do is show the basics of an overall alternate energy (solar/wind) design, then add some components that are recommended, but perhaps not mandatory. For instance a lighting protection system (LPS) is generally not required, but leaving it out can lead to some serious losses, therefore they should not be overlooked in the well-designed complete system. Another concept that will be largely ignored in this document is the justification of one energy source vs. another. This is beyond the scope of this document as there are many factors to consider in choosing wind (hydro etc.) power over solar or visa versa, or can either/both be justified financially. Perhaps a future document will expand on these topics; however, at this time we will simply assume you have made a choice to start lowering your electric bills, and perhaps even dream of a life free of utility companies.
Why did we choose solar and wind? These two technologies are by far the most used renewable electrical energy sources being installed residentially and commercially. Both have proven capabilities in providing safe, fully sustainable, highly reliable electrical power for homes and businesses alike. Also of note is that these two energy sources often compliment each other very well. Solar panels work on any clear and sunny day, which of course is not at night, whereas wind power is available anytime the wind is blowing above the turbines, cut in speed. On really stifling hot days, the wind is often void, and on those days when the wind is blowing enough to strip you of your garments, the sun is often hiding. So they’re great together, and in my opinion should both be taken into consideration at an early stage of system design, even if you can only afford one or the other at the start.
If you do need to choose between solar or wind, my recommendation is to start with solar (even though the cost per watt may seem higher with solar). It is much easier to put together a great starter solar system and find out just how everything works. Solar panels are somewhat like legos, they can be added together to form higher voltage systems or higher amperage systems. They can be installed rather easily in multiple locations and often with little more than the tools you have lying around. You can mix and match many panel types with little problem and can start very small and grow indefinitely. Wind systems require a deeper understanding of many more concepts and a clearer understanding of the long run goals and paths to achieve those goals. Wind systems are less tolerant to mistakes. A poorly chosen system (either the model, or perhaps for your area) can result in little or no useable power. An improperly built or erected turbine or tower can lead to catastrophic losses to both property and lives. Good turbines and towers require a substantial investment in both time and money for a solid and safe installation. Do not miss-understand, a poorly designed solar system suffers from these same faults; however, it is easier for the novice to do an acceptable solar installation then it is to do the same for wind. If you are just getting started, and need to choose one or the other, then solar is a great way to get your feet wet.
OK enough talk, lets see a picture or two. Most of the diagrams that follow, will allow you to click on them to “Zoom” in, either by presenting more detail or providing more complex designs. Many of the images are mapped so you can click on a particular item within the image to view details on that particular component. The more you click, the deeper you go.
****************** This is the start of this document only-- Many links are simply google searches at this time *************************
************* I promise to add real links soon! Please check back from day to day for updates. *******************************
The Big Picture Basic Wiring Diagram
The Big Picture Intermediate Wiring Diagram
Page 2 - Charge Controllers
Page 4- Diversion Loads
Page 5- Wire Size
Page 6- Wind/Hydro Turbine Hookup Diagram
Page 7- Dual Wind/Hydro Turbine With Solar Hookup Diagram
Page 8- Matching Solar panels to Batteries