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Wind power to supplement Grid power without backfeeding grid

Wind power to supplement Grid power without backfeeding grid

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  #1  
Old 07-29-07, 09:23 PM
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Wind power to supplement Grid power without backfeeding grid

I am looking into installing a small wind turbine to help reduce my electrical bill. I am not looking at going off grid, just reducing consumption. My electrical utility does not allow "net metering". Anyways I am fairly sure that the size of wind turbine I am considering wouldn't have any excess capacity to sell back anyways.
My question is since I am not allowed to install one of the systems that back feeds the grid has anyone heard of or designed a system that would allow me to run a wind turbine seperate from the grid will still allowing to grid to supply power when there is more draw or no wind?

My first plan was to move a light but relatively constant load (computers, some lights, low draw circuites such as alarm clocks etc) to a small sub panel, the sub panel I could then run off of the wind turbine and a battery bank. In the event the batteries start running low on power I could have a battery charger come on automatically to charge from the grid supplied panel.
I assume that the grid supplied battery charger idea is a vey inefficient way of doing things and that there is a better solution out there that I have just not been able to find.

Any ideas, advice, websites to look at?
Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 07-30-07, 04:31 AM
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You need professional help and a professional installer. Do not try this alone.
 
  #3  
Old 07-30-07, 06:22 AM
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I know that I cannot put this in myself, I am just doing some reasearch as to what is available. If I had access to a professional in my area I would ask them. Most of the electricians around here wouldn't know what voltage a wind turbine put out let alone how to hook it up.

What I am looking for is a website or supplier who sells such a system so I can do some more research and see if it is cost feasbile.
 
  #4  
Old 07-30-07, 08:30 AM
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It's unclear from your first post whether the utility allows grid-connected generation. The fact that they do not have net metering just means they aren't going to pay you for excess generation, but still may allow you to connect -- it's some free power for them after all.

There are several brands of grid-connected inverters which are designed to work with solar panels and wind turbines. Usually in a set up like you're describing the turbine or PV solar source runs through a regulating charger to a bank of lead acid batteries. You then will have a grid-connected inverter which draws power from the batteries, converts it to be compatible with grid power, and feeds it into your main panel. A proper grid-connected inverter is smart enough to sense when utility power is out and automatically disconnects itself from the grid to avoid potential electrocution hazard. These are UL listed, and should satisfy the power company's need for line worker safety.

Here are some domestic manufacturers of small wind turbines. I would suggest contacting them for installers in your area.

http://www.bergey.com/
http://www.windenergy.com/grid_connected.htm
http://www.windturbine.net/
 
  #5  
Old 07-30-07, 08:55 AM
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www.nooutage.com

I've bought stuff from them in the past and their customer service is pretty good as well. You might try calling them and asking some questions.

Unless your rates are extremely high (20-30 cents or more per KWH), I think you will find the cost of alternative power is quite high.
 
  #6  
Old 07-30-07, 11:12 AM
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I have done some more cost analysis and at my current electricity rate of under 6c a kw/h I dont believe I will be progressing at this time.

On the other hand where my parents live they have a large lot on the top of a hill that is generally quite windy, as well their rate is around 15c a kw/h so I am still doing some reasearch for them.

If I installed a system with the grid connected inverter and battery bank what happens in the event of a grid power failure? The power connection should be broken to prevent back feeding of the grid however wouldn't that also prevent the house from receiving power, part of the allure of this system is the backup power it provides (again better for my parents where long power outages are more common, they were without power for a week once)

Also if there is a way to have power into the house when the grid is down what happens to control the load? The inverter is obviously not going to provide enough power for a full load nor would I want it to, during power outage I would just want to supply some lights and the fridge etc. Would overloading the inverter cause a brown out or would the inverter just shut down?
 
  #7  
Old 07-30-07, 01:29 PM
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An ordinary electromekanical meter is running backwards if the power is "going the wrong way" Stopping AC from going in the wrong direction is expensive. AC generators shold be running synchronous to the grid, when not enough wind, the generator runs as motor, and draw power from the grid, when enough wind the generator delivers to the system, if you use less, it delivers to the grid.

A separate system charging a battery bank and supplying an inverter or dc load is simpler, when voltage drops to much your charger take over.
If the grids going down, your system operates separatly.

This may probably be a nice hobby, but will cost more than you save.

If you are going to make the system Motors as Generators for Micro-Hydro Power by Nigel Smith is an interesting book.

dsk
 
  #8  
Old 07-30-07, 02:33 PM
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> what happens in the event of a grid power failure? The power connection
> should be broken to prevent back feeding of the grid however wouldn't that
> also prevent the house from receiving power

> The inverter is obviously not going to provide enough power for a full load

> would the inverter just shut down?

You've pretty much identified the key technical difficulties with grid-connected alternative energy. There certainly are solutions out there which involve smart controllers and relay switches that automatically switch specific circuits or panels onto line or local power with appropriate safety lockouts. You've also no doubt discovered that this kind of gear is not cheap to buy or install and often cannot pay for itself in energy savings during the service life unless you have large system.

Here is an example of an all-in-one charger, storage, inverter and controller:
http://www.gridpoint.com/consumer/objects/pdf/GridPoint_Connect.pdf
 
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