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Hello, my son is researching how to generate our own electricity using either windmills or solar. He bought a book entitled "Solar Power for your Home" and it does have some information about windmills as well; however, it is a little complex and we have not found any information in it as yet from people who have built their own energy process.

We live on a small 6-acre farm about 60 miles from the nearest town in all directions. We do get a significant amount of wind and much sun. We live in a 14 x 65 ft. trailer and have built a 30 x 45 ft. barn, a 32 x 32 ft. shed & a 16 x 26 ft. buck house. We are in the process of completing an 8 x 15 ft. store house (2-story). We have electricity run underground to all these structures.

Has anyone in here done something like this? If so, can you offer some suggestions or give some advice about getting this done without hiring another to do it?
 

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Read Home Power magazine, they have lots of basic info on their website, too. Attend some energy fairs this summer to see equipment, take workshops, and talk to experts.

http://www.homepower.com/home/
Energy fair article: http://www.homepower.com/article/?file=HP123_pg48_RE_Sources
More on energy fairs: http://www.builditsolar.com/References/Events/Fairs.htm

Jim, using windpower since 1977 and PVs since 1981
Hi
There is also a PV section at Build It Solar that has a lot of good articles on PV, including accounts from people who have built systems:
http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/PV/pv.htm

As wisjim says, Home Power is really good on PV. They have a special going now on thier online subscription -- $10 per year. The online subscription gives you access to all their past articles -- about 20 years worth.

Gary
 

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It is not cheap or reliable. Other than that solar and wind are good.If you have money to use to get a solar and wind they would be good for at least some of the power you use. If it were cheep or reliable then everybody would have one in the back of their yard.
 

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Old Vet is right - if you have access to grid power, it's cheaper to go that route. Now, if you don't have access to grid power, or are simply wanting to go without, then you should look into both - plus hydro if you have access to that. Just be advised that producing one's own energy will probably cost at least 3 times what it'd cost to get from the grid.

Another site to visit - otherpower.com. Of course I think the alternative energy board on this forum is pretty darn good too!
 

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I've built both wind and PV. We get a lot of wind around here so I started with a wind turbine.

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oI0N21QqwA[/ame]

Of course, even in places where the wind is good, the sun is still more reliable than the wind. The PV panels are a better solution. The challenge in PV panels is to get cost down. I did that by purchasing PV cells from eBay and building my own panel enclosure. You can buy untabbed cells for about $1.50/watt, and you can even buy broken cells for about $1/watt. Either way, $2/watt for a finished panel is doable. I more or less followed this guide.

http://www.mdpub.com/SolarPanel/index.html

Here is what my 63 watt panel looks like.

 

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It is not cheap or reliable. Other than that solar and wind are good.If you have money to use to get a solar and wind they would be good for at least some of the power you use. If it were cheep or reliable then everybody would have one in the back of their yard.
If you live out in a rural area grid power may not be too reliable either. Some people here have said that some of their power outages have gone for a week or more. This is only going to get worse as the utility grid ages and they layoff more workers.

At my house there is too many shade trees and not enough wind. Also, I couldn't get a permit for a wind tower even if there were good winds here. For me, renewable energy isn't about being cheap. It's about the personal satisfaction that I get for helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.


:lonergr:
 

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I've been dreaming of making my own Water Wheel to generate power. I live right next to a creek that has some fairly swift currents in places. Don't know how well that would work but might be able to create enough power to run the outhouse light!!!!
 

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I've been dreaming of making my own Water Wheel to generate power. I live right next to a creek that has some fairly swift currents in places. Don't know how well that would work but might be able to create enough power to run the outhouse light!!!!
Build the water wheel--add a V belt pulley to the wheel that will turn a DC motor and run the wire from the DC motor into your outhouse to a charge controller then to the battery----hookup a light. Now which DC motor and size of pulleys will have to be worked out with how "Strong", speed etc or your wheel. But it would not take something big, just to run a light.
 

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If you live out in a rural area grid power may not be too reliable either. Some people here have said that some of their power outages have gone for a week or more. This is only going to get worse as the utility grid ages and they layoff more workers.

At my house there is too many shade trees and not enough wind. Also, I couldn't get a permit for a wind tower even if there were good winds here. For me, renewable energy isn't about being cheap. It's about the personal satisfaction that I get for helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.


:lonergr:
How many times have you been without power for more than a day or two? I live just about as far out as anybody and the only time I have been without power is 5 days and that was because of wind damage a lot of people were out for 5 days that time.

If you have the money you can put in anything that will make you feel good. Just don't complain about not saving any money.
 

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You need to look what the average wind speed is for your area ( their web site that will tell you this ) . Since you are out in the country you wouldn't have to worry about building code. It is also possible depending on where you live to sell the access power generated back to the utility company. One downside if you are not tied to the grid is the batteries. Have be replaced every 5 years. I would second the home power magazine. Wouldn't hurt to join an online discussion group on this. Look up on goggle the name Steve Spence , he has newsletter has allot of help. You are looking around 20,000 or more before you are all said and done. Do research on towers. The higher the tower the better (80') . http://www.green-trust.org/wordpress/
 
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