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86 Practical Alternative Energy Applications

I am often asked about the suitability of alternative energy,
photovoltaics in particular, in different applications.

The following is very biased towards pragmatic thinking and
reflects my empirical opinions.

They do not reflect environmental concerns nor do they
address reliability concerns.

example:

You have a barn or other outbuilding fifty feet from you home or office.
The main building has utility power.
Is it wise to install solar or wind power for lighting and or a small
inverter.
In most cases it would be much less costly to trench or make an
aerial run to bring utility power in from the main building.

example:

You have a barn or other outbuilding five-hundred feet, or is up a steep
slope, from you home or office.
The main building has utility power.
Is it wise to install solar or wind power for lighting and or a small
inverter.
In most cases it would be much less costly and less labor intensive
to install a solar or wind system to provide power.


example:

You purchased some land outside of town.
The local utility company wants twenty to fifty thousand dollars
to install a meter on your property line.
For that kind of money you can install an alternative energy system
and not contend with an electric bill each month.
The batteries can last, depending on the type used and how you
treat them, from two to twelve years.
Many people in this situation are choosing an alternative energy
system.

As a note.
With a utility based system you can use (i.e. waste) as much power
as you like each month and only have to deal with the shock when the
electric bill comes in.
In some cases your conscience may cause you to consider
that you are helping to degrade our environment.

Living with an alternative energy system adds some responsibility to
your life style.
Leaving all of the lights on, or having the television on when no one
is there to watch it, is not the way to do things when you have to
produce your own power.

Conventional electrical power sources are considered to be never-ending
by many people.
Whether or not you agree with this assumption, in an alternative energy
powered home the truth rears its ugly head.
You can not use more power than you are making.

We have many customers who have off-grid homes or cabins and use
solar or wind energy every day.
Whenever possible they only fire up the generator on Saturdays or Sundays.
You have to use the washing machine and power tools at least once a week.         


In many instances an alternative energy system makes
perfect sense when the overall cost is compared to
conventional power installations.

In some areas where utility power reliability is questionable
an alternative energy system, be it a stand-alone or a utility
integrated (battery based), is the best way to go.


We are in a fairly densely populated area. One of the largest
utility sub-stations in California is at the back of our property.

Currently we have, at name plate rating, app. 2,500 watts of
photovoltaic generating capacity in operation.
A small portion is grid-intertie and the balance is in battery based
systems.

Other than having 100% continuity of power, we do it because
this is what we choose to do.

John   



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