Off grid renewable energy systems offer users freedom. Not only is renewable energy, captured by wind, water turbine systems, and solar panels, environmentally friendly because it is a pollution free energy source, it also provides freedom from utility bills, freedom to live where you want, and freedom from interrupted power supplies. There is no longer a need to live connected to energy lines when you can create, stores, and utilize your own energy.
Off grid systems utilize wind, sun, and water energy by collecting it from nature. As in a grid tied system, the energy is collected in direct current (DC) voltage and transferred into alternating current (AC) voltage. Whereas on a grid tied system you can utilize a few renewable energy sources to decrease your daily use of utility energy, an off grid home requires numerous sources of renewable energy to provide enough wattage to supply your energy needs. In addition, whereas a grid-tied home doesn't require storage of energy on site because utility energy can be used, an off grid system requires an energy storage site. This energy storage allows for energy use when the sun is down, the wind is not blowing, and the river is calm.
Energy is stored in large battery banks. Like a solar array, a battery bank is a group of batteries that are tied together. The size of the battery bank required for each system depends on the storage capacity required (how much energy you use), the maximum discharge rate (the amount of energy you require at one time), and the minimum charge rate (how quickly the batteries store energy). The factor that requires the largest capacity will determine the size of battery bank you require.
Lead Acid batteries are the most common batteries used in renewable energy systems. They are cheaper than gel cell batteries and are readily available. Both sealed maintenance free lead acid batteries and vented lead acid batteries are adequate for any system. Sealed maintenance free batteries offer addition safety features due to more efficient charging which reduces the emission of hydrogen gas and because no electrolyte addition is needed which can cause acid burns and spills. Be sure to utilize deep cycle batteries instead of shallow cycle batteries. Deep cycle batteries are designed to discharge slowly over a long period of time whereas shallow cycle batteries are designed to discharge quickly providing larger amounts of current for such purposes as starting an engine.
When energy is required, the energy must be converted into the correct voltage. Renewable energy sources produce direct current (DC) voltage whereas homes utilize alternating current (AC) power to run. Therefore as the energy is pulled from the batteries it must be converted from direct current (DC) voltage into the alternating current (AC). This is done by a relatively new technology called the inverter. Once the current is converted to AC power, it can be utilized to supply all of your energy needs.
Due to the every changing climate and unpredictable behavior of nature, even the most accurately planned off grid system may need addition energy supplies. Therefore, many off grid homes also utilize generators. The generator is a last resort energy supply used when there is no energy stored for use and no energy can be produced due to lack of conditions.
BD Batteries - A Broomfield-Designers Company
Serving the Local Colorado Community 9-5 Mountain & Emergencies P. 303-800-4725 F. 303-600-9726
Serving the Buffalo and the Great Lakes Communities 9-5 Eastern & Emergencies P. 716-531-4875
Mailing Address: 5023 West 120th Ave. #138, Broomfield, CO 80020
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