Solar and wind power for the home are among the most widely used types of alternative energy. When combined they create an environmentally friendly, continuous alternative energy system that can be used to power your home. This system can also be hooked up to the grid so that any excess energy that is needed can be supplied by your utility company. This is a good backup plan should there be no wind or the weather is particularly inclement.
In a solar power system, the light from the sun is the source of electricity. Solar panels are mounted onto a roof, poles, or on the ground. The panels are lined with a semiconductor material that creates electricity when hit by the rays of the sun. Most mounts are equipped with motors that let you tilt the panels to face the sun as it moves through the sky.
The electricity generated by such systems is routed through a regulator/controller and then to an inverter to change the direct current to alternate current. Depending upon your installation, it may be sent to your battery array as direct current or to the electrical system in your home. When it is passed to your home, it can be used to power all your appliances just as the electricity from the grid may be currently doing.
Electricity follows the same basic path in a wind power system with the exception of the generation portion which takes place in the body of the turbine, which most of us consider the “giant fan” which spins away at the top of the enormous towers they are sometimes mounted on.
In a wind power setup the wind turns the blades of the wind turbine the shaft of which is routed into a generator which as it spins creates the electricity. That electricity is then routed into your structure’s electrical or storage system to provide power on its own or as a backup to your solar power.
With wind power, the most significant cost is the wind turbine. Still, the turbine will be more inexpensive than the total solar equipment you’ll be required to purchase. The downside is that the turbine must be located in a spot far off the ground, usually needing to be mounted on top of a tower of some sort which can be expensive. The installation of solar power will probably require zoning authorization from the municipality and significantly more planning.
When you combine a solar power setup with a wind power setup, you can plan for each section to work together to both compensate and complement the other. Wind power can be generated round the clock while solar has its inherent limitations. Depending on how much power you want to create, you can create a hybrid system that uses the sun and wind for a small price. Some guides claim you can do this for around $400 but this will require that you find discounted parts and do all the work yourself. This may be outside the expertise of many people but is doable if you have some DIY skills.