Wild About Renewables: Page 4 of 5

Intermediate

Inside this Article

The Hermanns' showcase home
The Hermanns in fronto of their showcase home and business.
Three Wind Gennies
With a special permit, the Hermanns were able to install three wind generators on their 0.7-acre home site.
Up On the Tower
The author doing routine maintenance on an AWP 3.6.
PV & Thermal Arrays
The top PV array feeds electric heaters and the middle array charges the system’s main battery. The vertically mounted thermal collectors produce hot water for space heating.
Power Room
The continually evolving and extensive control center.
PV Analog Meters
Solar-electric array input meters.
Battery Meters
Three amp-hour meters monitor battery state of charge and wind generator energy production.
Erhard and Renée
Erhard and Renée are happy with the performance and independence of their hybrid renewable energy system.
The Hermanns' showcase home
Three Wind Gennies
Up On the Tower
PV & Thermal Arrays
Power Room
PV Analog Meters
Battery Meters
Erhard and Renée

This type of system is simple and only requires the energy of the PV module to operate. Systems that rely on AC electricity will shut down if the grid or an inverter fails, causing the collector loop to stagnate. Stagnation may cause excessive heating of the glycol, destroying its ability to protect the system from freezing. I am planning to have a backup pump operated by a second Aquastat and a second PV module to protect the system against this worst-case scenario.

Independence in Town

It has been a lot of work and a lot of trial and error, but we sure do like having this system. Our current goal is to get as much of our required energy from our 0.7 acre as possible. We have quite a number of trees on our property and have planted more. It is tricky having the trees and the wind generators and PVs together on such a small piece of property. The type of tree and placement has been critical.

By relying mostly on the wind and sun for our electrical and heating needs, we use relatively little wood for heating. As the price of energy increases and availability decreases, we will likely see more people doing this. The town of Didsbury has expressed interest in putting up a system as well. While we started out simply trying to cover our modest load, I definitely caught the RE bug, and have built a large and complicated system that makes more energy than we need most of the time. But having a showcase system has really helped us to open others’ minds to the possibilities of renewable energy sources.

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