Setting up a Renewable Energy System
Setting up a renewable energy system for your home requires a lot of thought and planning. Decisions need to be made about what you want out of the system. How much of your house would you like the system to run? Are you just looking for a little piece of mind with some emergency back-up power or is your goal to go completely off the grid? Most people fall somewhere in between those two scenarios.
You have to take a look at where you live. How much space do you have to set up a system? Do you have enough property to put up a wind turbine or would solar be a better choice for your situation? What are the local by-laws in your area? Are you allowed to erect a turbine on your property. Do you need a permit? These are all questions that need to be taken into consideration when planning a renewable energy system for your home.
Charge Controller. The charge controller controls the battery voltage. It is hooked up to your battery system and when your batteries are full, the charge controller sends the excess power from your system to a dump load to protect your batteries so they don’t over fill. This is very important, because if your batteries get too full, it can severely damage them and could possibly cause them to explode! Not good!
The charge controller will have different settings on it that you can change depending on what voltage your system is putting out and at what voltage you would like to have the charge controller kick in to send the extra power off to the dump load. Please, if you have never done this before, get some advice from someone who is familiar with the controllers. some of them can be tricky to set and if it’s not right, it can lead to a potentially serious problem!
We also recommend that you have a back-up controller, hooked up in series with the first one, just in case the first one fails!
The charge controller also has other settings on it to float the batteries and to equalize them occasionally. These two functions are important to keep the batteries happy and performing their best and to last as long as possible.
Dump Load. Also known as a diversion load, is a unit that is set up to the charge controller to take the excess power from the system. It is usually some kind of a heating element, either for air or water. Just make sure, again, that whatever you choose, matches your system voltage.