SOME QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
What Does It Cost? Just Scroll down to "the bottom line".
One of the first questions people ask is "What can I run on alternative power." The short answer is "Anything you like"!
Although it is not practical to use electricity generated by renewable sources to
- Heat water .
- cook with electrical ranges.
- Or for Household space heating.
Using piped or bottled natural gas to heat & cook can half the cost of going solar.
The most common way for a designer to size a system is to ask the clients to fill out a sheet which details the appliances they are likely to use, the power consumption of each device, and the length of time each device is likely to be in use for per day.(Sounds simple?)
The reason for this is simply an energy audit, or accounting for your proposed energy use.
It's the same as doing a financial budget and just as difficult!
The power consumption of a device is equal to the length of time it is on, times the power it draws. A television that is rated at 100w is left on for 4 hours it will consume 400 watt Hours
4hours x 100 = 400watt/hrs
The same TV on for
2hours x 100watts = 200 watt/hrs
Great! Now the TV is sorted we have to go through the same exercise for everything else in the house that uses electricity!
Once the designer has gone through the energy budget, they can design a system using these figures and it does work if every appliance has been noted and the times suggested by the customer are reasonably accurate.
Not many people really think or are even aware of what they are using, and how long for, until the system starts groaning at the load. For example do you have a water pump?, cordless phones, battery chargers, stereo, Hair dryer, or a TV on standby etc, If so how long does it run for? How much energy is consumed by appliances on "standby". How long do you watch the TV for on an average night, what's an "average night"? It’s like asking how long is a piece of string.
(answer: Exactly twice as long as it is from the centre to one end.)
OK so let's try and simplify the whole deal a little,
If you're like me and like to watch a few movies on the box and prefer to have an electric fridge and freezer, intend using a computer, vacuum cleaner, washing machine and kitchen appliances I think you need to be looking at a minimum system that will give you around 1.5-2 kW/hrs a day (1500-2000 watt/hrs)
or be prepared to use a generator when necessary on a smaller system
It is always better to have power up your sleeve to cope with inevitable growth in power usage.
If you're lucky enough to have a stream or river on your property, a Hydro based system is the way to go. I have seen a hydro system powering a house that produced more electricity than the lucky owner knew what to do with. Free power for life has a great ring to it.
There are wind powered sites that are almost as fortunate but the 24/7 output from a hydro turbine is a hard act to beat.
"THE BOTTOM LINE"
What does it cost for a life times supply of FREE POWER?
I will try to keep this as brief but as informative as possible.
To convert solar energy into any form of heating (for cooking, home heating,
and hot water etc.) is very inefficient and expensive.
Using gas appliances where applicable with (solar PV panels) to run all other appliances (radio, TV, computer, lighting, fridge, freezer, microwave, drills, water pumps etc.) with back up and room for expansion would cost approx NZ$18,000.
A down sized system for a cottage with back up generator for heavy load times may be $8,000 to $10,000 .
If price is not a concern then to support an existing home without Gas (bottled or home
produced) on totally green solar and wind energy will cost in excess of
$30,000, or more for the larger home.
If all this hasn't phased you we could look at combinations of systems or
investigate wind turbine or mini hydro options if you have a stream or river
on the property.
Emergency, or back up only systems, can be a lot cheaper.
We do not install systems but can supply solar panels, batteries and inverters at less than retail pricing.
Hope this helps.