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Solar Storage Batteries

There is considerable research being undertaken into large scale liquid batteries that store excess solar and wind energy during dark or low wind periods. MIT and a Fraunhofer consortium are among those investigating the issue. This has been one of the challenges for effective green energy storage to create a stable supply. Obviously under certain conditions solar and wind can not produce sufficient power, especially an issue if you are not connected to grid power for backup. Liquid batteries are being touted as superior because they are cheaper to create, last longer, and their electrodes allow the liquid to absorb large quantities of energy quickly. Small domestic installation use a bank of batteries, often in series, to provide backup, as this video shows.

Additional Components in a Small Wind System

Depending on your application, you will need additional equipment and materials to provide electricity at the required voltage and current. The following balance-of-system (BOS) components are often sold separately (or available as a larger package) and are usually required to complete a small wind energy system:

Batteries Used to store the generated electricity if the turbine is not connected to the electrical grid. The best batteries for a renewable energy system are deep discharge batteries that can be safely discharged a significant amount (50-80% of the battery storage) daily and charged back up the next day. Properly-sized batteries for your system tend to last 3 to 5 years. Inverter Required if the turbine outputs DC power and you wish to use AC on site or connect the turbine to the electrical grid. Light duty inverters (1001,000 W) are typically 12 V DC and suitable for lights and small appliances such as televisions, radios and small hand tools. Heavy duty inverters (40010,000 W) can be 12, 24 or 48 V DC, and can be used to run just about anything found in a home or small business. Inverters consume approximately 10% of the generated electricity (treated as a loss) when converting from DC to AC. The quality of the output AC electricity is also important. High quality AC is considered true sine wave or modified sine wave and is sufficient to safely power sensitive electronic equipment such as computers. Rectifier The opposite of an inverter, this device converts AC power to DC and is used when the AC power from an AC-generating turbine is needed for DC appliances or battery charging. Battery Charger If the generator does not have a battery charging output, a special battery charger is required. Some inverters can act as battery chargers. Alternative source(s) of electricity Required if you do not have the turbine connected to the electrical grid and you need to supplement the wind generated electricity with electricity from a fossil fuel generator or photovoltaic panels (PV).

Disconnect switches, circuit breakers, fuses and other protective equipment (as recommended by the manufacturer and required by the electrical code) are important for the safe operation of the system. They electrically isolate the wind turbine from the batteries and the batteries from the inverter and load. Monitoring System Standard monitoring equipment usually includes a voltmeter for measuring battery voltage and depth of discharge, and an ammeter to monitor energy production or use. More sophisticated monitoring equipment includes alarms for system problems such as low or high voltage conditions.