Wind power may be an option in some locations that usually have a strong steady breeze. In my location there is rarely enough wind to justify making a significant investment in a wind generator. In locations with intermittent wind conditions it may be practical to invest in a very small and less costly wind turbine to supplement solar energy.
A system without solar modules could be put together that would provide continuous electric power to the home when commercial electrical power becomes intermittent. Solar modules and other components could be added later with little or no rework. Batteries would be charging whenever grid power was available and batteries would start discharging to power the inverter when the grid was down.
This system allows a house to be powered from either a generator or the grid, or both at different times. A generator could be shut down for long periods of time and still have electric power available from the batteries and inverter when using this configuration.
Hydro Electric Power
The first choice for an independent power source is a fast flowing mountain stream. In this system water is diverted to flow through a turbine made from an automobile alternator. The alternator charges deep cycle batteries (Trojan T-105 are recommended). Unfortunately not many have the opportunity to live next to a mountain stream with adequate head pressure and a flow rate sufficient to run a turbine.
For those in great physical condition and wannabe’s, pedal power is another option for generating electricity on an extremely small scale. Compare the 130 watt output of a $610 Kyocera solar panel from Wholesale Solar to the price and output of these pedal powered options:
- Mother Earth News
- Pedal Powered Generator, 150 watts for 30 minutes if you are in great shape, $50 for plans plus $100-$250 for parts you purchase locally.