If you’re going to run your home, cabin, or garage off-grid, you are going to need some way of having power. Enter Solar and Wind.
This project goes over the building of a complete off-grid power generation system that can harness the clean and green renewable energy of the sun and the wind.
STEP 1 : BASIC CONNECTION IN A SOLAR PANEL SYSTEM
The basic concept of an off-grid power generation system involves harnessing renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind, to create electricity.
Solar panels are used to convert sunlight into DC electricity, which is then directed to a charge controller.
The charge controller ensures that the electricity generated by the solar panels is efficiently transferred to the battery bank, where it is stored for later use.
It also monitors the battery bank’s charge level and prevents overcharging or undercharging, which can damage the batteries.
In addition to solar panels, wind turbines can also be used to generate electricity.
The wind turbine is connected to a stop switch, which sends the electricity produced by the wind turbine to the battery bank.
To maximize efficiency and prevent damage to the system, a wind turbine charge controller can be installed between the turbine and the battery bank.
STEP 2 : CONVERTING DC POWER USING AN INVERTER
The next step is converting the DC power to AC power with an inverter. The inverter basically converts the power to make it usable for your home.
The inverter also has to be sized appropriately. From inverter to breaker panel which spreads the power out throughout your house through your light switches, wall sockets.
From breaker panel straight to your house or cabin.
After the DC electricity is generated and stored in the battery bank, it needs to be converted into AC power for use in homes and buildings.
This is where an inverter comes in. The inverter takes the DC electricity from the battery bank and converts it into AC power.
It is important to size the inverter appropriately, based on the power needs of the home or building. If the inverter is too small, it may not be able to handle the power demand.
Once the electricity is converted into AC power, it is distributed throughout the house or building via a breaker panel.
The breaker panel spreads the power out to various circuits and outlets, which are controlled by light switches and wall sockets.
From the breaker panel, the electricity flows directly into the house or cabin, powering lights, appliances, and other electronic devices.
STEP 3 : SIZING YOUR SYSTEM
When setting up an off-grid power generation system, it is crucial to size the system appropriately. The battery voltage determines the type of equipment needed and how the battery bank is wired.
For instance, a 12-volt system requires solar panels to be wired correctly for 12 volts. Similarly, when using a wind turbine, it is essential to choose a turbine that matches the battery voltage to ensure optimal efficiency.
To size the system correctly, it is important to consider the power demand of the home or building. This includes determining the total wattage of all appliances and electronics that will be powered by the system.
From there, it is necessary to choose the appropriate battery bank capacity, solar panel wattage, and wind turbine size to meet the power demand.
Here we use six 6-volt golf cart batteries wired in parallel and series to create a 12-volt battery bank.
By wiring the batteries in this configuration, we can increase the capacity of the battery bank while maintaining the necessary voltage for the system.
The control panel box contains essential components, including the charge controller, voltmeter, and two ammeters.
The charge controller helps to regulate the charging of the battery bank and ensures that it is not overcharged or undercharged.
The voltmeter displays the voltage level of the battery bank, which is crucial for monitoring the system’s performance.
The two ammeters provide readings for both the solar and wind power amps, enabling the user to determine how much power is being generated by each source.
STEP 4 : CONNECTING THE SOLAR PANELS
In the off-grid power generation system, four 12-volt solar panels, each with a capacity of 100 watts, are wired together to form a single power source.
To wire the panels, all the positive terminals are connected to each other, and all the negative terminals are connected to each other.
The wiring from the solar panels goes straight into the control panel, which is responsible for regulating the flow of electricity and ensuring that the system functions efficiently.
The control panel is an essential component of the off-grid power generation system and includes various components, such as the charge controller, voltmeter, and ammeters, to monitor the system’s performance.
STEP 5 : BASICS OF A WIND TURBINE SYSTEM
A 12-volt wind turbine is used as an additional renewable energy source. The three-phase connections from the wind turbine are directed into the bridge rectifier, which converts the alternating current (AC) generated by the turbine into direct current (DC).
The negative DC connection from the rectifier is then directed straight to the batteries, while the positive DC connection is directed to a junction box.
The junction box connects the turbine, the inline fuse, and the 50-amp breaker. The inline fuse is responsible for preventing the overloading of the system, while the breaker is used to disconnect the circuit if necessary.
The negative DC connection from the inverter is connected to the negative terminal of the batteries, while the positive DC connection is connected to the positive terminal of the batteries.
This configuration allows the batteries to store the energy generated by the wind turbine and other sources, such as solar panels.
Finally, the Romex wire from the inverter is connected to the breaker panel in the house. The breaker panel is responsible for distributing the electricity throughout the house, and the Romex wire allows the AC power generated by the inverter to be distributed throughout the home’s electrical system.
STEP 6 : THE WORKINGS OF A PERMANENT MOTOR ALTERNATOR
The Permanent Motor Alternator (PMA) turbine in the off-grid power generation system is mounted on a 6-foot pole. To secure the pole, two steel pipes are inserted into the ground at a depth of three feet.
A piece of steel is then welded across the bottom of the pipes, and concrete is poured over it to anchor the pole.
To prevent the pole from wobbling in high winds, three tie-down points are connected to the turbine. This helps to keep the pole steady and prevents premature wear on the turbine’s bearings.
The PMA used in this turbine is made up of two shell casings, two bearings, a rotor, and a stainless steel shaft. The rotor rotates inside the shell casings, which are designed to maximize the efficiency of the PMA.
The bearings are responsible for supporting the rotor and allowing it to rotate smoothly. The stainless steel shaft connects the rotor to the hub, which is where the blades are mounted.
The wind turbine in the off-grid power generation system features a tail made of sheet metal that is cut to resemble a fin.
This tail is attached to a steel pole and plays an important role in stabilizing the turbine in high winds.
The tail is designed to catch the wind and to help direct the blades of the turbine into the optimal position for generating electricity.
This is achieved by using the tail to maintain a constant orientation of the turbine, even as the wind direction and speed change.
The steel pole to which the tail is attached is also an essential component of the wind turbine. It provides the necessary support for the turbine to remain stable and secure, even in high winds.
The pole is designed to absorb the stresses and strains of the turbine’s rotation and to ensure that it remains aligned with the wind direction.
The wind turbine consists of 11 blades that are attached to a hub and a pulley using a steel shaft. The hub is the central component of the turbine that rotates when the wind blows.
The rotation of the hub causes the blades to spin, generating mechanical energy.
To convert this mechanical energy into electrical energy, a belt is connected to the pulley on the hub and a secondary pulley.
The secondary pulley is connected to the Permanent Magnet Alternator (PMA), which is responsible for generating electricity from the turbine’s rotational energy.
The PMA is a crucial component of the system, as it is responsible for converting the mechanical energy generated by the turbine into electrical energy. This electrical energy can then be stored in the battery bank for later use.
To monitor the electricity generated by the PMA, a wire is connected from the PMA through MC4 connectors to the control panel.
The control panel is where the voltage and amperage of the electricity generated by the wind turbine and the solar panels are measured and monitored.
Image Credits : Modern Off Grid DIY
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