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Stand-alone energy generation systems

At first glance, generating your own electricity using renewable fuel sources seems like the ideal way to avoid monthly utility bills. For some homeowners, self-generation is a choice that makes sense for their circumstances and fits into their values. However, selfgeneration involves investing your money and your time doing research, comparing products, and maintaining your system. Depending upon your situation, you might not end up saving money, but homeowners who do choose to generate clean energy like being independent and knowing that they are minimizing their impacts on the environment.

When selecting the type of your energy supply system, it would be very good to compare these 2 power supply options - connecting to the grid and autonomous power supply. We have compared this 2 cases, and concluded, that if your power needs doesn't exceed several kW, and if required grid line extension lenght is more than several hunred meters, the case autonomous power supply is more economically sound than connection to the central grid.

When is Self-Generation Appropriate?

Self-generation might be right for you if:
• A grid connection is not available in your area or can be made only through an expensive line extension. (The cost of running a power line to the utility grid at a remote site can be prohibitive, ranging from $15,000 to more than $50,000 per mile, depending upon the terrain.)
• You have an interest in gaining energy independence from your utility.
• You would like to reduce the environmental impact of electricity production.
• Your site has adequate renewable resources.
• You have a strategy for meeting your energy needs when renewable resources aren’t available.
• Your state or utility provides for net metering, which allows you to interconnect your system with your utility and sell any excess generation to your utility.

In addition to considering the above, you should also:
• Research potential legal and environmental obstacles.
• Obtain cost and performance information from manufacturers.
• If cost-effectiveness is a key consideration, perform a complete economic analysis that accounts for a multitude of factors.
• Understand the basics of small renewable energy systems.
• Review possibilities for combining your system with other energy sources, backups, and energy efficiency improvements.
• Plan for ongoing system maintenance.

You have to consider the following:

  • in the case with central power supply you will have to pay connection fee, line extension fee (depends on you region and can be in range from 10 to 17 thousand USD per 1 kilometer). You also will pay for the electricity consumed. Better case is if there are several potential consumers - for example, several cottages - and you can share the connection and line extension cost. Otherwise, be ready to pay a lot of money...
  • other option is installation of your own power supply system.
    Advantages are - you don't have to pay connection and line extension fees, you are independent from the price of electricity sold by your local supply company. You are the owned of the power equipment and can generate energy whenever you want.
    Disadvantages are - you will have to make technical maintenance and repair of your power equipment. This is especially important if you have diesel or other fossil fuel generator set as main or reserve power source. You also will have to pay attention to your storage batteries condition. Wind turbines and solar collectors also need some maintenance. Photovoltaic system needs minimum attention.

What components the autonomous power supply system should consist of?

  1. Power source. There can be one or several power sources. The power source can be:
    • diesel, gas or petroleum electric generator
    • photovoltaic solar modules
    • wind turbine
    • small or micro hydro power generator.
    Any of these power sources can be main power supply. The others can be supplemental or reserve power sources.
  2. Storage battery (SB). If you use renewable energy, this is must have component due to stochastic nature of the renewable energy source. Even if your primary source of energy is fuel genset, the presence of storage battery in the system will allow you to considerably lower the genset "on" time, but to have electrical energy 24 hours a day.
  3. Inverter, which convert DC to AC. It is necessary if you have AC load, or if you DC load is far from you storage batteries (power losses in the low voltage DC cables can be very high).
  4. Charge controller. This component will protect your SB from deep discharge and overcharge. Sometimes it is built-in to the inverter.
  5. Load. In stand-alone power supply system you must use energy efficient load. For example, if you use incandescent lamps, they will consume 4 time more energy than fluorescent lamps with same luminous flux. Though the energy efficient load and devices are more expensive, you will save more money because you will have to generate less (expensive) energy. Also the capacity of your generator and storage battery can be lower in this case (more savings).

See more information on the system components using the lins above

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Moscow, 18, 10-th Parkovaya str
Tel.: +7 (499) 7489064, (495-5041005), email:

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