Windmills and Solar Panels
Would I recommend windmills or solar panels as an alternative power supply?
Using renewable energy to generate electricity depends on a number of factors which need to be taken into consideration.
The time of the year when electricity is used the most, is in the winter months, when the days are short and the nights are long. This is when we tend to spend more time indoors with the lights on, the television, radio, music system, computor etc. If you are considering saving on energy costs or just want the freedom of being self sufficient you need to ask yourself some questions. Try to think of your answers based on when you intend to use the wind power or solar power. The winter months are when wind is more and sunshine is less.
Windmill, wind turbine, wind power generator
One advantage of windmills is that they work day and night. When you go to bed the windmill is busy charging up your batteries or even selling electricity back to the national grid for a profit
Windmill for house, building, workshop or some other permanent land based structure.
A wind mill needs to be mounted in such a position as to catch maximum amount of wind.
Look at the surroundings. Is it sheltered from the wind or does it get a steady flow of air.
Wind turbines like "clean air" that is to say non turbulent air. Turbulence can be caused by the air buffeting around trees, buildings, high hedges and so on.
How high up does the wind turbine need to be to get the most wind power and use it's maximum efficiency?
The windmill itself does have its own resistance to air and in strong gusty winds such as stormy weather the windmill has to be very securely mounted onto a strong fixture which will not snap, bend or fall over.
Can you build a decent tower or have a long pole fixed securely with anchoring cables?
There is some noise with wind generators best described as a low humming or droning noise. I actually enjoy listening to my windmill. It gives me an intense sense of satisfaction. It's a background noise and not at all intrusive.
Will the windmill cause a nuisance to neighbours?
Do you need planning permission?
Windmill for camper van, motor home, boat or other vehicle.
This section is for people who have often asked me if my windmill works when I am driving along. Yes seriously! When the vehicles engine is running the batteries are being charged by the alternator which is being powered by the engine. I have never tried to drive with the windmill in position.
This is the awkward bit. To move from A to B the windmill has to be taken down and carried inside the vehicle. It is an awkward shape, quite heavy and not easy to store. Removing the wind turbine blades helps but is time consuming and hardly worthwhile if I want to put it back up again the same day. When arriving at the destination it is then mounted back onto it's pole, hoisted up in to position and plugged in. This takes about five minutes.
My friend was very impressed with my windmill so he bought one for himself of the same make and model. He then had a bracket made that allowed him to carry the windmill on the roof of his motor home in a folded down position. Which is a good idea but also is prone to catching in branches of trees or other obstacles. So if you want to store it in the vehicle when driving have you got the space? Or Would you prefer to have it remain on the roof?
This windmill is a Rutland 913
Solar panel Photovoltaic panel
Solar panels for a house, building, workshop or some other permanent land based structure.
Think about where you would like to install your solar panel. Most of the ones you will see are fixed to the roof of a building and are permanently in one position. Is the roof in shadow during the winter months. Think about trees, other buildings etc.
For how many hours of the day is the panel in full sun?
A solar panel is simple to fit, lightweight and once it is fitted there is nothing to do. As long as the sun is shining it will be working away generating electricity for you. I have also seen my solar panel generating electricity from the full moon!
I have also seen panels mounted in a framework on the ground which can be easily adjusted to face square onto the sun throughout the day to take the best advantage of the free source of solar energy.
You can have as many solar panels as you like all joined in together. Buy them one at a time if necessary. I have seen between one and twenty on houses and hundreds maybe thousands at a site in Portugal and at another site in Spain. If Spain and Portugal are investing so much money into green energy then there must be something in it.
A solar panel installation may also increase the value of your home by much more than the actual cost.
The cost can be recouped over time by selling the excess electricity back to the grid.
Solar Panel for camper van, motor home, boat or other vehicle.
I bolted my solar panel down though the roof of my camper van and there it stays when I am driving. As soon as I stop driving and the engine is turned off as long as the sun is shining the panel takes over. Sometimes I unbolt the panel from the inside, pop up onto the roof and prop it up at an angle to face the sun and rotate it through the day. Only takes a couple of minutes. A tilting framework can be easily made to keep it securely fastened to the vehicle. Don't forget to bolt it back down again before driving away.
The solar panel pictured is an 80 watt panel made by BP Solar
Living with green energy
I have a solar panel and a windmill installation on my motor-home and get the best of both worlds. The only maintenance I do is occasionally give the solar panel a wipe with a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust.
I love it. I have been able to watch satellite TV, run my computer, have the lights on, charge my mobile phone and digital camera. I have used an angle grinder, electric drills and all manner of power tools. All without connecting to mains electricity.
Imagine having your own supply of electricity. You have made the initial outlay and now electricity is yours to use whenever you want. No more bills, no contract, no supply faults, no extortionate price hikes, no more working out the best tariff and switching suppliers to offset the rising cost of energy.
Building my own solar panel and windmill system has been totally satisfying. Living off the grid and the freedom of generating my own homemade electricity supply wherever I want to be, is worth every penny. It has made a huge difference to my life
Regulating the Voltage of a Solar Panel and Wind Turbine
12 volt Solar panel and wind turbine voltage regulator.
This voltage regulator delivers solar panel and a wind turbine output current into one or two leisure batteries.
Very simple to fit and the wiring instructions are clear and simple to understand.
I like the clear easy to read display panel
The solar panel, wind turbine, voltage regulator and electric cable were all supplied by Brewsters of Plymouth
Thank you very much Brewsters. I am very happy with all my purchases in your shop.