Making Your Own Clean Electricity
Generating electricity using your own small renewable energy system fits the circumstances and values of some home and small-business owners. Although it takes time and money to research, buy, and maintain a system, many people enjoy the independence they gain and the knowledge that their actions are helping the environment.
A renewable energy system can be used to supply some or all of your electricity needs. Some people, especially those in remote areas, use the electricity from their systems in place of electricity supplied to them by power providers (i.e. electric utilities). These are called stand-alone (off-grid) systems.
Others connect their systems to the grid and use them to reduce the amount of conventional power supplied to them through the grid. A grid-connected system allows you to sell any excess power you produce back to your power provider.
These are some renewable energy technologies available for use today:
- Small solar electric systems
- Small wind electric systems
- Microhydropower systems
- Small hybrid electric systems (solar and wind).
Before you purchase and install a small renewable energy system, you should analyze your electricity loads to see if one of the small renewable energy systems can meet all or enough of your electricity needs—is it economically feasible? You will also want to research your local codes and requirements for installing a system.
If you're designing a new home, you should work with the builder and your contractor to incorporate your small renewable energy system into your whole-house design—an approach for building an energy-efficient home.
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