Newbie here: trying to decide WIND or SOLAR

oliverbuttheadoliverbutthead Registered Users Posts: 4
Hello

I am new to all of this and have very limited knowledge on the subject matter. I just moved to the mountains of West TX and am in the market for wind or solar power. I live at 6000' and have good wind as well as sun. Don't know the average wind speed though. I am looking for a grid tie system that gives me the most bang for my buck as well as low maintenance costs. I do know I need a 2kw-3kw system. My current usage is 90kwh and that will go up because I am not near finished with my home and added electrical uses. I estimate my monthly usage in the end will be around 300kwh when it is all said and done. I would like to have extra output for grid tie to maybe get a little back from electric company every month......

What type of system and manufacturer would any of you recommend or have experience with? Thanks for any input that you could give!!!

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Newbie here: trying to decide WIND or SOLAR

    Welcome to the forum.

    I know you have good solar, but do you really have good wind? Lots of people think they do, put up a tower, then find out they don't. Before you buy a wind turbine put up an anemometer and see for sure. Despite the promises of manufacturers, you really do need sustained winds near 20 mph to make wind power viable.

    A grid-tie solar system will definitely give you a better return per $ than the wind system will. But the first thing you should is investigate every possible avenue of conservation and usage reduction.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,426 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie here: trying to decide WIND or SOLAR

    How often do you need to pick up your hat, after the wind blows it off ? (I know, I pick mine up EVERY time, but the wind seldom blows it off)

    If you have suitable wind location, it will blow your hat off, or force you to tie it on. Otherwise, you don't really have enough wind.

    It might come in handy 3 or 4 nights a year, when the wind howls through, but then I would worry about the blades flying off . (It happens)
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • oliverbuttheadoliverbutthead Registered Users Posts: 4
    Re: Newbie here: trying to decide WIND or SOLAR

    Well, with your points, and after further reading, I am now leaning towards solar. I also like the idea that solar panels are silent after reading that the wind generators can make a bit of noise. I do enjoy the silence........ And I have PLENTY of sunshine! Any recommendations on a complete kit? I was looking at the 2150 watt grid tie example qoute from Northern Arizona....
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,313 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie here: trying to decide WIND or SOLAR

    Solar over wind,, in nearly every instance. If you do some research, (here and elsewhere) you will find that the problem with (residential scale) wind is if you have enough to be useful, you generally have too much for the hardware to be reliable.

    Grid tie solar on the other hand is very reliable, and indeed very predictable.

    Tony
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,636 admin
    Re: Newbie here: trying to decide WIND or SOLAR

    You might want to browse through the Beginner FAQ... Lots of information/links on solar and conservation projects in general.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Newbie here: trying to decide WIND or SOLAR
    Hello
    I am looking for a grid tie system that gives me the most bang for my buck as well as low maintenance costs

    The quoted sentence pretty much eliminates wind power in my opinion. Wind turbines are not typically low maintenance, nor provide the most "bang for the buck" on a grid-tie system.

    We get better than 85% of our power from wind in the winter time (over 20 kWh per day). But I got three of them, and they are big turbines on 90 foot towers. Solar, where I live is just about worthless in the winter time. The turbines run 24 hours a day.

    So there's two sides to the coin. But for the most part, wind turbines are best suited for off-grid power and you will likely never get one to pay off for grid-tie because they cost more to install, operate and maintain than you can buy grid power for.
    --
    Chris
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,313 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie here: trying to decide WIND or SOLAR

    Chris,

    I am not too far from you as the crow flies, across the lake and then some. While December and january are not real great for my solar harvest, I get great harvests much of the time. December is tough because the lake is still open until mid December so I get little reflection off the snow (since there is no snow on the lake), but by late January the cold, longer days, with the reflection, my numbers rival my summer numbers. My loads are someone larger due to longer lighting times, but we still generally keep up. By March we are really laughing.

    There can, of course be a number of periods of several days of no sun. On the other hand, I wouldn't wish to climb a wind tower at -40 thank you very much.

    It sounds like you have your system pretty well dialed,

    Tony
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Newbie here: trying to decide WIND or SOLAR

    The bad time of the year for solar, for us, is from about Christmas to mid-February. Last year, IIRC, we had only 4 days of sunshine for that entire period. We get the Norwester winds that drive turbines pretty much around the clock, but they bring heavy overcasts and usually lots of snow that buries the panels. The solar is pretty high maintenance, while the wind turbines "just work".

    By the time we get into March, then the solar starts to work reliably again. When we get to April and May we normally get way more power than we can even use because we get both beautiful sunny days AND wind, so the turbines are shut down a lot of times when they could be making lots of power.

    So the bad part about solar here is that those months when it doesn't work that well are the coldest of the year, when our power usage is the highest of the year. If we depended just on solar in the winter time the generator would be running every day. With the turbines, the generator will only start if we get a clear, cold windless night at 20-30 below zero.

    I have a friend that lives NW of Thunder Bay and solar works very well for him up there because he doesn't get the overcast conditions and heavy snow that we get here.

    And I think that was my point to the OP - for off-grid power you really need BOTH wind and solar. If you try to live off-grid with just one or the other you will put a lot of hours on your generator. The two complement each other. However, for grid-tie, I have seen very few, if any, wind turbine installations that ever paid off.
    --
    Chris
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