Running a generator without a battery bank

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Could I power all electrical utilities directly without a battery bank?

What's the best motor to use? An alternator/generator/etc.? (No gasoline powered generators)

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  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Running a generator without a battery bank

    Welcome to the forum.

    You'd have to define "all electrical utilities" first.

    As a rule, most anything that will plug in to a standard outlet can be run from a typical AC generator. Some things are a bit picky about frequency/Voltage and may require one of the inverter-type generators (such as the Honda EU2000i). So long as the generator has sufficient capacity to handle the loads (Watt for Watt, so to speak) it should work.
  • ZPE101
    ZPE101 Registered Users Posts: 2
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    Re: Running a generator without a battery bank

    Hi, I failed to mention that I do not want to use any type of gasoline generator.

    The Honda EU2000i uses gasoline?

    I'd like to power the AC primarily, fridge, hot water, etc. all day. Anything that uses power.
  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Running a generator without a battery bank

    I've deleted your other thread because it basically asks the same question.

    What we need to do here is clear up some terminology.

    You want to run loads: refrigerator, hot water, air conditioning, et cetera. Right? You do not want to use a gasoline/propane/diesel generator, right?

    There's only two ways to do it: utility power, which is usually the cheapest per kW hour, or battery-based inverter.

    In case you were thinking of it, there is no way to run this equipment directly from solar panels even with a grid-tie type inverter. The reason being panel output ability and load consumption demand will never be in sync. In other words when you produce power and when you need to use it will not be at the same time. You must be able to store power so that it is available when the load requires it. This means either fossil fuels, batteries, or the utility grid. There's no way around this.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,491 admin
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    Re: Running a generator without a battery bank

    We actually call them "generically" a generator set or genset... But an Alternator creates Alternating current and a (true) generator produces DC power (for charging batteries, etc.).

    Your home, probably, uses 120/240 VAC 60 Hz split phase power (north America). This is a fancy way of saying a center tapped 240 VAC transformer (120 vac to Line to neutral, and 240 from Line to Line). Typically, 60-100-125-200-400 amp service.

    You can purchase "generators" that produce 120/240 VAC from even Home Depot or Costco (15 kW or 15,000 watts @$6,000 or so for Natural Gas/LP with autostart).

    These will provide very nice protection against power losses (short term for days or a few weeks at time).

    However, you will have noise (they can be pretty quite--much better than a simple exposed generator), exhaust fumes, and fuel costs (a 15kW unit will draw, around, a minimum of 1-2 gallons or more of propane per hour with minimal loads--more under full load--or $2-$4 per hour running from natural gas).

    This gets us back to the question of how much power do you need and for how long of stretch at a time.

    A simple Honda eu2000k 1,600 watt (1.6 kW) genest will run around 4-9 hours per gallon of fuel... If your power needs are not great, a small genset can save you lots of money on fuel.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Running a generator without a battery bank

    The OP doesn't want to use a fueled generator, nor a battery bank. His only choice then is a grid tie inverter.

    I might suggest to the OP that he look carefully at his loads first, (especially hot water) before travelling much further. If you have enough SN to provide PV output, you have plenty to do solar hot water,, much cheaper, much more efficient conversion.
    Not to mention, if y of are using extensive A/C you might seriously consider hot water recovery heat pump systems. They will reduce the energy required to provide cool air,, and give "free" hot water as a side benefit.


    Tony
  • TheBackRoads
    TheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭
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    Re: Running a generator without a battery bank

    The OP just said gasoline, they make plenty of 1800RPM diesel gensets you could run for days on end....
  • solar_dave
    solar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Running a generator without a battery bank

    Coal fired steam engine? :D
  • rplarry
    rplarry Solar Expert Posts: 203 ✭✭
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    Re: Running a generator without a battery bank

    Actually all you need is a stream or river near your house. Divert the water and use it to spin an alternator and you have AC electricity as long as you have water flow.
    Commercial units are available.
  • ggunn
    ggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Running a generator without a battery bank
    ZPE101 wrote: »
    Hi, I failed to mention that I do not want to use any type of gasoline generator.
    There are plenty of generators that use propane or natural gas.

    As others have pointed out, you cannot power AC loads with PV without batteries.