If you live in a location that has a lot of sun and a lot of wind, it may be cost-effective to install both a photovoltaic (PV) and wind generator. The outputs from these systems are regulated differently, so you will need separate charge controllers. Furthermore, you will need a DC source centre to organise the inputs and direct the power from your existing PV and wind generators to the battery bank and from there to the inverter, where it is converted to usable household AC current.
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Things you need
- Battery bank
- Battery cables
- DC source centre
- Wind turbine
- Turbine charge controller
- Electrical wire
- DC source centre
- PV panel system
- PV charge controller
Connect the batteries in the battery bank to optimise the bank for your energy needs. Wiring batteries in series increases the voltage of the bank, while wiring them in parallel prolongs battery life by sharing the load between batteries. Banks are typically connected in series/parallel to produce 12, 24 and 48, 60 or 72 volts.
Use battery cable to connect the battery bank to the power input on a DC source centre. This device incorporates a charge controller that monitors the batteries and shuts off the charging current when necessary to prevent them from overcharging. It has an output for the inverter, where DC current is converted to household AC power. Follow the wiring diagram on the source centre.
Connect the output lines from your existing wind turbine to a regulator which will convert the fluctuating voltage from the turbine to a fixed output voltage. This regulator is pre-installed in many turbines. The output voltage must match the voltage of the battery bank and the turbine regulator. Wire the regulator to a separate transformer to adjust this voltage, if necessary.
Connect the turbine regulator or transformer to the appropriate input breaker on the DC source centre, following the wiring diagram on the source centre.
Connect the output from your existing solar panels to a PV charge controller, which regulates the power generated by the panels and adapts the voltage to charge the battery bank. Connect this controller to an input breaker on the DC source centre.
Wire the inverter to the output breaker from the DC source centre, following the diagram on the source centre. Connect the inverter to the house panel to power the house.
Connect an optional backup generator through the inverter to be used in case the PV/wind system fails, following instructions in the inverter manual. Shunt the leads from the power company through the inverter if your house is connected to the grid, and use the inverter instruction manual to program it to preferentially use battery power when there is enough.
Tips and warnings
- Use battery cables of the same gauge and length to connect all batteries in the battery bank. You can also buy preconfigured battery banks.
- DC source centres are also called charge controllers by some manufacturers.
- Hire a licensed electrician to inspect all wiring and components to be sure they are code-compliant and to connect the grid power to your inverter.
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