Options for Solar, Wind and Micro Hydro Power
Here’s one important factor to consider about renewable energy systems, whether they run on solar, wind, or hydro power: Your renewable energy system may not be producing energy when you need it. And it may be producing energy when you don’t need it. How will you get energy when the sun isn’t shining, the wind isn’t blowing, or the creek isn’t flowing? On the other hand, when your system is generating more power than you need, what will you do with that excess energy?
You have some options. You can go off grid, relying on batteries to store energy on-site. Or you can connect your system to the electric grid through different interconnection agreements, which vary by the utility company.. With a grid-tied system, you can also choose to include battery backup for times of power outages..
With our Five Step Design Process, Sundance helps you create the renewable energy system that matches your goals for sustainability, self-reliance, and cost savings.
Here’s an overview of your options:
In a net-metering, the energy your system produces is used directly by you. When you produce more than you consume, the surplus is credited to your account. When you consume more than you produce, you purchase the shortfall from your utility. The difference between the amount of energy you produce and the amount of energy you consume determines whether you are a net producer or a net consumer, and it may vary from month to month or year to year.
Sell All System
In a sell-all configuration, all of the energy your system produces goes into the grid and is sold to your utility at wholesale rates. All energy you consume comes from the grid and you are billed for it at retail rates.
Grid-tied with Backup
In a grid-tied system with backup, a bank of batteries is maintained at a full level of charge. This is compatible with either a net-metered or sell-all system (as described above).
If the grid suffers a power outage,the length of time the backup will cover your energy needs depends upon your consumption rate and the size of the backup. Sundance will help you determine the size of the battery bank needed during the Load Analysis phase of our design process.
Off-Grid Home or Structure
In an off-grid system, your energy production and consumption is handled independent of the grid. No connection exists between your renewable energy system and the utility company’s equipment. Your renewable energy system charges a bank of batteries for storage until the energy is needed. When the source of renewable energy – sun, wind, or water – is not available to keep your batteries charged, an optional back-up generator kicks in to maintain the charge state of the batteries and to power the loads. Sundance will help you determine the size of the charging source – PV array, wind turbine, or microhydro turbine – and battery bank needed during the Load Analysis phase of our design process.