While going off the grid completely can be difficult for many homeowners, generating a portion of the electricity needs of a house is definitely doable. Profitability depends on tax incentives from the U.S. government, state governments and local public services. The image is changing tax cut in late 2010, so make sure you have the latest information to help you make a decision
Also make sure you understand the policies of net metering utility, allowing you to sell excess electricity to the grid.
In any case, here are some of the methods by which electricity can be generated at a higher level of efficiency, and in two of the three examples here without using fossil fuels.
As prices fall, residential solar energy is increasing, in part because of available tax credits and rebates that make it more affordable. Residential solar energy, which is based on photovoltaic panels or PV for short, makes sense as a way to generate power close to the user, while eliminating the use of fossil fuels. The amortization of the installation costs can vary depending on their incentives and utility rates.
A trend in home solar energy is the integration of the panels in the building, also known as Building Integrated Photovoltaic photos (BPIV).
Certainteed Building Products launched power Energen system incorporating thin film laminated to the traditional asphalt shingle roof. The PV laminates lie flush with the roof providing a streamlined, visually appealing appearance. By making solar roof panels attractive, Certainteed hopes that more people adopt solar energy for your home.The system is designed to be installed by roofing contractors without extensive training.The panels provide power to low and diffuse light or shade, even partially. At present PV systems CertainTeed Energen are available in California, Arizona and Hawaii only.
Wind is one of the greenest forms of energy, as it uses no fossil fuels and do not emit greenhouse gases. Most households with residential wind turbine are still tied to the grid, both to use electricity when the wind does not blow and sell excess power to the grid when. A typical residential wind system can offset 1.2 tons of air pollutants and 200 tons of greenhouse gases.
New home wind options make it easier to install a wind turbine on a residential space, ceiling or floor in the home lot.
Honeywell Wind Turbine:Honeywell turbine sold by WindTronics, gets rid of the gearbox which is inefficient in traditional horizontal turbines, which are useful in size windfarms. Instead, the power generation mechanism is at the ends of the sash and frame. The blades generate electricity by turning in the wind, as low as 2 mph. The unit weighs 170 pounds and is 6 feet in diameter.
"It is our vision to bring distributed wind energy to life so it is a natural part of the energy infrastructure," said Reg Adams, president and CEO of WindTronics. "We designed the Honeywell wind turbine to generate power in which we live and work."
The Honeywell turbine generates 2,752 kWh per year in a wind speed of 4-33 feet class. The system, which includes an inverter and controller, has an MSRP of $ 6,495.
Windspire:The Windspire vertical turbine offers a new twist to the wind, as it is designed for urban and suburban areas. The vertical design means that the Windspire always faces the wind. Depending on the wind speed at a particular area, an owner may install two or three systems to generate 100 percent of the energy required. A homeowner in Nevada installed a Windspire to generate only 25 percent of the power supply to your home. Each Windspire will generate approximately 2,000 kWh per year based on 11 mph annual average wind speed.
Micro combined heat and power (CHP) generates both single fuel source, efficiency squeezing every last drop. They are called "micro CHP" because the idea has been reduced enough to make sense for residential power generation level, after years of use on a much larger scale by industries and utilities.
CHP in a fuel source such as natural gas is used to generate electricity, and the excess heat of the operation that is used to heat a home and in some cases also water. The efficiency of fuel conversion to useful energy can be as high as 90 percent.
freewatt plus:In August freewatt introduced plus ECR International, microCHP system that produces heat and electricity and also provides backup power in the event that the home has lost electrical service. The oven combines freewatt plus Energy Star rated high efficiency natural gas or propane, or a Honda generator boiler to generate heat, electricity production as a byproduct. The electricity produced can be used to power the home or can be sold to utilities. The booking system provides up to 1,800 watts at a home in case of a power failure, allowing up to six loads such as heating, security system, a water pump or refrigerator to keep running. A water heater option available.
ClearEdge:A variation of microCHP, the ClearEdge5 uses fuel cell technology to generate electricity and heat. The ClearEdge5 converts natural gas into electricity and heat generated locally, significantly reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) and energy costs.
The fuel cell using a proton exchange membrane to convert natural gas into hydrogen. Then, an electrochemical converts hydrogen into electricity. Natural gas does not burn, so that there is a dramatic reduction in pollutants and greenhouse gases. Electricity flows through an inverter to operate the home, and the excess power to the grid. The heat produced in the cycle is transferred through a home system and heating water.
At this time, the fuel cell system works best in larger households, about 3,000 square feet and larger. Generates about 120 kWh per day and is especially effective in a house with a pool, spa or underfloor heating. Smaller units will be suitable for developing smaller homes.
Although locally distributed power generation can not replace public services in the coming years, homeowners can use to better manage their energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint.