CE's ECO: Home Wind Power - Will I Still Need My Electricity Company?
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Home Wind Power - Will I Still Need My Electricity Company?

When wind speeds are over 10 mph, a residential wind turbine can generate enough electricity to power a home. However, wind speeds are intermittent, so there will be times when the system is generating electricity and times when it's not. For this reason, most residential wind systems are connected to the grid, andelectricity from your utility company is used to supplement the wind energy.

The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) requires utilities to purchase power from small wind systems, such as the single turbine residential system. In order to take advantage of this policy, you must sign an interconnection agreement with the utility. Under the agreement, electricity is measured as it flows into or out of the house. The utility bill is affected in one of two ways.

If a smart meter is installed in the home, it can measure the input and output of electricity. When the wind is really blowing and the home cannot use all the electricity generated, it flows back into the grid and the smart meter subtracts the price per kWh from the house account. When the wind is dead and the home must draw from the grid for electricity, the account is charged the price per kWh.

If a separate meter is installed, it is responsible only for recording electricity flowing back into the grid. The original meter continues its job of measuring the amount of electricity used by the home. Each month or quarter, the two meters are added together and the resulting amount is charged or paid by the utility.

With both the smart meter and double meter systems, there is a chance that the utility will be paying you for electricity rather than the other way around.

Although PURPA has been in effect for 30 years, the popularity of small wind systems has exploded only in the last couple of years. Many utilities have never used an interconnection agreement, and could present a potential obstacle to the turbine owner. Professional turbine installers may turn out to know more about interconnection agreements and meter installation than the utility does. When neither party in the agreement has much experience, a professional is always useful to make the process run smoothly.

There are systems which don't rely on the grid at all, called off-grid systems. Rather than using the electric company as back-up power, off-grid systems use deep-charge batteries to store excess energy generated by turbines. The house can access the batteries when no wind is blowing. In addition to batteries, most off-grid systems use other types of power, such as generators, to back-up their wind power systems.

Getting the most energy savings from a wind turbine system is one of the main reasons to install it. Working with the utility company to realize savings and even get paid is part of the energy savings process.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Brent_Crouch


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