The Home Power Generator

What is a home power generator, how solar power for the home can serve as a home generator, the myth about portable solar generators, how to choose the optimal backup generator

3 reasons to buy a Home Power Generator

The three reasons to buy and install a home solar electric power generators are:

  • Residential power generators are a must for off the grid homes.

  • A back up to the electrical utility grid.

  • The homeowner desire to have an autonomous system that uses renewable energy

Types of Home Power Generators

The most common residential power generators are diesel generators, solar power for the home generating system or small wind turbines. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Generator TypeAdvantagesDisadvantages
Diesel GeneratorLess ExpensiveHigh Noise level, requires fuel supply
Residential Solar Power GeneratorClean and Silent, low operational costMore Expensive, requires larger storage capacity (batteries)
Small Wind TurbineRenewable EnergyRequires maintenance, does not fit to smaller than 1 acre sites

What is the right size of Home Generators?

For off grid home the answer is straight forward. The generator must supply the household power consumption. There are two possible strategies to do that. The first and the more expensive one is to buy a generator powerful enough to supply the peak demand. The second and wiser one is to buy a generator that will supply the average supply and that will charge deep cycle batteries during the low demand hours. The stored electricity will be used during the peak hours. In case the main supply comes from a solar power system or from a small wind turbine or from a combo solar/wind, the deep cycle batteries are a must. Since batteries store DC power, a DC to AC inverter must be added to the system.

Backup systems for grid connected homes are usually designed to supply only part of the house consumption, the most crucial loads. (HVAC systems, elevators, refrigerators and emergency lights). An important constituent is the automatic switchover switch that senses the power down condition and kicks in the backup generator

How solar power generator works?

Any home solar power generator whether it is installed permanently in one place or it is a portable solar generator use the photovoltaic effect to directly convert Sun radiation (photons stream) into DC electrical power (electrons). The major component is the solar panels array and it is also the most expensive component of the solar power generators. In most cases, a DC to AC solar power inverter is added; it converts the DC electricity into AC electricity suitable for the operation of all household appliances.

The diesel home power generator myths and facts

Diesel power generators for residential applications are available in a wide range of output power ratings. One can find diesel generators for home application starting from 5 kW (5,000 Watts)to 50 kW (50,000 Watts). Most homes can do just fine with the 5 kW generator. However, in many homes, the peak power consumption might well exceed 5 kW, even though the average might be more like 3 kW. The problem lies in the fact that the heavy consuming appliances (HVAC, washing machine, drying machine, dish washers) are not staggered to operate at different hours; on the contrary, many times you will find them to work all in the same time. To compound the problem, these same appliances have electric motors and are characterized by higher starting current consumption exceeding their running current consumption. Contrary to the myth that since backup diesel home power generators work only rarely and for short periods of time, "they can be smaller in size". If and when the switchover mechanism kicks in the backup diesel generator, the generator has to supply the starting currents of all the appliances that were operating prior to the power shutdown. If this current is greater than the current the generator can generate the generator can be severely damaged as well as the appliances. So, when in doubt, choose the bigger size generator rather than the smaller size.

What about portable power generators?

There is a myth that an homeowner can buy a light enough power generator that he can use as a portable generator for his or her outdoor business activity or for other outdoor activities. Since the generator is quiet heavy, I don’t think this is really a viable option.

Electricity storage (deep cycle batteries)

A battery in a nut shell is a device that stores electrical energy. It can generate electrical current by utilizing a chemical reaction. The battery can generate so much current for so much time (measured in Ah – Amperes times Hours) until the chemical reaction can’t be sustained any more. Batteries that are intended to be used as electric power storage devices can be recharged. Deep cycle batteries can go through many charge/discharge cycles.

Related Home Power Generators Reading

Sizing off grid power systems

A background to Residential Solar Power Systems

Portable solar generators

Deep Cycle Batteries

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