Grid-Tied Wind Systems and Net MeteringNet metering is a policy that allows homeowners to receive the full value of the electricity that their wind turbine produces. The term Net Metering refers to the method of accounting for a Wind Turbines system's electricity production, for example. Homeowners with wind systems can thus offset their electric bill with any excess electricity they produce. As the homeowner's wind system produces electricity, the kilowatts are used first to meet any electric requirements (e.g., appliances, lights) in the home. If more electricity is produced from the wind system than the home needs, the extra kilowatts are fed into the utility grid.
Under federal law, utilities must allow independent power producers to be interconnected with the utility grid, and utilities must purchase any excess electricity they generate. Many states have gone beyond the minimum requirements of the federal law by allowing net metering for customers with PV systems. With net metering, the customer's electric meter will run backward when the solar electric system produces more power than is needed to operate the home or business at that time. An approved, utility-grade inverter converts the dc power from the PV modules into ac power that exactly matches the voltage and frequency of the electricity flowing in the utility line; the system must also meet the utility's safety and power-quality requirements. The excess electricity is then fed into the utility grid and sold to the utility at the retail rate.
In the event of a power outage, safety switches in the inverter automatically disconnect the wind system from the line. This safety disconnect protects utility repair personnel from being shocked by electricity flowing from the wind turbine into what they would expect to be a "dead" utility line.
Wind Systems with BatteriesWind systems with batteries for storage are excellent for supplying electricity when and where you need it. These systems are especially suitable in areas where utility power is unavailable or utility line extensions would be too expensive. The ability to store Wind-generated electrical energy makes the Wind system a reliable source of electric power both day and night, rain or shine. Wind systems with battery storage are used all over the world to provide electricity for lights, sensors, recording equipment, switches, appliances, telephones, televisions, and even power tools! Batteries are a costly expense added to any project, but very beneficial!!
Hybrid Solar-Wind SystemsIn hybrid power systems, a number of electricity production and storage elements are combined to meet the energy demand of a remote facility (such as seismic measurement equipment), a rural home, a ranch or farm, or even a whole community. In addition to PV systems, engine generators, wind generators, small hydro plants, and others source of electrical energy can be added as needed to meet the energy demand in a way that fits in with the local geography and other specifics. Hybrid systems are ideal for remote applications such as communication stations, military installations, and rural villages.
Wind speeds are often low in periods (summer, eventually) when the sun resources are at their best. On the other hand, the wind is often stronger in seasons (the winter, in many cases…) when there are less sun resources. Even during the same day, in many regions worldwide or in some periods of the year, there are different and opposite patterns in terms of wind and solar resources. And those different patterns can make the hybrid systems the best option in electricity production.
Off-Grid SystemsWhat about situations in which remote or non-grid-connected power is needed, but that power must always be available — for example, to keep vaccines cold, or a rural clinic's lights on, or communications equipment running continuously? Or the times when users know they'll occasionally need a larger amount of power than a Wind system can supply alone — say, in a national park camping ground, where it's difficult to predict how much power will be needed? In those cases, Wind is still a practical choice. We just need to add an electric generator that can work effectively with a Wind system to supply the load.
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