Alternative Energy


Solar Generator

The Solar Generator consists of 42 Sharp 225 Watt solar panels, connected with 21 Enphase D380 inverters to the PG&E power grid. In operation, during the day when it is producing more power than we are using in the house, the excess is delivered to the grid, which spins our power meter backwards. During the night when the generator is not producing, we use power from the grid. The system is sized to produce a yearly amount approximately equal to our annual usage. On a sunny day in the winter it makes about 45 KiloWatt Hours; the summer should produce about 50% more.

Solar System Website

Today's Solar Radiation
Solar Generator Status
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Solar Generation

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Peak Today

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House Consumption

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Generating Efficiency *


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* Generating Efficiency = Solar Generation / (Solar Radiation X Silicon Area)
This includes the inverter conversion losses. Note that this number is subject to significant sampling error.

Windmill Water Pump

The Windmill is used to supply water for the house and garden. It pumps water from a 120 foot deep well, up an additional 100 feet to a 5000 gallon redwood storage tank. From the tank it is gravity fed to the house.

The windmill is manufactured by Aeromoter in Brazil, made to a design dating back to the 19th century. To get the power required for a 220 foot lift, it has a 12 foot diameter fan, on top of a 36 foot tall tower. It has a very clever mechanism for avoiding overspeed due to high winds; the axle for the fan is offset from the vertical pivot, and the tail is held in place by a large spring. When the wind is heavy, the offset of the fan rotates the main motor head against the spring, pushing the fan out of the direct wind and slowing it down.