Remote Power - Site Location And Resources
The site location, layout and resources are all important when
considering an off-grid solar or wind power system.
The available natural resource for any site dictates the type of system
best suited to supply the power. Globally, sites closer to the equator
will have more sun, whereas those nearer the poles are likely to have
higher wind speeds.
If you are considering solar panels,
the selected installation area
needs to be unshaded all year round, bearing in mind the low winter sun
angle and long winter shadows.
In Europe, the solar array will need to be facing roughly towards
South, ideally with potential to tilt the panels at an angle of 30 to
60 degrees from the horizontal.
If you are considering a wind
turbine, the area must not be surrounded
by trees or buildings. The mast needs to be as tall as possible. A wind
generator needs a clean, smooth, laminar flow of air, as any turbulence
seriously reduces the output.
Solar & Wind Power Economics
Generating power from solar & wind energy is not cheap.
equipment required can be an expensive capital outlay. Additionally, at
remote sites, the power generated needs to be stored in batteries
are also costly.
However, for many off-grid sites, the cost of a mains connection often
makes a stand-alone power system economically viable. Even in less
remote areas, the costs of running mains cables can be very high,
especially if roads or car parks have to be disrupted.
The economics of any off-grid solar or wind energy system are directly
related to the amount of energy required. This is why high efficiency
is vital, as each watt saved by efficient appliances reduces cost of
the system significantly.
Common Solar & Wind Myths
Solar panels take more energy
to manufacture than they ever produce ?
Most modern solar panels have an 'energy payback' of around 3
Some pv technologies have an energy payback of under a year. Solar pv
has a working life of over 40 years.
Wind generators take more
energy to manufacture than they ever produce ?
Modern large scale wind turbines have an 'energy payback' of
year. Smaller scale wind generators will have a longer payback,
probably more like 3 to 5 years. Most wind generators have a working
life of around 20 years.