The 5 most common ways that people use the electricity they create through renewable sources are:
1. Charge a set of batteries - charging a set of batteries is really a part of any renewable energy solution. Because of the fact that the wind blows and the sun shines only at certain times, you can't count on having the free energy available exactly when you need to consume it. Therefore, you need an electricity storage system that is sized to meet the off-line demands of whatever application you have in mind for consuming the electricity you harvest.
2. Power a small pump - selling electricity to a small pump is a very popular use for renewable power generated. Especially for pumps that run intermittently and only uses small amount of energy, this system is a great way to supply them electricity for free.
3. Provide backup for a critical device or appliance- many people use renewable energy, both wind and solar, for backing up critical pieces of equipment or appliances around the house. For example if you have a freezer and the power your home is unreliable, you can make wind your backup system. Most people do have a battery pack in this application as a buffer though in any case.
4. Power the whole house - supplying electricity for your whole house is certainly something you can do as well. But to be able to generate that much electricity consistently, you got have a lot of wind. You pretty much need to live in a state in the middle the country where the winds are strongest.
5. Feed power back to the grid - sending back power to utilities that strategy, but one that many people are using now. Your utility will pay you for the energy make. The amount they will reimburse you for is their incremental cost to produce the next kilowatt-hour that they make in their own power generation plants.
Actually, all the other 4 applications I just mentioned function best with a battery backup system, as well. That is because wind and solar both are only available at certain times of the day. If it's overcast worth the wind is not blowing, you will obviously not be able to make energy that our or that day. Therefore, you need to be able to store the energy you make when it's available for use later when it is not available.
That is why the key to renewable energy in the future will be the sophistication of battery backup systems and whether or not we can miniaturize them to the point where they become overwhelmingly cheap. As prices of these units continue to abate, the use of small wind turbines to power the nation will explode.
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Article Added on Friday, January 6, 2012
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