Pros and Cons of Wind and Solar Monitoring Systems
Wind and solar monitoring systems are part of a new industry that has developed as a result of the increasing popularity of using wind turbines and solar panels to provide electrical energy for homes and buildings across the country.
These systems are powerful tools for public safety as well. One example is a communications system developed as an inexpensive network of home-built wind turbines and solar panels that can provide phone service in remote locations.
This project focused on building a supporting network of wind and solar energy that would power VOIP phones and wifi that could be monitored by remote. Applications and advantages are apparent.
Providing communications for remote locations could add an element of safety for wilderness campers and for those in vast national parks and forests where cell towers are scarce.
This kind of communication network could be accessed by hikers to obtain trail information and weather forecasts.
It would also be extremely useful in providing remotely monitored communications for those in areas of natural disasters where cell towers have been damaged and landline communications disrupted.
The communication network project was a college funded student research study and is only in a prototype system at this time.
It has been suggested that, with proper design, local solar panel displays could be built that could be re-purposed to a communication network as needed. This could be through dedicated solar displays that are publicly owned.
It might also be possible to form a group of private solar energy users who volunteer to dedicate their solar production through a series of monitored repeaters in times of emergency.
Commonly Used Monitors
The wind and solar monitoring systems that consumers are most familiar with are the battery monitors, voltage monitors, amp meters and kill-a-watt meters that are used to measure stored energy.
While many monitors are used to calculate solar energy, some are simply used to monitor energy use in your home. One such product is the Kill-A-Watt monitor which will help you keep track of the energy use in your house systems.
This product will calculate the consumption of energy and your energy costs by the day, week or even over an entire year. A deep cycle battery monitor is a necessity for solar powered homes located off the commercial power grid.
These are either mounted directly on a wall or located in a specially designed mounting box. The purpose of this monitor is to provide you with information about your home's battery system.
It measures the energy going into the battery, checks how much energy is being used by each appliance and will keep you informed on how much charge remains in the batteries.
Wind and solar monitoring systems also display if the battery is being charged to the correct voltage and alerts you if adjustments are needed.
A large part of the function of any wind and solar monitoring systems is to help the homeowner properly charge the storage batteries as the voltage charge greatly affects usable life of these expensive battery systems.
Monitoring is Critical for Proper Wind and Solar Powered Homes
When building a new home with passive solar energy the process is rather straight forward as the solar energy is meant to lesson use of commercial power in the home.
If you live off the grid, the wind and solar power are critical and the wind and solar systems are far more complex.
You will need a system to store the wind and solar energy your turbines and solar panels capture. This is done with a series of batteries and the way in which the batteries receive the energy, store it and release it on demand is the power system of your home.
There will be a full energy system that will include monitors that will allow you to adjust your power production and usage as needed.
It is now realistically possible to build a new home that resides off the grid while providing the same level of comfort you expect from commercial electric companies who provide power.
The only negative is the expense of constructing wind and solar collection and monitoring systems. Over the long term, however, energy consumption will be free once the costs of installation are recouped.