RE Systems

12 Going Solar

Joe Flake describes a complete PV system for a travel trailer for under $2,000.

46 My Lai Hospital Solar Project

Joe Hoar and Veterans Vietnam Restoration Project members put solar power on a medical clinic near Quang Ngai, Vietnam.


60 EV Disconnects

Shari Prange discusses EV safety disconnects, circuit breakers, fuses, and as a last resort — the wire cutters.

64 EVs in Switzerland

John Schaefer describes the European EV scene and tells of renting an electric car in Geneva.


and reports on their actual capacities. Learn how to recognize when a nicad cell is fully charged.

Electric Vehicle Regenerative Braking

Otmar Ebenhoech gives complete instructions for putting regenerative braking in your EV.

22 Using a DC SubPump in a Domestic Water System

Windy Dankoff tells all you need to know about putting a new solar pump down your well.

27 Tower Economics 102

Mick Sagrillo discusses the relationship between tower height, tower cost, and wind generator performance.

Cover: An imaginative view of Larry Elliott's RE powered home.

Photo by Larry Elliott and digital processing by Richard Perez


72 Array-Direct Power Point c§p¡ Regulator

Chris Greacen gives complete homebrew information about building your own power point regulator. Runs a motor directly from PVs.

Tech Notes

78 Buzz Free Telephones on Inverter Power

Lafayette Young tells of three sure ways to keep inverter produced noise out of your telephones.

89 The ElectriCalc Plus

Bob-O Schultze reports on the slickest electrical calculator since the slide rule.


49 GoPower Editorial

Michael Hackleman discusses the future of EVs.

68 Power Politics

Michael Welch discusses trends in modern energy consumption, Clinton's Global Warming Action Plan, and NAFTA.

76 Things that Work!

Richard Perez test GE's Halogen-IR™ PAR 38 Lamp.

82 Magazine Mechanics

The Home Power Crew discusses our inner workings. Recycled paper, author's data, and computer nerd stuff.

85 Code Corner

John Wiles discusses how to specify the right type of short circuit protection for wiring.

88 Ask NREL

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) answers reader's questions on renewable energy.

94 ippp

Independent Photovoltaic Power Providers introduce themselves.

99 The Wizard speaks...

On free energy.


4 From Us to You

80 Home Power's Subscription form

81 Home Power's Biz Page 91 Happenings — RE events

100 Letters to Home Power

108 Q&A

110 Micro Ads

112 Index to Advertisers

Access and Info

Access Data

Home Power Magazine POB 520, Ashland, OR 97520 USA

Editorial and Advertising:

916-475-3179 voice and FAX Subscriptions and Back Issues:

916-475-0830 visa / mc Computer BBS: 707-822-8640

Paper and Ink Data

Cover paper is 50% recycled (10% postconsumer and 40% preconsumer) Recovery Gloss from Silverleaf Paper Company.

Interior paper is recycled (30% postconsumer) Pentair PC-30 Gloss Chlorine Free from Niagara of Wisconsin Paper Corp.

Printed using low VOC vegetable based inks.

Printed by

St. Croix Press, Inc., New Richmond, Wisconsin


Home Power (ISSN 1050-2416) is published bi-monthly for $15 per year at P.O. Box 520, Ashland, OR 97520. International surface subscription for $20 U.S. Second class postage paid at Ashland, OR and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER send address corrections to Home Power, P.O. Box 520, Ashland, OR 97520.

Copyright ©1993 Home Power, Inc.

All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission.

While Home Power Magazine strives for clarity and accuracy, we assume no responsibility or liability for the usage of this information.

While Home Power Magazine strives for clarity and accuracy, we assume no responsibility or liability for the usage of this information.

Recycled Paper Recyclable Paper

Recycled Paper Recyclable Paper


Renting Rainbows

Recently, Southern California Edison (SCE) petitioned the California Public Utilities Commission for the ability to market stand-alone photovoltaic (PV) systems off their grid. This move amazed many people who have been living off-grid for years on PV power. The reactions varied. Rightfully enraged dealers see the utilities as megabucks competition from a publicly controlled monopoly. Designers chuckle over the utilities' lack of experience in off-grid residential systems. Consumers wonder why the utility wants to rent the system, but not sell it. Everyone wonders why the same system can be purchased from a local PV dealer at a fraction the price of a utility-sponsored five-year rental.

The utilities see the world's solar future as clearly as anyone. They would love to use solar energy and other renewable energies on their grid. The problem is cost. The on-grid utility customers won't pay the bill.

The real source of all this solar confusion is the value we place on energy. We have become accustomed to energy costs that are the lowest in the world. For decades, we have refused to add in those little extras to the cost of energy. Little extras like wars, pollution, crop loss, health effects, government subsidies, and such like. We have established an energy network of utilities and public utility commissions (PUC). We grant the local utility an energy monopoly and then regulate the utility to make sure that the energy cost is as low as possible. The bottom line is that we don't want to pay any more for our power. We as energy consumers are denying the utilities the opportunity to use renewable energy because we refuse to acknowledge what this energy is really worth.

We are, as usual, our own worst enemies. The utilities are ready for our solar future. It is up to us to get the message to our public utilities commissions that we indeed realize what energy costs. Once energy is fairly valued, PV power is cost effective immediately on-grid. We can then wrangle over the details like who owns the arrays and the energy that they produce. The message for America's PUCs is, "I'm ready for a solar future and I'm willing to pay what this energy is worth." Whether you own your own PV array, or rent your solar electricity from the utility's PV array, it is going to be solar either way. When you own the sun, you don't need to rent rainbows.

Richard Perez ©

Sam Coleman Gerry Cunningham Windy Dankoff Otmar Ebenhoech Larry Elliott Joe M. Flake Chris Greacen Michael Hackleman Joe Hoar

Kathleen Jarschke-Schultze

Don Loweburg

Stan Krute

Therese Peffer

Karen Perez

Richard Perez

Shari Prange

Mick Sagrillo

John Schaefer

Byron Stafford

Bob-O Schultze

Michael Welch

John Wiles

Lafayette Young

"The first day or so ^e all pointed to our countries. The third or fourth day ^e ^ere pointing to our continents. By the fifth day ^e ^ere a^are of only one Earth."

Discovery 5 Space Mission.

Introducing the LINK 2000

Integrated Battery Monitoring and Inverter Control

"In the future, we will see highly integrated systems which provide battery monitoring, inverter/charger control, PV regulation, and advanced load management. The benefits are just too obvious: increased battery life and capacity through superior management" Rick Proctor from Power Predictions for 1994



Green LED indicates on.

INVERTER may be turned On or Off independently from charger.

IDLE MODE sets load sensitivity while idling, expressed in Watts. Range = 0W, 4W, 6W, 15W.

CHARGER may be turned On or Off independently from inverter.

PWR SHARE sets the AC current limit at which the battery charge rate is reduced to avoid overloading limited AC sources. Expressed in Amps. Range = 10A, 15A, 20A, 30A, 50A

SET UP allows the selection of various functions and values.

Press for 5 seconds to enable Set Up. The Green LED will flash at 1 second intervals. Then press the function to be set up. The present value will be displayed. After 3 seconds, with the button pressed, the display will began scrolling. When the desired value appears, release the button.

Flashing Green LED indicates Set Up mode. The LED of the function being set up also flashes.

START EQUALIZE function of charger by pressing SET UP button for 5 seconds followed by simultaneously pressing the VOLTS and A hrs buttons.

Red CHARGE LED flashes when in equalize mode.

STATUS indicators for AC power and charge cycle state.


AC IN: Green LED on when AC is present.

CHARGE: Red LED on when charger is in bulk charge mode.

Flashes Red when charger is in Equalize mode. ACCEPT: Orange LED on when charger is in Acceptance mode. FLOAT: Green LED on when charger is in Float mode.

Getting Started With Solar

Getting Started With Solar

Do we really want the one thing that gives us its resources unconditionally to suffer even more than it is suffering now? Nature, is a part of our being from the earliest human days. We respect Nature and it gives us its bounty, but in the recent past greedy money hungry corporations have made us all so destructive, so wasteful.

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