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GUERRILLA SOLAR: The unauthorized placement of renewable energy on a utility grid


1,600 rated watts of wind

1,600 rated watts of wind

DATE: June 2 002 LOCATION: Northern Hemisphere INSTALLER NAME: Classified OWNER NAME: Classified INTERTIED UTILITY: Classified SYSTEM SIZE: 1,000 watts of PV, PERCENT OF ANNUAL LOAD: 95% TIME IN SERVICE: 3 years

I have two wind generators and 1 KW of PV. Together, they can produce more energy than I need for my home load. What to do with it? Might as well backfeed it into the grid...

My first wind generator is a Whisper 600 on a homebuilt, 45 foot (14 m) tower. I recently installed a Bergey XL.1, 1,000 W turbine on a 100 foot (30 m) tower. My PV array consists of eight Uni-Solar 64 modules, four Siemens SM55 modules, and a few miscellaneous modules.

The inverter is a Vanner 24RE4500, which is a very robust inverter. It has a problem or two to be worked out, mainly because of the IEEE 1741 standards, but I've been very happy with it. At times, I can see 1,000 watts going back into the grid on each leg of this 240 VAC inverter. I have twelve L-16H batteries, so I can keep my loads going when the grid is down.

I have done the usual load analysis and efficiency measures, so my home is not wasteful. My load is light, with compact fluorescent lighting, a ConServ freezer, and a high-efficiency DC fridge. This gives me plenty of surplus energy that I'm happy to send back into the grid.

I checked with the local utility, and everything that I had read in Home Power about the negative attitude and obfuscation was true. They tried to block my way at every step. I went to a meeting with all the head honchos at my local utility, so I had a chance to go from one honcho to the next, asking how to connect my system legally. I knew I was talking to the right people.

At every step of the way, it was just pure obstructionism. Finally, at the last honcho, the words were so similar to what I'd read in HP: We will sell to you for 8.7 cents a KWH, and we will buy back from you (bless us!) for 2 cents. They have no interest in working with the little guy.

And being a little guy, I don't feel like fighting them. So what's the simple thing to do? Go guerrilla. Push the little button and make the meter go backwards.

I am careful to not generate more energy than I use. I pay attention to the utility meter so that I end up at around zero by the end of each month. I figure that I can pay for a few kilowatt-hours a month without raising any flags.

I don't know exactly how many KWH I use per month. The utility meter can stay on the same number for a month, so it's hard to tell. It gives me great pleasure to go out when the wind generators are screaming and watch the utility meter smokin' backwards.

How did I get started in renewables? Unfortunately for my wallet, somebody introduced me to Home Power many years ago. Since then, the magazine has cost me a whole lot of money, but that's fine with me. The equipment I've bought keeps on working. If I chased little white balls around a golf course instead, all I'd have would be a bunch of receipts. Instead, I have a renewable energy system that keeps on going, and going, and going.

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Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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