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Handbook for Energy Independence

A 48 Volt DC, 4.5 KiloWatt Solar Power System
Design Data Worksheet
Systems Loads Worksheet
Concept Phase
Design Phase
Purchasing Phase
Installation Phase
Final Remarks


By following the basic steps presented in this handbook, one can develop their own small scale photovoltaic system.  As with anything in life, the process can be as simple or complicated as we think it should be.  The more time and detail invested in the design, then the better it should serve the needs.   

Keep in mind future considerations during the selection of the equipment.  Thinking ahead ensures there will be enough system capacity for years to come.  As well, leave the door open for adding an extra bank of batteries or another set of PV panels later on if needed. 

As a first course to energy independence we should all re-learn habits of conserving energy.  When I first started out with a small and basic PV system, it helped re-train me in how I consume energy.  Do I really need to have those extra lights on, or do I really need anything over a 60 watt light bulb?  Should I consider LED lighting fixtures for my shop and home?  Should I consolidate devices that consume standby power onto one power strip with one switch (computers, chargers, electronics, etc.)?  What types of appliances can be used to help save energy (i.e. horizontal chest refrigerators / freezers)? 

Remember that one false move, such as leaving the lights on over night, and we can unexpectedly draw down the battery bank.  And so it is not enough to install a renewable energy system in your home, it means also a greater awareness and transformation in how you use energy.  The more forgetful a person is, then the more capacity their system will need.

PV systems can be enhanced nicely when combined with wind turbines, hydro turbines, or thermal generators if this energy is available.  If you are thinking of a hybrid system, then include some thought into the design as to what DC voltage would work well for all systems involved.

One last philosophical note is that knowing how to create our own energy is an excellent survival tool.  In uncertain times it brings security and peace of mind, and there are few finer feelings in the world.  It is a good example for children in the principals of conservation and self sufficiency, and a good piece of wisdom to pass down for generations to come.  Since most folks who generate their own electricity are more conscious of how they use energy, there is also an environmental benefit to such activity.


MicroGrid Living

- MicroGrid Power Systems
- Benefits of the MicroGrid
- Running on DC Electricity
- Things to Think About
- Sizing Your Microgrid Power System
- Energy Conservation Strategies
- Hybrid Power Systems

MicroGrid Solar Power

- Solar Power Applications
- Photovoltaic Solar Panels
- Increasing Solar Panel Performance
- Mounting PV Solar Panels
- Solar Power Tracking Systems
- One Axis Solar Panel Tracking (Passive)
- Solar Power Cost & Payback
- Sizing your Solar Power System

MicroGrid Power Devices

- Wind Turbines
- Wood Burner Systems
- Thermal Power Systems
- DC Thermal Generators
- Hydro Turbines

MicroGrid History

- Nikola Tesla Source of Human Energy
- Nikola Tesla Energy from the Medium
- James Watt & the Steam Engine
- Marcellus Jacob Wind Turbine

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