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Alternative Technology and Renewable Energy can be great fun and very rewarding, especially if done at home. On this blog I share my ideas and tips for mainly simple and inexpensive alternative technology projects.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Low power small grid-tie inverter

I have wanted, for some time, to try a grid-tie inverter to enable the output of my two Unisolar 64 solar panels to feed into the electricity grid. I purchased a Mastervolt Soladin 120 which seems to work very well. It is intended for the European market so does not have a 13 amp square pin plug for UK use. This is easily overcome however, and I have been very impressed with the performance and simplicity. Most grid-tie inverters are quite large and therefore expensive, but this unit at around £100 is ideal for experimental low power use. The maximum output it can feed into the grid is below 100 watts, so it is never going to give you a payback from the electricity generated, but several units can be operated in parallel for higher power.

When solar panels come down in price I may well invest in a larger system that can generate several kilowatts, but for now this will have to do.

Yet another new wind turbine!

The Chinese Navitron was not a great success. My neighbour complained about the noise and I was worried about the 35kg weight of the turbine damaging something if it toppled my 2" mast. It did, however, give a very good output even at low wind speeds and so is excellent value if noise is not an issue.

I have now purchased a Samrey Wren from Martin at Solarwind and I am very pleased with it. It weighs less than 5kg and so I have been able to double my mast height in order to catch more wind.