By Skip Thomsen
There are three major reasons
that wind, solar or hydro-elec-
tric systems are impractical for
some folks: not enough wind, too
many cloudy days, and no stream. In
What does that leave them with?
Using a generator. Ugh? Not necessar-
An independent energy system that
uses a generator as its primary power
source can be efficient and cost-effec-
tive in its initial setup. The key is to
make it part of a system instead of a
sole source of power.
Most important in making it part of
a system is full utilization of the gen-
erator’s potential. A system that uses
only a small portion of the generator’s
capabilities and stores little or no
power for the times when the genera-
tor is off-line is a disaster.
Managing and storing
electricity are essential
There are two elements essential to
the utilization of the generator’s
• managing generator loads
• storing electricity.
Managing your generator loads
means that you operate the generator
only when lots of power is required,
as on the days of the week you do
your laundry, vacuum the house, oper-
ate your shop, pump irrigation water,
and/or other heavy use. Then while
the generator is running anyway, it
can also operate an industrial-strength
battery charger. The charger will
charge the batteries that run the lighter
loads of the house when the generator
is not running.
There will, of course, be times when
you will need to run the generator for
a single purpose. The point is to
develop a schedule of activities that
makes it easy on everyone in the
household to co-operate.
The ability to store electricity is
what makes it all possible. Deep-cycle
batteries are available in many forms
and capabilities, with prices to match.
The good old lead-acid batteries, like
those used in golf carts and electric
fork-lifts are still definitely worth con-
sidering because of their low price.
The most important factor in choos-
ing your batteries is the total storage
capacity. Your batteries must be able
to handle the total load of