Microgeneration is the small-scale generation of heat and electric power by individuals, small businesses and communities to meet their own needs, as alternatives or supplements to traditional centralized grid-connected power. Although this may be motivated by practical considerations, such as is unreliable grid power or long distance from the electrical grid, the term is mainly used for environmentally conscious approaches that aspire to zero or low-carbon footprints or cost reduction. It differs from micropower in that it is principally concerned with fixed power plants rather than for use with mobile devices.
Microgeneration technologies include small-scale wind turbines, micro hydro, solar PV systems, microbial fuel cells, ground source heat pumps, and micro combined heat and power installations. These technologies are often combined to form a hybrid power solution that can offer a higher performance and lower cost than a system based on one generator.
In addition to the electricity production plant, an infrastructure for energy storage and power conversion and a hook-up to the regular electricity grid is usually needed and / or foreseen. Although a hookup to the regular electricity grid is not essential, it helps to decrease costs by allowing financial recompensation schemes. In the developing world however, the start-up cost for this equipment is so high, thus leaving no choice for alternative set-ups.
The whole of the equipment required for an off-the-grid generation and a gridding system is a part of a system of PV-systems:
A major issue with off-grid solar and wind systems is that the power is often required when the sun is not shining or when the wind is calm, stationary or sealed batteries (the most common solution) or other means of energy storage (eg hydrogen fuel cells, flywheel energy storage, pumped storage hydroelectricity, compressed air tanks, …) other energy storage For converting DC battery power into a power grid: * an inverter or grid-interactive inverter. The whole is also referred to as “power conditioning equipment”
* groundings, transfer switches or isolator switches and surge protectors. The whole is also referred to as “safety equipment”. Usually, in the case of microgeneration for homes in the developing world, prefabricated house-wiring systems are used instead. Simplified house-wiring boxes and cables, known as wiring harnesses, can easily be purchased and installed in the building. As such, even people without technical expertise are able to install them. In addition, they are also comparatively cheap and offer safety advantages. * battery meters (for charging rate and voltage), and meters for power consumption and electricity supply to the regular power grid
With wind turbines, hydroelectric plants, … the equipment is more or less the same as PV-systems (depending on the type of wind turbine used, also include:
A new wind energy technology is being developed that converts energy from wind energy vibrations to electricity. This energy, called Vibro-Wind technology, can be used for normal wind turbines, and can be placed in almost any location. A prototype of a panel mounted with oscillators made of pieces of foam. The conversion from mechanical to electrical energy is done using a piezoelectric transducer, a device made of a ceramic or polymer that emits electrons when stressed. Francis Moon, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell University. Moon’s work in Vibro-Wind Technology was funded by the Atkinson Center for Sustainability at Cornell.
Several microgeneration set-ups are possible. These are: For safety, grid-connected set-ups should automatically switch to “anti-islanding mode” when there is a failure of the hands power supply. For more about this, see the article on the condition of islanding.
Depending on the set-up chosen, prices may vary. According to Practical Action, microgeneration is the most cost-effective (wiring harnesses, ready boards, cheap DIY-power plants, eg DIY wind turbines) the household expenditure can be extremely low-cost. In fact, Practical Action mentions that many households in farming communities in the developing world spend less than $ 1 for electricity per month. . However, if matters are handled economically (using more commercial systems / approaches), costs will be dramatically higher. In most cases however, financial advantage will still be using microgeneration on renewable power plants; often in the range of 50-90% as local production has no electricity transportation in the long distance power lines or energy Joule effect in transformers where in general 8-15% of the energy is lost. In the UK, the government offers both grants and feedback to help businesses, communities and private homes to install these technologies. Businesses can write the full cost of installation against taxable profits while homeowners receive a flat rate grant or payments per kWh of electricity generated and paid back into the national grid. Community organizations can also receive up to £ 200,000 in grant funding. In the UK,
Grid parity occurs when an alternative energy source can generate electricity at a levelized cost (LCoE) that is less than or equal to the price of power grid electricity. Reaching grid parity is considered to be a source of energy. It is widely believed that a wholesale shift in these forms of energy will take place when they reach grid parity. Grid parity has been reached in some locations with on-shore wind power around 2000, and with solar power it was achieved for the first time in Spain in 2013.
Microgeneration can be used to generate electricity, and it can be used for power generation, and low power generation. This “hybridized grid” allows both microgeneration systems and large power plants to operate with greater efficiency and efficiency.
Microgeneration can be integrated as part of a self-sufficient house and is typically complemented with other technologies such as domestic food production systems (permaculture and agroecosystem), rainwater harvesting, composting toilets or even complete gray water treatment systems. Domestic microgeneration technologies include: photovoltaic solar systems, small-scale wind turbines, micro combined heat and power plants, biodiesel and biogas. Private generation decentralizes the generation of electricity and can also centralize the pooling of surplus energy. While they are being purchased, solar shingles and panels are both available. Capital cost is high, but saves in the long run. With appropriate power conversion, solar PV panels can run the same electric appliances as electricity from other sources. Passive solar water heating is another effective method of utilizing solar power. The simplest method is the solar (or a black plastic) bag. Set between 1 and 5 gallons out in the sun and allow to heat. Perfect for a quick warm shower. The ‘breadbox’ can be easily combined with recycled materials and basic building experience. Consisting of a single or array of black tanks mounted inside a sturdy box insulated on the bottom and sides. The lid, either horizontal or angled to catch the most sun, should be sealed and a transparent glazing material (glass, fiberglass, or high temp resistant molded plastic). Cold water enters the tank near the bottom, heats and rises to the top where it is piped back to the home. Ground source heat pumps exploit stable ground temperatures by benefiting from the thermal energy storage capacity of the ground. Typically ground source heat pumps have a high cost and are difficult to install by the average homeowner. They use electric motors to transfer heat from the ground with a high level of efficiency. The electricity may come from renewable sources or from external non-renewable sources.
Biodiesel is an alternative fuel that can power diesel engines and can be used for domestic heating. Numerous forms of biomass, including soybeans, peanuts, and algae (which has the highest yield), can be used to make biodiesel. Recycled vegetable oil (from restaurants) can also be converted into biodiesel. Biogas is another alternative fuel, created from the waste product of animals. Though less convenient for most homes, By mixing the waste and water in the air, methane produces naturally in the airspace. This methane can be piped out and burned, and used for a cookfire. The biogaspro digester provides an easily installed digester suitable for small farms or even large homes. Groups of people can make a group of people
Policymakers were accustomed to an energy system based on big, centralized projects like nuclear or gas-fired power stations. A change of mindsets and incentives are bringing microgeneration into the mainstream. Planning regulations may also require streamlining to facilitate the retrofitting of microgenerating facilities to homes and buildings. Most of developed countries, including Canada (Alberta), the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Israel, and the United States.
In January 2009, the Government of Alberta’s Micro-Generation Regulation came into effect, which allowed them to generate electricity.
In December 2014, the Polish government will vote on a bill for calls for microgeneration, as well as in the Baltic Sea: a solution to cut back on co2 emissions from the country’s coal plants and to reduce Polish dependence on Russian gas. Under the terms of the new bill, which will generate up to 40 kW of ‘green’ energy will be paid to the grid, and businesses who set up large-scale offshore wind in the Baltic will be eligible for subsidization by the state. Costs of implementing these technologies will be offset by the creation of a new tax on non-sustainable energy use.
The United States has inconsistent energy generation policies across its 50 states. State energy policies and laws may vary significantly with location. Some states have imposed requirements on a certain percentage of total power generation from renewable sources. For this purpose, renewable sources include wind, hydroelectric, and solar power. Further, in some areas transferrable “renewable source energy”. As a result, in some parts of the United States, power companies will pay a portion of the cost of renewable source microgeneration projects in their service areas. These rebates are in addition to any federal or state renewable-energy income-tax credits that may be applicable. In other areas,
The UK Government published its Microgeneration Strategy in March 2006, although it was seen as a disappointment by many commentators. In contrast, the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 has been viewed as a positive step. To replace earlier schemes, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), launched the Low Carbon Buildings Program in April 2006, which provides grants to individuals, communities and businesses to invest in microgenerating technologies. These schemes have been replaced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for clean energy cashflow via the Rebate for the Renewable Heat Incentive for the Renewable Heat from November 28, 2011. Feed-In Tariffs are intended to incentivize small-scale (less than 5MW), low-carbon electricity generation. These feed-in tariffs work alongside the Renewables Obligation (RO), which will remain the primary mechanism to incentivize deployment of large-scale renewable electricity generation. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) in renewable energy sources. They also currently offer up to 21p per kWh from December 2011 in the Tariff for Photovoltaics plus another 3p for the Export Tariff – an overall figure that could be used for household electricity double what they currently pay for their electricity. On October 31, 2011, the government announced a brief cut in the feed-in tariff of 43.3p / kWh to 21p / kWh with the new tariff to apply to all new solar PV installations with an eligibility date on or after December 12, 2011. Prominent British politicians who have announced they are fitting microgenerating facilities to their homes include the Conservative party leader, David Cameron, and the Labor Science Minister, Malcolm Wicks. These plans included small domestic sized wind turbines. Cameron, before becoming Prime Minister in the 2010 general elections, had been asked during an interview on BBC One’s The Politics Show on October 29, 2006, if he would do the same should he get to 10 Downing Street. “If they’d let me, yes,” he replied. In the December 2006 Pre-Budget Report the government announced that it would not be subject to income tax. Legislation to this effect has been included in the Finance Bill 2007.
The Mosquito Coast, Jericho, The Time Machine and the Beverly Hills Family Robinson have had a great deal of public interest in microgeneration among the general public. Websites such as Instructables and Practical Action offers DIY solutions that can lower the cost of microgeneration, thus increasing its popularity. OtherPower and Home Power also provide practical advice and guidance.