Alternative power system

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An alternative power system uses one or more sources of alternative power to generate electricity and/or other types or energy in a systematic fashion.


Alternative Power System Components

An alternative power system requires many different components to function properly.

Power Sources

The first component is the source or sources or energy, these could be solar, wind, water, methane, or others.

Battery Bank

In order to make efficient use of alternative energy sources and provide constant power, a battery bank should be used. The more batteries you have, the more power you will be able to store and the longer you will be able to run if one more more source is non-functional.

Charge Controller

To charge your batteries requires a control system which will convert the incoming electricity to the proper voltage and monitor the batteries to prevent overcharging.


If you want to use AC powered appliances you will need an inverter to convert your 12, 24, or 48 volt battery bank to AC connect to your breaker box.

Energy Transmission

Between all of these components and the device that will use the energy generated there has to be a means of transferring the energy, typically copper or aluminum wiring. It should be noted that transmission of energy through wiring will cause a reduction in voltage. This loss is increased as wire size decreases. This loss is experienced most at lower voltages. This means that a 12v system loses voltage fast over long distances with smaller wire. This loss can be reduced by increasing wire size. As wire prices continue to increase it is often more cost efficient to increase the voltage of the power to be transmitted, allowing for the use of smaller wire.

To give examples of this, a 12v system using deep-cycle batteries typically will transmit 13.8v. When trying to transmit this power 100 feet you must use a #1 wire to get at least 12v at the end, a much thicker wire than the #10 wire you'd need to do the same thing across only 10 feet. However, if you put your inverter in line first and convert the power to 120v, you can transmit the energy 100 feet away using the same #10 wire which a 12v system can only push 10 feet. This #10 wire is not only smaller, but significantly less expensive than the #1 wire. If you wish to use low-voltage equipment, simply place a power converter at the far end of your transmission.

  • Wire sizes, distances, voltages used for example purpose only and not intended to replace experience and research to find actual wire size needed for your application.

See Also


External Links

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