Homeowners on a rural property in Courtenay began building their dream home in 2009 and one of their renewable energy goals was to install a wind electric system. Good access to prevailing southeast and northwest winds made for a feasible wind site, with no land permitting required for their hobby farm. An electrical permit and equipment certification was completed on the electrical side.
A 2.5 kW wind turbine was installed on an 85 foot guyed tower. This model of turbine is designed for the coastal climate, robust enough to handle the winter storms and with a large enough swept area to produce power in light winds. Estimated production is 20% of the property’s power requirements, with excess electricity production being credited to the homeowners through BC Hydro's Net Metering Program. Total cost of installation came to approximately $35,000.
The homeowners also chose to have a battery back-up as they were experiencing fairly frequent power outages in the winter. The battery bank is sized to 20 kWhs, and this was determined by undertaking a load analysis for the four person, 3000 sq/ft home. This back-up load includes kitchen lighting, kitchen plug, fan on woodstove, septic pump, water pump, fridge, freezer and computer. All battery bank equipment is stored in the downstairs utility room, with batteries vented to the exterior.
Monthly visual checks on battery cables will be required, as corroding can occur with flooded batteries. These battery types are more maintenance heavy but less expensive than sealed batteries. Equalization and refill of distilled water is also done every six weeks to "reset" the batteries and replace exhausted fluids. The battery based grid-tie inverter monitors battery status and production.