if you want to go for renewable , i recommend you will have a mix of 2 (or more) sources. Like Wind+Solar. The solar energy is still very expensive at
the moment , and you would need a lot of $$$ to fully run on alternative energies.
What you should do first - is to gather all your electricity bills you paid in the last 12 months then try to calculate how much energy you used so
far. For example, I live in UK and I used about 2000 KW per family member in one year + gas bills for winter (lucky you if you do not have harsh
winters in your place)
for the argument , let say you need 10 000 KW (kw/hour to be more correct ) , then divide that to 365 days in a year - you need about 30 KW a day , or
30 000 watts .
I guess this is a start , so you can think on what can be done. Now as energy sources - solar is very expensive , but it can be fine for small
amounts of energy generation. A very cheap way to go is to build your own Vertical Wind Turbine .
For the situation above, i would say a 5 KW / hour wind turbine will be great , together with about 4-5 square meters of Solar Panels and
unfortunately at least 20 "deep cycle" gel batteries (very great for renewable energy ) of 100 ampers . And do not give up the grid as you can still
use on emergency situation and you do not pay anything extra to keep it connected.
about costs -
solars could go any near 10 000 $ , wind turbine about 2000 $ if you make it yourself (and it would produce more than the solar panels ! ) and the
batteries and control circuits would be around 10 000 $. You can say "bye" to your bills for about 30 years after this.
The cheapest option would be to only use wind turbines and forget the batteries, this would cost less but you cannot totally independent. Go on
Video Google and search "build your own wind turbine" to get more clues, lots of nice people are happy to advice for free!
Well, this is the mainstream technology , however there must be some non-conventional technologies too (like TESLA) but I would not put my cash into
experimenting it unless the reward would be really good.
[edit on 1-10-2008 by sty]