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Earning from home made generator

  1. Oct 14, 2011 #1
    If a person in USA makes a wind turbine or some sort of other power generator and has more power left over,can he supply that to the national power grid and earn money?If so how much?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2011 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    It is possible (though may not be within the power company's electrical code) to unofficially put power back into the grid. Some of the older power meters will spin backwards when the home has a surplus of power, thereby 'undoing' some of your energy usage record. Then when the home needs power beyond what the turbine is outputting, net power is drawn from the grid and the meter returns to its normal operation. By reversing the meter, you are effectively selling power at the exact same rate as you purchase it (assuming we can overlook stepped tariffs for the purpose of this discussion.)

    If you have acreage and are contemplating a wind farm, you should first discuss this with your energy company to ensure everything is done strictly by the book. Otherwise, the local community will blame you for every blown appliance and every blackout.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011
  4. Oct 15, 2011 #3
    I don't know how old the meter needs to be to spin backwards...not just the little rotor, but even the numbers...I would presume that electric companies safeguarded against that a long time ago...I think making an old meter go backwards could be done without pushing electricity back...but just using magnets on the outside...

    In any case, the best thing is to talk to your power company...the new meters are unidirectional and so it would need to be replaced with one that can do what is called net-metering, it effectively has two meters in it...one to measure energy in one direction and the other in the other direction...when you get your bill, they list both numbers, substract them and charge you only for the net consumption.

    If you over-produce, the bill will probably show a credit...they are not going to bother to send you a check every month...they figure the weather will eventually catch up with you and will end up consuming more than producing...unless you have a huge farm.

    Oh, one more thing...whenever there is an outage on the grid...I think you also need to make sure your system stops pushing electricity into the grid by automatically disabling the inverter....the electric company wants this assurance so that when their workers are out there fixing stuff do not get electrocuted because of your system.
  5. Oct 15, 2011 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    The term to google and ask your power company about is "net metering".
  6. Oct 19, 2011 #5
  7. Oct 19, 2011 #6


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    Science Advisor
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    2017 Award

    In the UK there is a 'Feed In Tariff' that lets private individuals make a lot of money from generating their own electrical power from renewables (approved installations, of course). If you live in a windy or sunny location you can get a good return in only a few years - they even pay you for the electricity you use!
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