Autonomous power supply for a private house: an overview of the best local solutions

Amir Gumarov
Checked by a specialist: Amir Gumarov
Author: Natalya Listyeva
Last update: November 2019

An independent electrical system will provide energy to private buildings that are not connected to centralized networks. The result will help reduce the energy costs of cottages and homes. But in order to take advantage of these advantages, you need to know exactly how to make an autonomous power supply for a private house. Is it true?

We will talk about the construction of independent energy supply systems. Here you will find the fundamental principles of the device and the important nuances of organizing the supply of electricity to private residential buildings. The information we presented is carefully checked, systematized, the information complies with building codes.

In the article we have proposed, we thoroughly analyzed the options for constructing private energy systems, presenting and evaluating all possible sources of energy production. The principles of construction and the operation of autonomous power supply are described in detail, the data presented are supported by photos and videos.

General requirements for home autonomous systems

In order for the autonomous complex to work correctly and produce an amount of energy that fully covers the needs of all home appliances and household appliances, before installing the equipment, a preliminary calculation of the total capacity of available electric consumers is carried out.

These include such units as:

  • heating system of a residential building;
  • refrigeration equipment;
  • air purification / cooling devices;
  • large and small-sized household appliances;
  • a pumping complex that delivers water to a house from a well or well;
  • an electric tool for maintenance, carried out by do-it-yourselfers, and maintenance of buildings and a personal plot.

The basic power is found out from the accompanying documents issued by the manufacturer and attached to each unit. This indicator is different for everyone, but any devices and devices equally require a stable supply of energy with a certain frequency of electric current and without voltage drops.

In some cases, also take into account such a parameter as the sinusoidal shape of the alternating voltage.

The data on the power of the devices are summarized and in this way they find out how many real kilowatt hours an autonomous electrical system must continuously generate per day. It is recommended to exceed the resulting number by 15-30% in order to have a solid margin in the future to increase energy consumption.

Independent Electrical System
An autonomous electrical system allows year-round to provide the necessary level of comfort in homes located far from the central communication systems responsible for the supply of energy to residential premises

At the next stage, the main technical characteristics of the future power system are determined. These parameters directly depend on its purpose.

If you are going to make a backup source that connects only at a certain moment when it is not possible to receive electricity through centralized communications, the estimated operating time of the autonomous equipment is established, and based on these data, the power necessary for the normal functioning of the system is calculated.

Solar panels in the yard
The presence in the private house of an autonomous power supply complex provides the owner with complete freedom of action. He will always have at his disposal the necessary resource, no matter what price the state sets on electricity

If, on the “shoulders” of the autonomous equipment, it is planned to lay all the power supply in the living quarters, outbuildings and on the personal plot, the approximate daily consumption is clearly calculated in advance.

They add another 20-25% to this figure and in this way receive the actual base power necessary for the full operation of communication networks, equipment and household appliances.

Solar operation
When choosing solar batteries as an alternative source of energy supply, it should be remembered that in winter the modules produce 2-3 times less resource than during the highest solar activity (from March to September)

Having detailed technical information in hand, they begin to develop the project and derive an estimate with a complete objective calculation of the upcoming financial costs for the purchase of units and payment for installation services.

Specialists, of course, will cope with the installation faster and better, but they will ask for a substantial amount. Home masters can also master the main parts of the task, but for the implementation of certain stages it would still be wiser to invite professionals or at least use their advice.

Weighted Independent System Assessment

Modern systems for autonomous power supply use a variety of resources to generate energy. This allows you to get high-quality electricity without differences, even in the most remote and sparsely populated places, where all the benefits of civilization have not yet managed to get.

Advantages of Autonomous Electrics

The main advantage of autonomous power supply systems is the lack of consumption standards and fees for energy used. This allows you to provide any level of comfort in a residential building, regardless of whether central communications pass nearby or not.

If preliminary power calculations are made correctly and not underestimated, the system will work like a clock and the owners will not encounter problems such as unexpected power outages and power surges.

Autonomous Power Management Option
A significant advantage of autonomous power supply is the absence of surges, power drops and overvoltages in the network, due to which household and computer equipment breaks down several times faster

The risk that household appliances in the living room will fail or burn out due to an unexpected power surge will be reduced to zero. The quantity and quality of the generated electricity will always be the same and exactly as it was originally planned in the project.

Equipment that provides independent electricity supplies has a high level of reliability and rarely fails. This advantage remains relevant when observing the basic rules of operation and regular maintenance of individual elements and the entire system.

In addition, pilot programs are already operating today that allow owners to sell surplus electricity to the state. However, it’s worthwhile to think about using this interesting opportunity in advance, even at the stage of developing a project for an electrical supply system.

In addition, it will be necessary to draw up a package of permits confirming the ability of available devices to generate the required amount of energy of good quality.

Disadvantages of Independent Power Supply

The disadvantages of an independent power supply system include the rather high cost of equipment and significant operating costs.

Independent power supply of a private house
The disadvantages of autonomous energy supply include the need to allocate space for equipment placement, conduct independent system maintenance and replace worn elements at one’s expense

Electricians strongly recommend that the owners carefully make all the calculations and clearly ascertain the technical parameters of the system planned for installation. Otherwise, a situation may arise when the unit that produces electricity fails, without having time to pay off.

The owners also carry out the repair of the autonomous complex at their own expense, and these services cost considerable money.If the house is located in a remote or inaccessible area, the craftsmen will have to go in person or additionally pay for the brigade's departure to the place.

Moreover, you will need to do everything quickly enough, since home communications and conveniences powered by electricity will not be available at this time.

Solar panels in power supply at home
If modules from solar panels are selected as an autonomous system for energy production, they will need to be periodically cleaned of garbage in windy weather, and in winter it must be freed from snow. Only with such care will they fully function throughout the entire operational period

Regular routine inspection and scheduled maintenance of existing units will significantly reduce the chance of breakdown of stand-alone devices, but this may also require a specialist visit worth the money.

Of course, the owner will do part of such work on his own, but more serious moments that require certain experience and specific knowledge will still entail professional intervention.

Determining the best source of energy

Choosing an alternative energy source for autonomous electrical supply of a residential building - A very important and crucial moment, requiring a serious approach.

The most popular and most common options include:

  • generators running on diesel fuel or gasoline;
  • solar panels;
  • high volume and power batteries;
  • hydroelectric systems;
  • wind energy converters.

Each source has its own unique characteristics and features. Owners should familiarize themselves with them in advance and, based on this information, determine the best option for a system that can satisfy all the electrical needs of a private residential building.

Features of the work of generators

A generator is the fastest and easiest way to provide a private house with electricity. For operation, the unit uses gasoline or diesel fuel and, as a result of its combustion, produces the necessary amount of energy.

The main advantage is the complete independence of the device from seasonal changes and weather fluctuations. The disadvantages include the obligatory presence on the site of a specially equipped fuel storage, designed for a volume of 200 liters or more.

Diesel generator set
The diesel generator set is convenient and easy to operate, but for full functioning it needs to receive at least 250 ml of fuel per hour. Powerful stations capable of providing energy to a small private house with an actual resource consumption of several kilowatts per day will "eat" about a liter of diesel fuel for 60 minutes

Most often, gasoline and diesel generator sets are used as backup or temporary sources of electricity. This is due to the fact that for full-fledged operation, devices require significant amounts of fuel, the cost of which is constantly increasing.

Household fuel generator
A powerful gasoline or diesel generator is capable of providing an uninterrupted supply of electricity in the presence of the required amount of fuel. However, the device during operation produces a lot of noise. In order not to suffer from unwanted sounds, it is worth placing the unit in one of the adjacent utility rooms located at some distance from your own housing and neighboring houses

The equipment itself also has a high price and needs preventative maintenance. More advantageous options for generating sets include gas units. They do not need uninterrupted supplies of fuel and do not require a storage facility for fuel materials.

However, a full-fledged operation of these devices is provided by such a point as mandatory connection to the central gas network, which is far from always possible and affordable.

Gas generator for home
Installation of a gas generator in the house is carried out only on the basis of a package of permits and with the mandatory participation in the installation of a team of craftsmen from a local gas distribution company. It is not recommended to independently connect the device to the gas pipeline in order to avoid potential leaks and various malfunctions in the future

It is because of these difficulties that generators are rarely chosen as the main source for supplying electricity to a private house.

But generators are an ideal solution for temporary use, for example, during the construction of a country house and paperwork for its connection:

During the first stages of construction, the generator will serve as the main source of energy, and after processing the documents and obtaining permissions to connect to the public grid, it will become backup equipment and will certainly come in handy more than once.

Autonomous solar power plants

To supply a private residential building, collectors or solar panels. These devices absorb light energy and convert it into current, which then feeds systems, devices and appliances that run on electricity.

Solar panels (panels) are a set of semiconductor elements connected together and enclosed in a frame that process light resources into electrical energy. The equipment does not consume fuel and does not require complex, highly professional service.

To keep the object in order it’s enough just from time to time to wipe the absorbing mirror from dust and remove small debris from it. Installing the unit at a certain elevation at an angle of about 70 degrees will create conditions under which in winter the snow will not be able to accumulate on the surface of the battery and prevent its proper operation.

The solar system is automatically adjusted. The owner does not need to turn the equipment on or off. The generated energy is stored in special battery complexes and allows you to use electricity around the clock in an individual, convenient for the owner mode personally.

Solar panels for a residential building
The solar battery directly converts the energy of light into electric current and, unlike generator sets, makes it completely silent, thus not interfering with either residents or neighbors

High-quality solar panels are very reliable and designed for full operation for at least 25 years. By the end of this period, their performance is slightly reduced and the next 20 years the panels give out a resource in the amount of about 80% of the original base power declared by the manufacturer.

Thus, the total battery life is 45 years, which significantly exceeds the performance of other autonomous systems.

Roof Solar Panels
Unlike wind generators, which are directly dependent on certain meteorological phenomena, solar panels are guaranteed to produce electricity every day. On bad cloudy days, their performance becomes a little less, but does not stop completely

Since sunlight is almost everywhere, solar panels have almost no installation restrictions. You can place them on any unshaded area space, facing the receiving surface at a certain angle to the south side.

Solar panels on site
Choosing a place for the location of solar panels on a personal territory, you need to make sure that there are no tall trees and buildings nearby that block the sun and cast a shadow. Otherwise, the battery will not be able to work at full strength.

If the size of the household territory does not allow to allocate a separate free space for equipment, it is appropriate to use the roof surface of a residential building or the roof of farm buildings for installation of the system.

Installation of solar panels
Despite some fragility, solar panels have considerable weight and require a clear and reliable fastening. Before installation, it is necessary to equip the roof structure with strong beams or supports so that in the future the roof does not collapse, unable to withstand the additional load not provided for by the initial design

Wind and hydroelectric systems have a fixed power level. For solar systems, this value is floating and depends only on the number of installed batteries. Solar panels can be used as additional energy sources. In this case, you will need hybrid inverter, which will be recommended by our recommended article.

If there is currently no need for a large amount of energy, you can put an aggregate of miniature dimensions, and if necessary, at a convenient time, increase additional panels and increase the amount of the resource obtained.

Wind power for autonomous power supply

In the event that meteorological or any other objective reasons do not allow the installation of solar panels or collectors, it makes sense to pay attention to assembly and installation of a wind generator. It is a turbine located on high (from 3 meters) towers.

It captures the kinetic energy of the vortex flow, converts it into mechanical energy by rotating the rotor, and then turns it into an electrical resource by means of special inverters.

Residential wind generator
The owner of a private house planning to install a wind generator with a capacity of more than 10 kW should carefully study information about changes in the direction and strength of the wind in his area over the past 20 years

Statistics can be provided by the weather service and various Internet services that allow you to monitor the weather online. If winds in the region are considered a rare occurrence and do not have the necessary strength, it will be inappropriate to mount a “windmill”.

The unit is reliable wind generator It does not create harmful emissions into the atmosphere and does not leave production waste, but for full-fledged work it urgently needs a constant wind blowing at a speed of at least 14 kilometers per hour. This is a very important condition, and if it is not met, the device simply can not cope with the tasks.

Local hydropower systems

Using a hydraulic turbine to provide electricity to a residential building is a very realistic and advantageous option, but only if a river or lake is located near the buildings. A small system that uses water energy is absolutely safe both in environmental and social terms, it is very easy to operate and has good efficiency.

Small turbine in operation
Small hydroturbines are fully automated and do not require human participation in their work. The quality of the energy they produce meets all the requirements of GOST both in frequency and voltage level

The term of full work miniature hydroelectric power station exceeds 40 years. For proper functioning, the system does not need large reservoirs and does not require flooding of large territories.

Before installation, it is necessary to draw up an installation project and obtain the relevant permits.

Batteries for autonomous systems

The principle of operation of the battery is clear and simple. As long as there is electricity in the central network, the batteries are charged from the wall outlet and accumulate a resource in their blocks. Batteries for solar panels function in a similar way.

When energy supplies cease, modules through a special inverter installation give an electrician to household appliances and various home systems.

Battery for backup power system
When choosing a battery to create a backup electrical system in a residential building, it is worth determining which appliances and modules of household appliances are required to be connected in the absence of light. Putting together their basic power, you can get a number that indicates the capacity of the battery, capable of providing energy to the most necessary devices

They are not suitable for the constant supply of electricity to a residential building, but they will be able to cope perfectly well with the role of a reserve complex.

With the best developments for the organization of alternative energy country house will introduce next articlefully dedicated to this interesting subject.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Video # 1 will demonstrate how to assemble an autonomous power supply system for a private house from solar panels with your own hands. The video gives useful tips from the wizard with a detailed display of each action and a description of the equipment used:

Roller number 2 introduces what should be chosen to create a backup electrical system in the house: a generator or a battery. A review of the units, the pros and cons, comparative characteristics and the principle of work will help independent craftsmen in implementing the idea:

Roller number 3 presents how the wind generator works, whether it is able to cover all the needs of an average residential building for electricity:

Roller No. 4 presents an independent power supply complex for a country house using various resources and installations. The advantages and disadvantages of a system of solar panels, a MAP inverter and a progressive wind generator are indicated:

The need for the organization of autonomous electricity for a private house can arise for various reasons, for example, due to the difficulty of connecting to an existing network or due to the lack of central communications in the area where the housing is located.

Unstable supply voltage, power outages or regular outages can also force property owners to think about getting energy from alternative sources. A correctly calculated and correctly mounted system will allow you to forget about all the problems with the electrician.

Tell us about how you built an autonomous energy supply system in a suburban area. It is possible that in your arsenal there are ways not listed in the article, and information useful to visitors to the site. Please write comments in the block below, share your impressions, post photos, ask questions.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Yaroslav

    In fact, an autonomous power supply system for the home is very useful. We often have power outages. The only thing we can afford is electric generators of different capacities, but such a thing as solar panels with the conversion of solar energy into electrical energy is a very distant prospect for us.I would even say not in our lives. In Europe, this has long been, but it has not yet reached us and whether it will reach.

  2. Danil

    I think that solar panels have a promising future. Purchase and installation are still worth a lot, but they will quickly pay for themselves. Naturally, care is also needed for the devices. An acquaintance put several of these squares for the sake of testing, until he complains, but does not plan to refuse paid electricity. The main thing is to correctly install them, on the right side, where they will be most effective.

  3. Nikolay

    Given current electricity prices, an autonomous power supply system would be very efficient and useful in the household. It is unfortunate that the installation of such batteries requires considerable costs, plus the additional costs of caring for the system. Although I know people who have several pieces installed in the cottage, they also actively use ordinary electricity. Perhaps in a few years our people will begin to actively use such systems, because it is really beneficial.

    • Expert
      Amir Gumarov

      Nikolay, that's just the price. there are no special problems - not so expensive electricity in our country. The problem is that it is not everywhere. For example, in a remote village, where a couple of houses remain, no one will especially follow this. A pillar will fall somewhere, not the fact that it will be quickly restored (if at all). Well, interruptions - we must somehow deal with them.

  4. Nikolay Yasakov

    The most promising options for an autonomous integrated energy supply are able to ensure uninterrupted supply of a private facility with hot sanitary water and electricity required for household appliances.

    • Zhenya

      What are the most promising options?

      • Expert
        Amir Gumarov

        And this already depends on the geographical position and climatic features of the area. For example, in the south, solar panels will be relevant, in the middle latitudes a wind generator. But you can also combine - mount solar panels plus a wind generator. The latter is relevant if there are a lot of wind days and the flow rate also matters.

        As for the use of hydraulic turbines, not everyone near the site runs a fast river or stream. In addition, it is not always possible to build a hydro generator without a dam, and these are additional permissions.
        The use of gasoline or diesel autonomous generators is justified, as alternative energy sources may fail.

        Therefore, the most promising options for an autonomous integrated energy supply are solar panels and wind generators, plus gasoline or diesel autonomous generators.

  5. Ruslan

    The topic is interesting, in demand. Only our government, under the leadership of the largest resource-mining and processing magnates, will not give a full carte blanche to the transition to alternative energy sources.
    “Money rules the world and the one who has more is stronger” ®
    How many great minds were missing, how many were found dead right after the unveiling of technologies that would turn history and the whole production of a resource ... You don’t have to go far for an example - hydrogen engines, water-powered engines, engines consuming fuel ten times less greater power output, biofuel engines, etc. This is not profitable for the most influential people of this world and therefore it will be stopped in every way - killings, excessive prices, “inexplicable” lack of demand and so on ...