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Hybrid Renewable Energy System Analysis For Off Grid Great Lakes Residential Housing

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Design Experiences in Energy Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.709.1 - 10.709.10



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Paper Authors

author page

Larry Kephart

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2433

Hybrid Renewable Energy System Analysis for Off-Grid Great Lakes Residential Housing Robert S. Weissbach, Larry A. Kephart Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

Abstract Renewable energy has become an important area of research and development for both environmental as well as economic reasons. At the academic level, it is possible to introduce students to issues related to renewable energy. This paper discusses the effort two students put in, as part of a thesis, and an independent study, to develop an economically feasible, self- sufficient, renewable energy system for a residential home in the Great Lakes region. The design of the system sought to use both wind and solar energy to supply energy to the home. The students were able to consider effects such as the design and capability of the wind turbine and solar panels to determine whether the design would be viable economically. After deciding that the initial system design would be too expensive, the students then considered other options to reduce the cost of the renewable energy system while still providing the necessary electrical systems that are used in a modern home. This included the development of a survey that was distributed to faculty and staff. The survey was used to determine the critical electrical loads that families in the Great Lakes region would require throughout the year. From this data, the average daily, weekly, and annual power requirements for a 2,000 square foot home was determined. Hybrid energy systems (using wind and solar power only) were then researched and priced to determine feasibility in the Great Lakes region. Alternative and supplementary sources of home and water heating were also explored in an attempt to reduce energy consumption in order to meet the specified cost requirements of the renewable energy project. Successes and challenges of developing a completely self-sufficient (off of the commercial electrical grid) home in the Great Lakes region of North America using renewable energy will be discussed.

Introduction The purpose of this project is to consider the feasibility of developing a hybrid renewable energy system that is capable of providing enough electrical power to sustain a family of 4, in a 2,000 square foot, 8 room home in Northwestern Pennsylvania (Erie, Pa.). The system was originally proposed to meet the following criteria:

• The system must operate completely off of the commercial power grid. • The total hybrid system cost must not exceed $10,000. • The system must be able to convert enough solar and wind energy to usable energy to sustain a 2,000ft2 home in the Great Lakes regional climate. • The system must provide a means of energy storage in order to maintain power during periods of low solar and wind activity.

It was determined in an earlier study done at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College that it was not possible to produce this system if all of the common electrical household items found in an “Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Kephart, L., & Weissbach, R. (2005, June), Hybrid Renewable Energy System Analysis For Off Grid Great Lakes Residential Housing Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14629

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015