Many American Indians/Alaska Natives (AINA) support development and use of sustainable energy sources for a variety of reasons. We wanted to minimize reliance upon hydropower operations that have caused or contribute to the extinction of Salmon. We also wanted backup energy in the event of disruptions to the grid. Therefore, we decided to invest in a system that can power critical systems (e.g., well, refrigeration, etc.) and provide battery backup in case the grid goes down. The purpose of this blog is to provide information about how we designed our system and lessons learned. We also provide some programming code for analyzing data to evaluate energy development and system maintenance.
Step 1: Determine your energy needs
The first step of alternative energy development is to determine your energy need. This is done by taking an inventory of the amps each device, appliance, and light fixture (bulbs) that you are planning to hook up. In general, amps required are listed on sticker tags or stamped into bulbs. I put this information into a spread sheet and multiplied the amps by the total number of devices, bulbs, etc. For example, if you have two iphones you would multiply 0.0583 amps by 2 to get 0.116 amps. After we did this for the circuits and added it all up we came up to a total of 83.5 amps. You must remember this is the maximum amount of amps if everything came on at once, which will likely not happen. The total amps is an important number because it is used to size your system.