What is best Solar, Wind or Hydro?

In New Zealand, we find that in most areas, Solar Panels provide a more consistent power, working on an average daily basis. Solar energy is roughly NZ$13 per watt for the panels only.

Hydro is normally the lowest cost in watts per $ providing a suitable supply is available. It is a recommended minimum of 20 litres per second and at least a 5 meter (15′) water head for a small 350 watt hydro system. The more water and the higher head, generally speaking, provides more power. Hydro power costing is in the order of NZ $13 per watt. This is not including earthworks or piping or ancillary equipment i.e. Battery inverter system.

Wind power generation usually is the most cost effective means of power generation. Wind sites however, have to be extremely good in order to make use of this means of power production. Usually, wind turbines need wind speeds of 15 meters per second in order to reach their rated power output. Wind power is in the order of NZ$9 per watt for the turbine only. The Solwind Vertical Axis Wind Turbine is designed to provide power at $6 per watt at 10 meters per second wind speed.

Does my house that I am building, need to have special wiring?

If you are contemplating using off the shelf electric appliances that use the grid 110 / 230V AC then the house you are building does not need any special wiring. You will need an Inverter to convert energy you have collected from the sun, wind or water from the Storage cells (batteries) into the 110 / 230V AC.

If you plan to run a 12 volt DC system then the house wiring must be of the correct size and rating to carry the higher currents involved in this type of system. Also note that conventional switch plates (light switches) are Mains AC rated and may cause problems if operated on a high current DC load.