EET

Alternative energy and the NEC

The National Electrical Code constantly evolves to reflect safe practices for modern power systems. Some of the most recent changes in the Code can be seen in the 2011 version which includes Article 694 pertaining specifically to small wind turbines, defined as those generating 100 kW or less. A few highlights:

The guy wires for small turbines needn't be grounded, but the metal structural framework supporting the turbine must be.

When installing the turbine, open circuiting, short circuiting, or mechanical brakes are all acceptable means of disabling the turbine.

There needs to be a permanent plaque or directory back in the building where the wind turbine electricity ends up that shows where to find the main disconnect for the wind turbine system.

Wind turbine systems that charge up a battery need two, reliable, independent means to prevent battery overcharging. An interconnected utility service isn't considered a reliable place to divert wind turbine power away from the battery.

The NFPA recently published an overview article about the NEC and alternative energy sources: http://www.necplus.org/Features/Pages/AContemporaryUseofanAncientPower.aspx?sso=0


Access to the articles of the NEC online are only available by subscription, but the NFPA offers a one-day free trial: http://code.necplus.org/

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