Wednesday, February 20, 2013

We Use Creek Water to Power Our House

Some readers of the Charleston Gazette may have caught an op/ed piece by Mickey Janowski back on January 4, 2013.  His home has now been powered for more than 110 days without interruption and with power to spare. 

We use creek water to power our house

I live up a holler that has a nice little creek in Webster County. I'm not connected to the electric grid and for years have used photovoltaic panels for our electricity. During prolonged times of rain, snow and diminished sunlight, I used to have to fire up the nasty, noisy, stinky, fossil fuel generator to recharge the house's deep-cycle batteries.

Not lately. On Oct. 29, the day that Hurricane Sandy's related snowstorm hit (We got just over three feet), my mini hydro-electric generator, the "Stream Engine," began tapping energy of the water flowing down the mountain. Almost three weeks of snowmelt has provided more electricity than we can use. The excess powers a space heater.

I'd like to thank Matt Sherald of PIMBY Energy in Thomas for the electrical work, Marvin Woodie and Larry Agnew from Conn-Weld Industries in Princeton for the design and fabrication of the intake screen, and Paul Cunningham of Energy Systems and Design LTD, builder of the Stream Engine.

It added another aspect as to how I look at the water in my creek. It's power to be converted to electricity, with virtually zero impact on the environment. A little diversion and it's back in the creek. Let it rain (or snow).

Mickey Janowski
Webster Springs  

Mickey getting his feet wet (nice hat!)


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