This 150 page book is unusual as it presents the principles and electronics for various ways of generating and using electrical energy for off-grid and grid connected homes. Most sections start with an introduction and some principles. This is generally followed by a detailed look at commercially available equipment, such as battery chargers, power inverters, wind generator converters and discusses their circuitry. Attention is drawn to ways the circuits can be improved.
The book contains the following chapters:
One piece of information in the book (published in 2009) that is likely to surprise most people is that LED lights so far are much less efficient than CFL (compact fluorescent lights) and only slightly more efficient than the tungsten filament lamps that are being discontinued. The only time LEDs are significantly more efficient than tungsten is when used in low voltage devices such as torches. This is because the most efficient LEDs are not as powerful as required for general lighting but are powerful enough for ordinary torches or indicators whereas low power tungsten lamps are particularly inefficient. They can also be particularly efficient directional lighting as normally all the light is delivered in a fairly narrow beam.
Since the book was published LEDs have continued to improve rapidly and the latest white LEDs can achieve two or three times the efficiency of CFLs. Although not yet in production (Feb 2010) Cree has reported Cree Breaks 200 Lumen Per Watt Efficacy Barrier. In comparison a 100 watt incandescent bulb produces about 1700 lumens or 15 lumens/watt and a CFL around 75 lumens/watt. Note the word efficiacy rather than efficiency - to some (not well defined/disclosed) extent the measurement took into account the directional properties of the LED on the assumption it would be used for downlighting or similar.