Author Options:

Can I backfeed energy produced by a bike generator into my house through a 110 outlet? Answered

My friend rides her bike for hours on end. it is like a mouse on it's wheel. Can we generate electricity and feed it into the wiring to lower her electricity bill? I guess we would need a power inverter and someway to safely feed the power into the grid.



6 years ago

Check out ebay, you can find what you want there for under $100 bucks, it plugs directly into your wall socket and feeds the power back into the grid and thus lowering your overall bill. I am no expert but from everything I have read if you want to use these devices it is still recommended that you have a battery bank and regulator also. That allows the charge into convertor to be controlled before it goes into your house.

This is being done by allot of people and you can do it too. Go for it. Don't let some scare you, if you use the right equipment you are not gonna burn your house down. That person probly works for the utility company, lol....

Let us know how it goes...

Firebird gave a good answer why it is not practical, but you might consider converting your bike to make electricity to run your radio or tv while peddaling, but NOT feeding back into the grid.  Anything you power WITHOUT using the grid is BETTER than feeding back INTO the grid because you are saving money... also, i have heard that the electric company only pays  a few cents per killowatt hour for electricity you supply to THEM.  But electricity you BUY from them costs double or triple what they would pay you.  Check out the website fieldlines.com for many ideas on converting your bicycle if you cant find any on this website. 

What you are looking for is a grid tie inverter. Whoever said it is illegal? This is absurd! No it's not illegal to make your own power! Unfortunately, the electronic components to make a grid tie inverter are complicated and expensive. One of the cheapest, ready to use inverters can be found here http://www.hurricanewindpower.com/servlet/the-166/Swea-Grid-tie-Inverter/Detail for about $380. If you calculate how much bike riding time it would take to pay for itself, you'll find it might not be worth it. <br /><br />A stationary bike would almost be able to generate about 50 watts. So, 50 watts for 4 hours a day is 200 watts per day. 30 days in a month equals 6000 watts (or 6kwh). Electricity, after taxes and fees, usually runs about $0.15/kwh. This means every month, 90 cents of electricity is generated. The cost of the grid tie inverter $380, divided by the cost of the electricity generated is 380/0.90 = 422 months, or 35 years before you break even. Plus, the electronic components of the grid tie inverter won't last but 5 or 10 years. <br /><br />You might think that all this energy is currently being wasted, but as can be seen, not a lot is really generated. Check out some of the other instructables to learn how to create DC voltage, which can be used to run lights, charge batteries, charge up electronic devices like mp3 players, phones, etc.<br /><br />Good luck!

A human powered bike produces something like 20 to 100 watts, depending on how hard you are working (think uphill without building up speed first).

This is very very dangerous - even if you could connect your dynamo to an inverter which could produce 110v output from your efforts it is nowhere near as simple as just plugging it into your house wiring! A small explosion would result unless you have some very sophisticated electronics to match the phase of the cycles of your generated alternating current with that of the house's alternating current. And the power companies don't like it either. The other advice on this page to use your efforts to power small appliances or to charge re-chargable devices is much more sensible and the effect is the same - you will reduce thwe amount of power that your house consumes.

You could use an inverter to power a household appliance, but you'll not generate enough for it to be worth feeding into the whole supply (see Re-design)


See Re-design's answer. Your last sentence is the clue -- "safely feed the power into the grid." With the popularity of home PV installations, utility companies are more willing now to work with consumers on these issues than they used to be. You can do a fair bit of of Web research on the kind of equipment you need to do phase matching and spike filtering of your generated power, and find suppliers. You should also be able to contact your local planning department for the permit requirements (straightforward, but some cities are really crappy about it). If I had to guess, I'd say the device is going to cost several hundred dollars (US). The whole project (including an electrician) might be a thousand. As Re-design said, you're better off just plugging the TV or cell phone charger or iPod dock or whatever into a closed outlet box wired to the bike generator.

No not legally or safely without a proper electrical connection approved by your electricity provider. But you could use it to run the tv while you pedal along. Or change your batteries. Or lots of other things.