Induction generators are increasingly being used in nonconventional energy systems such as wind, micro/mini hydro, etc. The advantages of using an induction generator instead of a synchronous generator are well known. Some of them are reduced unit cost and size, ruggedness, brushless (in squirrel cage construction), absence of separate dc source, ease of maintenance, self-protection against severe overloads and short circuits, etc. In isolated systems, squirrel cage induction generators with capacitor excitation, known as self-excited induction generators (SEIGs), are very popular. This paper presents an exhaustive survey of the literature over the past 25 years discussing the process of self-excitation and voltage buildup, modeling, steady-state, and transient analysis, reactive power control methods, and parallel operation of SEIG.