Oct 19, 2011, 4:54 AM
Post #20 of 21
Small Wind & You
Re: [robt65] Wind Power for Home Use Feasible?
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How do residential wind turbines work?
A wind turbine, installed on top of a tall tower, collects kinetic energy from the wind and converts it into electricity that is compatible with the home's electrical system. In a residential application with net metering, a home is served simultaneously by the wind turbine and a local utility. If wind speeds are below the speed limit (usually a minimum of 2 or 3 meters per second is required) will not be output from the turbine and all of the energy purchased from the utility. As wind speeds increase, increases the production of the turbine and the amount of energy purchased from the utility is proportionately smaller. When the turbine produces more power than the housing needs, the extra electricity can be sold to the utility if these agreements are available. All this is done automatically.
I have no need to take wind measurements for a year or more?
For most residential systems the cost of taking wind measurements is not justified. Wind data resources provided by Environment Canada is often enough for an experienced evaluator to predict wind turbine performance. For large turbines and large investments, it may be desirable to collect more detailed data on the location. The Ballpark Cost page in helping with the planning section on this site uses the Environment Canada wind map data for calculating the viability of the wind in your area.
What about the towers?
A rule of thumb for proper and efficient operation of a wind turbine is that the tower height (turbine hub height) should be at least 10 feet above all within 100 meters of the tower. Usually, 25 to 37 underground towers can be supplied along with the wind turbine, which usually avoids turbulence from buildings and trees in most places. Wind speed increases as you ascend above the ground, and also becomes less turbulent. In addition, the generation of electricity from a turbine increases exponentially with wind speed. Therefore, a relatively small height of the tower will cause rise very high rates of return in electricity generation. For example, installing a 10 kW generator on a tower 30 feet instead of a tower of 18 meters is a 10% increase in total system cost, but can result in ~ 30% power. There are different types of towers are available, depending on the manufacturer you select. Each type has its advantages, the most economical tower is the tower of the 'red braces', but a hinged tower can be easier for you to install and provides easier access for maintenance.
How reliable are wind turbines? Lot of maintenance?
Most small turbines have very few moving parts and requires no regular maintenance. They are designed for long life (up to 20 years) and operate completely automatically.
How am I going to have a wind turbine installed in my home?
Most dealers offer either turnkey (ready to operate) installations or the option of buying directly from the factory and install the system yourself. The first option offers more customer support the company. Self-installation offers significant savings and a practical understanding of the turbine. Prospective owners can discuss the options available with manufacturers to decide which method best suits their budget skills and expertise.
Approach buying the equipment as you would any other major purchase. You can start this process in our planning help page. You will have to weigh the costs and varying degrees of rugged / durable designs. Obtain and review the product literature from several manufacturers, and research to those who want to follow to ensure they are well-known, parts and service will be available when needed. Find out how long is the warranty and what it includes, and ask for references of customers with installations similar to the one you are considering. Ask the owners of systems performance, reliability, maintenance and repair requirements, and if the system is meeting their expectations.
(This post was edited by KathyRRozier on Oct 19, 2011, 5:01 AM)