If you went through the necessary processes in planning to determine whether or not a small wind electric system would be viable at your site, you will already have a broad concept of the following:
- The velocity and direction of the wind at your location.
- The criteria for zoning and the covenants that are in place in your region.
- The financial benefits, rate of return, and tax breaks that result from putting a wind turbine on your property.
Now that we have reached this point, it is time to examine the challenges that are linked with the installation of the wind system:
- Putting your system in place is often known as determining the ideal location.
- calculating the system's potential yearly energy production and selecting the appropriate height and diameter for the turbine and tower.
- Deciding whether or not to link the system to the public energy grid.
The Installation Process and Ongoing Maintenance
It is strongly recommended that you have a qualified system installer set up your device. A reputable installation could offer additional services, such as permit acquisition. Find out whether or not the installer is a certified electrician, and be sure to verify any references that they provide. Checking with the Better Business Bureau is another option worth considering.
If it is installed and maintained correctly, a modest wind electric system should survive for at least 20 years and maybe much longer.
- Checking and retightening any bolts and electrical connections that need it is something that may be included in annual maintenance.
- Inspecting the machinery for rust and making sure the guy wires have the right amount of strain.
- Conduct a check to identify and, if necessary, repair any leading edge tape worn on the turbine blades.
- Components like the bearings and/or the turbine blades will be replaced when necessary.
Your installation may offer a service and maintenance package, or at the very least may suggest someone else who does.
Positioning a Small Wind Electric System
Your wind system's skilled installation ought to be able to assist you in determining the most suitable place for it. They will discuss with you, among other things, the following general considerations:
- Concerns Regarding the Wind Resource — When choosing the location of the installation, use caution if you reside in an area with a difficult topography. Locating your wind turbine on the summit of a hill or on the windward (unprotected) side of a hill will provide you better access to prevailing winds than would be the case in a gully or on the leeward (protected) side of the same hill. On a single piece of land, you may have access to a variety of wind resources. You need to be aware of the predominant wind directions at your location in addition to measuring or gathering information on the average yearly wind speeds at your site. You need to take into consideration not only the geological formations but also the existing impediments, such as the trees, buildings, and sheds. You must also make preparations for any future obstacles, such as newly constructed structures or trees that have not yet grown to their maximum height. Your turbine must be positioned so that it faces into the wind, away from any trees or buildings, and it also needs to be 30 feet higher than anything within 300 feet.
- Considerations Relating to the System — It is strongly recommended that you only take into consideration tiny wind turbines that have been rigorously examined and validated to ensure they adhere to national performance and safety criteria. Be careful to provide adequate space when you position the tower so that it may be raised and lowered for maintenance. You must provide space for the guy wires if your tower is guyed. Consider the length of the wire run from the turbine to the load (home, batteries, water pumps, etc.), since this will affect the system's efficiency whether it is off the grid or connected. The resistance of the wire may cause the loss of a significant quantity of power; the greater the length of the wire's path, the greater the amount of electricity that is lost. The installation cost will go up regardless of whether you use additional wire or bigger wire. When you use direct current (DC) instead of alternating current, your wire run losses are going to be much higher (AC). Converting direct current to alternating current is a good idea when working with lengthy wire runs. Converting direct current to alternating current is a good idea when working with lengthy wire runs.
Sizing Small Wind Turbines
Depending on the quantity of power you wish to create, household wind turbines that are small and utilized for domestic purposes often vary in size from 400 watts all the way up to 20 kilowatts.
The annual power consumption of a typical American house is roughly 10,649 kilowatt hours (about 877 kilowatt-hours per month). A wind turbine with a power output of between five and fifteen kilowatts would need to be installed depending on the typical wind speed in the region in order to make a substantial contribution to meeting this requirement. In an area where the yearly average wind speed is 14 miles per hour (6.26 meters per second), a wind turbine with a capacity of 1.5 kilowatts is sufficient to provide the electrical demands of a house that consumes 300 kilowatt-hours of power per month.
You will need the assistance of a trained professional installation to assess the size of the wind turbine that you will need. Initially, you should create an energy budget. Because energy efficiency is often more cost effective than the generation of energy, lowering the amount of power your house uses will probably be more cost effective and will minimize the size of the wind turbine you need to employ.
The amount of power that a wind turbine is able to produce is also impacted by the height of the tower that it sits on. You should get the assistance of an experienced installation in determining the required height of the tower.
Estimating Annual Energy Output
The easiest approach to assess whether or not a wind turbine and its tower will create enough power to fulfill your requirements is to make an estimate of the amount of energy that will be produced by the wind turbine on a yearly basis (expressed in kilowatt-hours).
An experienced installation will be able to assist you in making an accurate forecast for the amount of energy that will be produced. The following elements will go into the calculation that the manufacturer will use:
- Specific power curve produced by wind turbines.
- What is the yearly average wind speed at your location?
- The height that you want to utilize for the tower that you intend to employ.
- The frequency distribution of the wind estimates the number of hours that the wind will blow at each speed during a typical year.
The elevation of your location must also be included in this calculation, and the installer should do so.
Small Wind Electric Systems Connected to the Grid
Connecting even quite modest wind energy installations to the power distribution network is possible. These kinds of systems are referred to as grid-connected ones. Your usage of power provided by the utility company for lights, appliances, electric heating and cooling, and car charging may be decreased by installing a wind turbine that is linked to the grid. If the turbine cannot provide the required quantity of electricity, the utility will make up the shortfall. When the wind system generates more power than your home needs, the surplus is credited to your account and used to offset the cost of power purchased from the utility company.
Wind turbines that are linked to a utility grid in the modern day will only work when the grid is available. When set to work in tandem with storage to create a home microgrid and offer backup power, they are also able to function even when there is a disruption in the main power supply.
If all of the following requirements are met, then grid-connected systems may be a viable option:
- You are a resident in a region that has an annual average wind speed of at least 9 miles per hour (4 meters per second).
- Your region has high power prices provided by the utility (about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour).
- There is adequate capacity to incorporate your system into the utility's grid, and the costs associated with the requirements for connecting your system to the utility's grid are not excessively costly.
In order to connect your system to the grid, the utility company might supply you with a list of the criteria to meet. Check out the article on grid-connected household energy systems for additional details.
Wind Energy Utilized in Stand-Alone Grid Systems
Wind energy may be used in off-grid or microgrid systems, which are electric power supply infrastructures that are not linked to a larger electric distribution grid. In these situations, tiny wind electric systems may be utilized in conjunction with other components to produce hybrid power systems. These additional components can include small solar electric systems. Off-grid electricity may be dependably provided via hybrid energy systems to houses, farms, or even whole communities (like a co-housing development, for example) that are located some distance from the closest utility lines.
If any of the following describe your circumstances, considering an off-grid, hybrid electric system may be a viable option for you:
- You are a resident in a region that has an annual average wind speed of at least 9 miles per hour (4.0 meters per second).
- A link to the grid is either unavailable or can only be created via the implementation of a prohibitively costly expansion. It may not be financially feasible to link a distant location to the electric grid by constructing a power line to get there.
- You would want to become less reliant on the utility company for your supply of electricity.
- You are interested in producing greener forms of energy.