Types of home wind turbines, how to select the size, maintenance etc

After long lengthy discussions, we have studied such a lot about wind energy and wind farms. Now let us think about the wind turbines that are seen in the wind farms. So wind energy is a clean and renewable source of power! Something as simple as wind turbine fixed on your roof top could cut your electricity expenses considerably!  There is a lot of wind constantly blowing around your place! This article be a guide for home wind turbines which gives us a clear picture as to how to select the size of turbines for home, parts of home wind turbines, its maintenance, types of home wind systems, its speed etc.

Who wouldn’t want an eco-friendly solution to their rising energy bills? Can we use wind energy to power our homes? The answer is ‘yes’! Small wind electric systems can make a significant contribution to our energy needs but it needs to be planned carefully. It is suitable for remote off Grid locations where conventional methods of supply are expensive or impractical. Depending on the wind resource a Home Wind Turbine can lower the electricity bill by 50-90%, prevent power interruptions and is non-polluting.

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Things to keep in mind while planning a HWT (Home Wind Turbine)

How to make your home more energy efficient

Making your home energy efficient will reduce the size of the wind turbine you need and is more cost effective.

How to select the size of the wind turbine

Depending on the purpose and amount of energy required the size of the HWT can vary.

One needs to set out an energy budget. A typical home uses 10000 kW-hours of electricity a year. Depending on the average wind speed in the area a wind turbine rated in the range of 5-15 kW would be required for this need.

Electricity generated will be used to power the inverter connected to the grid and so turbine must be able to produce additional energy to supply the home needs as well.

All manufacturers test their turbines in wind tunnels with regulated wind speeds blowing continuously. Therefore it is important to remember that the information provided by the manufacturer may not be entirely reliable in natural conditions where wind is intermittent and wind speeds vary during the day and year.

Basic Parts of a Wind Turbine

The rotor, generator, tower, wiring, and Balance of system components such as controllers, inverters and batteries make up the complete wind turbine.

What is the maintenance required?

How to asses wind speeds at site?

What increases or decrease the efficiency of the Home wind turbine

Types of small wind systems

Grid-connected systems

Here your HWT is connected to the electricity distribution system or grid. The excess power generated by your system is transferred or sold to the grid. The output has to be AC current. Hence power conditioner unit is required. Batteries may not be needed.

If the turbine cannot fully supply your requirement the utility makes up the difference. There are good incentives for the sale of excess electricity or for the purchase of wind turbines.

This is suitable if you live in an area where utility supplied electricity is expensive. Also consider if connecting your system to the grid is not expensive.

Net metering programs- If your generator is producing more energy than you need, your electric meter will be allowed to turn backwards. Your power generation can offset your consumption over the entire billing period and receive retail prices for more of the electricity you generate. Net metering varies by state and by utility company.

Safety – The installation and operation of your wind turbine is subject to the electric codes of the local government. These emphasize proper wiring and use of components certified by the fire and electrical safety by approved testing laboratories.

The wind sourced power delivered to the grid must match it in terms of voltage, frequency and power quality.

If you have a grid connected wind turbine, it should automatically stop delivering electricity to the power line during a power outage. Otherwise it could result in deaths of line workers who might start work on a live line thinking it is ‘dead’.

Stand alone or Off-grid systems

These wind systems are not connected to the utility grid and hence excess power is stored in batteries. These are suitable for remote places where it is very expensive to be connected to the nearest utility. These systems should be able to produce all the electricity required for the house and or farm.

Hybrid systems

A hybrid system combines wind and solar energy technology. This provides reliable off grid power for homes, farms and sometimes entire communities. This is especially useful in the US where wind speeds are low in the summer when the sun is hot for a longer period. The wind is stronger in the winter when less sunlight is available. When neither is available the batteries provide the power. A generator using diesel can also be incorporated for additional power. The storage capacity of the hybrid system must also be sufficiently large.

Conclusion

Before buying , it is good to review different systems and find which one is best suited for your needs. Make sure that spare parts and service will be available when needed. Also enquire with other system owners about performance, reliability, maintenance and repair requirements and fulfilled expectations. It is better to get the wind turbine installed by a professional installer who is also a licensed electrician than trying to do it alone.

Before buying it is advised to become aware of all zoning restrictions and allowances, local government electrical codes, insurance requirements, Utility interconnection requirements and formal agreements, indemnification agreements, customer charges and various other systems set in place by the federal and state governments. More information can be obtained from The American Wind Energy Association (www.awea.org.)

As long as one is fully informed, wants to gain energy independence and generate clean power, wind energy can power your home!

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