Wind Energy Systems : A Buyers Guide
Okay, so while alternative energy buffs tout the need for new ways to power our lives, most normal people are thinking, how in the heck do I power my home with wind? Well, this guide is here to help you. You're not just putting up a wind turbine in your backyard and that's it. Converting to wind power requires a whole
wind energy system to be set up, and we're here to talk you through it.
A Question of Need
First off, you need to determine how much energy your family needs and how much wind you have available to you in your area. To determine how much energy you use in a year you can contact your local utility company and they'll let you know how much energy you use (measured in Kilowatt-hours.) If you're building a new home, and want it to be
wind-powered, take the stats from your current home and apply them to your new home if they are of similar size and you'll have similar efficiency-rated appliances. However there are likely going to be differences, and your estimate will be only just that.
Once you've discovered how much energy you'll need per year/per month (divide
your yearly usage by 12) then you can relay that information to prospective wind
system suppliers and they will help you find the best system to meet your energy
Up the Ante on Home Efficiency
The less energy you use, the larger percentage of your power consumption wind can provide. So in order to increase your home's
energy efficiency buy appliances that are more efficient any time you need to upgrade and take all the steps necessary to lessen your energy usage. It doesn't take much, for more helpful tips on energy reduction, check out our "At Home Tips Section" here.
"You can reduce your energy use by up to 50% if you try thereby downgrading your wind power expense, because you won't need as big a turbine system. All it takes is a little effort."
Wind Potential in Your Area
Next you'll need to know how much wind energy potential there is in your area. Now, most companies that are planning on doing
large scale wind farms will do a full wind potential analysis, but that's far too much to spend if you're only planning on having a home system and don't happen to be a millionaire. You do need to know how much your turbine will supply before you buy though, otherwise you might buy a system too powerful for the amount of wind in your area.
If you happen to live in Canada, this website http://www.windatlas.ca/en/ will show you where the wind is the strongest and what wind energy potential is like in your area. In the US, you can check out Wind Powering America's online resource
If you don't happen to be lucky enough to live in Canada or the States, then a quick check with your
local weather station should give you an idea of the average windspeed in your region. You will also need to know that there is wind at the height of your turbine, as that is where the wind power will be collected.
Placement is Key
When deciding where to put your wind turbine, you will want to think of the size of tower you will need (manufacturers should provide this information relative to your average monthly/yearly power usage). You will also need to consider the swept area (or area covered by the rotating turbine blades) and ensure that they are a safe distance from your home and any other obstacles. You will also want to know the top-weight of your wind turbine's tower. The heavier the tower, generally speaking, the longer the turbine is likely to last because they tend to be more rugged.
Picking a System
When picking out your wind turbine system you'll be looking for a few things. Size is the main thing, which will depend on your power needs addressed above. You'll likely only need a smaller turbine, seeing as you likely only intend to power your home. There are only a few models to choose from in each size category, so picking a company with
comprehensive on-site service and a long warranty is a good bet. You'll also need to look at whether you'd like to run a system with or without a battery for back-up power storage (this will probably depend a lot on how much power you'll have available on any given day - but in most places having an energy storage system is expensive, but worthwhile if you intend to keep off the grid).
The system is not only the wind turbine, but also includes a tower, charge controllers, batteries in some cases, inverters and metering. Some of these may be included with your wind turbine as a package, but they are all important and should be investigated to see which type of each fits your set-up best. You will also have to consider grounding your system, wiring, and overcurrent protection.
Unless you happen to be an electrical engineer, it's best to leave wind turbine installation to a pro, one that will likely be sent along by the company you order from if you request it - which you definitely should.
So that's it for our buyers guide for wind power. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading, and happy shopping!