Residential wind turbines collect and convert kinetic energy from the wind into electricity. They are often, but not always connected with the energy grid of the utility company.
Any modern turbine system is connected with the grid. Smaller, older systems or systems in remote locations use a battery for the storage of excess energy.
Turbines control the amount of energy consumed from the utility company in proportion to the amount of energy available from the wind turbine. Any excess energy produced is stored in the grid or sold to the utility company. This is done automatically.
Residential wind turbines can generate enough energy to power an entire home, or just a few appliances.
Factors That Effect Turbine Efficiency
The amount of wind available is directly related to the amount of power that can be produced by a wind turbine system. The average wind speed in your area is another consideration. Wind turbines should be mounted as high as possible and without obstruction to maximize wind efficiency.
You need to check into the availability of net metering in your area. This will mean the difference between grid-connected turbines or battery-charging turbines. As more people are becoming interested in wind turbine assisted power, the availability of interconnected grids is increasing.
The lot size on which your property rests should be 1-acre or more, in order to harness enough wind power to make a difference in your energy bills. There are also permits and approval requirements. As wind turbine power is increasing more and more states are offering cash back incentives to aid in the initial set up costs.
Benefits of Wind Turbines
You will save on the cost of energy bills by installing wind turbine generated power. In addition you will conserve natural resources by cutting your dependence on utility supplied energy. When there is a power outage you will have the benefit of the availability of power through your wind turbine system.
Another great benefit is that wind power turbines create no pollution. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your part to help clean up the planet.
Components of a Turbine System
A wind turbine power system is made of several common components. First, a rotor or set of blades that spin through the force of the wind. These blades in turn convert energy into rotational shaft energy. This rotational shaft energy is stored in a nacelle or an enclosure connected to a drive train and a generator.
There is a tower that is necessary for support of the system components. The taller the tower the better, although taller towers tend to be a bit more unsightly to the eye. They do enable more wind power to be utilized because the higher up the blades are placed the greater the wind speed. There are various electronic controls for operating the drive train and other components. Finally there are electric cables needed for proper function.
Control components can be in separate boxes that each require individual mounting in close proximity to the turbine system. Another option is that all electrical controls can be contained in the turbine tower itself. This makes installation much easier.
All wind turbines make some noise while operating. Care should be used when choosing the best place to install one. You must consider a balance between the most efficient placement for harnessing maximum wind, and where the placement will least interfere with your lifestyle.
For example wind turbine towers can create an eyesore for neighbors as well as yourself. It should be noted that they do not interfere with television reception, or other electronic appliances, contrary to common misperception.
There are two types of rotor speed control. The first and most efficient is generator controlled. With a generator controlled rotor speed a small motor controls the rotor speed. The second is the “furling system”. It is not as efficient but still an option.
Wireless communication with a PC is another option. The owner can chart the turbine’s output and other stats This will give exact information as to what and how much energy is used. Updates can be uploaded through the same wireless system.
Other important considerations are the addition of a good warranty. One that lasts five years is sufficient. The top wind speed that it will cover. It should be at least up to 100 mph. Is it transferable in the event of the sale of your home? Read all warranty options carefully for restrictions and exclusions. A good wind turbine system will cost you anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000.
Photo by judith, Creative Commons Attribution License