How to choose a Wind Turbine
Wind is an enormously potent source of clean energy -- for example, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the wind resources in the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains regions could potentially meet up to 25 percent of the power needs of those states. Better yet, wind turbines aren't just for farmers -- a home wind energy system can be relatively unobtrusive. If you garden or farm, you can plant right up to the turbine's base. Selecting the right turbine for you will ensure that you have a long-lasting supply of sustainable and low-cost power.
It is important when choosing a wind turbine to make sure that an accurate and certified power curve chart is available that will tell you the power output of the turbine at various wind speeds. A lot of the turbines on the market today are created by back yard businesses that do not have the certifications to back up their claims of power output. the Whisper wind turbines formerly manufactured by Southwest Windpower and now produced by Luminous RE are one of the exceptions.
The Solar Store has had a Whisper 200 wind turbine installed for 7 years and know how well these turbines work both in terms of their reliability and performance.
Check your local zoning codes to ensure you're allowed to install a wind turbine on your property. Be sure to get a full rundown on height restrictions. If your home is part of a subdivision, make sure you check with your homeowners association to avoid complaints from your neighbors.
Conduct an energy audit of your house to determine how much energy you need to produce, as well as where your home may be wasting energy. Add up the watts you use for all your energy needs on a monthly basis. Also, look for air leaks in walls, doors and windows, and consider whether you're over-consuming energy by using brighter light bulbs, an old heating system or a higher thermostat setting than necessary, for instance.
Consider how you might reduce your energy consumption by fixing air leaks and addressing other problems so you won't need to produce as much energy. Reducing your consumption may allow you to install a less expensive and smaller wind energy system. Decide what percentage of your energy needs you'd like the tower to supply.
Decide where you'll install your turbine and how it will be mounted. Avoid placing the turbine on your rooftop, as the vibrations from the turbines may cause noise as well as structural problems for both the building and the turbine. Determine the typical direction of wind at your location, and locate a spot upwind from buildings and trees to ensure maximum wind flow. Your turbine will also need to be at least 30 feet above any wind barriers sitting within 300 feet, according to the U. S. Department of Energy. These location specifics will help to determine the size of your turbine.
Contact a nearby airport, weather station or university to learn the average wind speed in your area, then consider whether wind may slow or speed up in your specific location. Keep in mind that wind speed increases with the height of the tower as well. Then follow the U. S. Department of Energy's formula to determine the performance of a wind turbine: AEO = 0.01328 x D^2 x V^3, where AEO is annual energy output in kilowatts per year, D is the rotor's diameter in feet, and V is average wind speed in miles per hour. Complete this equation for several rotor sizes to determine which may work best or if the wind turbine has a certified power curve then this can be used.
Shop smart. The Solar Store will happily calculate how each model would perform in your specific location, as this is a service that reputable dealers provide. As you look at models, also confirm the warranty and testimonials. Ensure that the models you consider are made for producing on-the-grid or off-the-grid energy, whichever you prefer. Also, make sure they come with all necessary component parts, so they'll be ready to install and use.