Wind Generators (Home Energy Part 16)

Wind isn’t for everyone. In fact, if you live in a city or town, chances are wind energy is not an option for you. Although the wind certainly blows in the cities and suburbs, the wind flows are very turbulent. The wind does not blow smoothly given the many obstructions in cities and towns. Turbulence is very hard on the wind turbines, especially smaller models suitable for home use. Space can also be an issue, as well as city ordinances, not to mention difficult neighbors. [3]

                Wind power is primarily useful in rural areas of at least one acre, where ordinances are not prohibitive. This does limit sites in the US to about 10% of homeowners. This number of course is actually smaller given that not all of these sites will have sufficient wind to make it a viable option. For a map of the wind resources available in your area, the following links are good options. [3]

                Most home wind machines are horizontal-axis consisting of three blades making up the rotor, a generator, a shaft, a tower, and a tail. The rotors capture kinetic energy from the wind and convert it into rotating mechanical energy, notably a spinning shaft. The spinning shaft is attached to the generator, where it converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. [3]

                Wind power has the same options as solar as far as off grid, grid tied, or grid tied with a battery backup. Many off grid power generators will use a solar system in conjunction with a wind turbine. This is an efficient set-up as wind tends to blow more in the winter and at night when the sun is not shining.

Wind Turbine



3. Chiras, Dan., “The Homeowners Guide to Renewable Energy,” March 2006.

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