There is a lot of information going around these days concerning residential wind turbines.
Contained in this article is information and key facts on the topic.
We will start from very basics and proceed to more detailed information about wind energy, particularly residential use of wind energy.
What is a wind turbine? How does it work?
A wind turbine is a machine that converts the energy in the wind to electrical energy by means of rotating blades and a generator. Of course the working principles of a wind turbine are much more complicated. They include transmission elements, safety units, controllers etc. The blades rotate by the blowing wind and the rotation is transferred to the generator within the turbine. And this generator is the source of electricity. Then from the generator depending on the configuration of the turbine electricity is fed to the grid or directly to the point of use.
What is the difference between a commercial and a residential wind turbine?
Just their capacities! While a commercial wind turbine can have a capacity of up to 5MW residential wind turbines are generally much smaller, i.e. a few hundred kilowatts maximum.
Why do people consider purchasing them? Isn’t buying electricity from the grid cheaper?
Actually, at the beginning yes. When the investment costs of a wind turbine is considered and reflected over years, for the first couple of years buying the electricity from the grid can be cheaper. However, the aim of using residential wind turbines is not only cheaper electricity. First of all they can be used at places where there is no grid connection. For example, farm houses far from grid connection or special small electrical appliances located in places where no grid exists can make use of small wind turbines for their electricity needs. In addition to these, wind turbines generate “clean energy”.
This means that for generating electricity by wind turbines you don’t cause carbon dioxide emission like in many generation processes. Furthermore, in Ireland use of wind turbines for residential needs is also supported by the government and there are grants available for the initial investment. As a final remark, having a wind turbine for part of electricity needs of your house will result in a better Building Energy Rating (BER) report which will eventually increase the market value of your house.
Can wind turbines be used for any house?
No. First of all you have to make sure that there are not much obstacles (other houses, high towers etc.) that block the wind of the turbine. Second, you need to learn how windy your area is. For commercial installations generally measurements are made 6 months-1 year in advance of installation at the exact turbine location but for a small scale turbine you can use the wind statistics published generally by the government offices. Be sure to choose the measurement location closest to your area. For relatively less needs, such as a single appliance, roof-top wind turbines can be also used. Prior to installing a turbine always take the necessary permits that are required in your area.
What if a turbine generates more electricity than required?
Residential wind turbines can be either standalone systems or grid connected systems. If you have enough space to build a larger wind turbine then you can have it grid connected and you can get paid for the electricity you supply to the national grid.
How much can someone save with a residential wind turbine?
Actually, this all depends on your consumption and the capacity of your wind turbine as well as the wind conditions in your site. To give a rough estimation; some studies show that you can decrease your electricity bills up to 80% with a residential wind turbine of appropriate size.
What about maintenance of turbines?
Small wind turbines tend to have a small number of moving parts which make them suitable to use without maintenance for long periods of time. A wind turbine is expected to have an economic life of 20 years.
Thanks the Techstore Team