Getting Started With a Residential Windmill
It is now a fact that energy has become hugely expensive for many households.
Although this can be associated to the high demand resulting from the rapid population growth around urban
areas, it is really a case of limited resources being used to meet the ever increasing number of electrical gadgets
that bring convenience in a modern world.
The effects of such a trend are beginning to manifest and inevitably, there is an increasing need to search for
alternative energy sources that are not only sustainable but more affordable too.
Solar and wind energy have become the most favorable alternatives to be adopted in a bid to curb the ‘energy
In order to plan and install a system for generating renewable energy, there are things which should be
thoroughly considered. For instance when investing in a wind
electric system, the following factors have to be considered:
• Geographical location – this is for purposes of determine the amount of wind the area
receives. Some areas do not receive enough wind to generate the minimum amounts of wind for running a turbine.
• Average wind speed of the location – the speed of wind has a profound effect on the
output of the turbine. Powerful turbines usually require an area with a relatively high average wind speed to meet
the output capacity.
• How high the turbine can be installed – some areas’ geographical landscape may not
permit for turbines to be installed beyond certain altitudes, which can have an effect on turbine output (the
higher the altitude, the faster the wind)
• Local and state restrictions – state and local rules and regulations regarding
installation of renewable energy hardware may influence the type and capacity of system you can install.
Restrictions on noise and altitude are common. It is important to check with all local regulations before planning
a wind turbine installation.
• Production output – the output capacity of a particular turbine is an important factor
too. The right figures are obtained from the manufacturers and distributors of wind energy components.
• Energy needs for the household – this is a representation of the average monthly energy
consumption of the household. For new homes, this can be estimated by a technician, while for an existing home, you
can use values on the annual utility bill for the past year to get a monthly estimate.
Wind turbines are of two types: vertical and horizontal turbines. Vertical axis wind turbines usually generate more power than horizontal
turbines and therefore, they are more ideal when installing for high energy needs.
The problem with wind energy is storage. Sometimes, wind speeds may be high when consumers are not using much of
the power being generated, whereas in times of high demand, there may be less wind, hence less energy generated
(intermittency). Solutions like the sodium-sulphur batteries have been implemented in some large wind farms to
combat this. In home installations however, intermittency is still a big problem.
In a home installation, net-metering may solve the intermittency problem, where excess power generated is sold
to the grid, and when generation is low, the deficit is covered by grid power. However, only 42 states allow
net-metering and utilities are particularly hostile to this arrangement.
Most importantly, getting started on a renewable energy project is one small leap in the right direction, no
matter the obstacles.