Generate free, renewable electricity throughout the year
SMALL SCALE WIND TURBINES
Domestic wind turbines generally range from between 1kW to 6kW and will be either building mounted or free-standing depending on their size. There are two main designs of turbine, vertical axis and horizontal axis.
HORIZONTAL AXIS TURBINES
These are the more common design. They have turbine blades that look like an aeroplane propeller. The towers that support this design need to have strong foundations in order to prevent the turbine from blowing over and on domestic systems they will often have guy wires to provide additional support.
VERTICAL AXIS TURBINES
This type of turbine has the main rotor shaft running down vertically which allows them to have the gearbox located at the base of the turbine. The turbine does not have to directly face the wind in order to rotate and is considered by manufacturers to be more suited to areas where the wind is turbulent.
The Average wind speed is a key factor to consider for any wind turbine installation and the recommended annual average wind speed for a location is 6 metres per second (13 mph). There are a number of factors that can affect wind speed such as nearby buildings, trees and the height of the turbine from the ground. An ideal location will have no significant obstructions such as tall buildings that are likely to either reduce wind speed or create a turbulent airflow.
Turbines sited in urban areas are unlikely to perform well and locations such as the bottom of rural valleys are also probably unsuitable. However, before making any significant investment in a wind turbine it is recommended that you invest in an anemometer to measure the average wind speed at your proposed location. To get the most accurate picture, you should run the anemometer for a minimum of three months, and ideally over the course of a year.
ADVANTAGES OF WIND POWER
Electricity generated by the wind does not emit CO2 or leave any waste. Wind is also an infinite resource that cannot be exhausted.
A small home wind turbine – when installed in the right location – can cut your reliance on traditional fossil fuel resources.
Once the wind turbine is up and running there are few running costs
DISADVANTAGES OF WIND POWER
The initial cost of installing a wind turbine costs is high
A suitable site should have a minimum average wind speed of 6 m/s – the vast majority of UK households have an average wind speed of less than this.
Most installations require planning permission – contact your council before you start work
The amount of electricity generated is dependent on the speed and direction of the wind.
Many people dislike the appearance of wind turbines
The cost of installing a wind turbine does vary depending on factors such as the size and type of system.
A well made and well maintained wind turbine will last between 20 to 25 years, but regular maintenance checks should be carried out to ensure that the system is running efficiently. The turbine inverter (which converts the DC current produced by the turbine into AC current that most household appliances use) will probably need replacing at some stage.
An off-grid wind turbine system will require battery storage. A number of manufacturers offer batteries for renewable energy systems, including LG, Sonnen and Tesla.
Wind turbines will not only provide you with free electricity, but you can also generate a small income by exporting electricity to the national grid, via the Smart Export Guarantee.