Before buying a Wind Turbine

How Do I Find Out if My Site is Windy Enough?

    Searching online will reveal several online resources that will provide you with wind speed estimates for your area.

http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/maps_template.asp?stateab=ma

    The actual wind speed at your site will be influenced by the local topography and any nearby obstructions such as trees or other buildings. Wind movement around buildings themselves is very fickle, so take expert advice.

    For urban areas, make sure to establish wind speeds in your area, since there are likely to be other factors affecting wind speed such as the structure and height of buildings.

How Tall are Small Wind Turbines?

    Tower height varies according to wind turbine models, but generally ranges from 50 to 140ft. In general, the higher the tower, the higher the average wind speed that the turbine will experience and the smoother the wind. Both of these factors will have a positive impact on wind energy generation.

What Size Turbine Will I Need?

    An average household uses an estimated 10,656 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year. Note however, that the generation from a wind turbine and the demand in a house are not coincident. For grid-connected systems, if the wind turbine is connected to your side of the utility meter, you will use all the wind power available to meet your demand. When the wind generated power is greater than your demand, the net excess is exported to your local network.

    Manufacturers will usually assess the power requirements and likely wind generation of your particular site to see which of their turbines may suit your needs. You may wish to have independent advice from a colleague, but as yet there is no general agency for this.

How Much Space do I Need for a Turbine?

    Ideally, stand-alone turbines should be sited as far away as possible from buildings or trees, which may block the wind and cause turbulence. As a guide, the wind turbine should be about twice the height of obstructions in the immediate front of it (for at least the prevailing wind direction). In general, the turbine should be above the height of nearby obstructions that are within a distance of 30 to 60ft of the tower heights.