My Natures Treasures

Wind Energy: Affordable Solutions for Homeowners

From sailing the seven seas to gathering water for the mill, wind has always been an important energy source. It has helped with food production, water irrigation, trade and commerce and morphed into aiding mankind in producing electricity for their residences and workplaces.

Wind turbines first showed up in the 19th century, and in the 20th century America's first wind farm was built in Vermont and powered many areas during World War II. With the advancement of technology, it is possible for wind energy to be an affordable solution for homeowners to power their own homes.

You can both save money and reduce your carbon footprint by using wind energy. It is cost effective to put together for your home, and a humongous wind turbine like you see on a wind farm is not necessary for residential use.

You can purchase and install goods for a grid-connected or stand-alone system for your home. When you are still connected to the grid, wind energy can produce extra power, saving your need to use the utility company's electricity with the company picking up any slack in your total production. When you go off-grid, you actually have the ability to sell money back to the power company.

Stand-alone systems are great for those households that are far away from the grid system, saving you money for energy transfers to your area. The average air speed for either system should be around 10 mph. You will need to have a measure of the wind speed in your area and one place you can obtain that if from the National Climatic Data Center.

The types of equipment you sill need to provide your home with affordable wind energy include a wind turbine, a tower, wiring, controllers, and inverters or batteries. The rotor and generator will be mounted on the tail of the frame of the turbine.

A general rule of thumb when figuring on what type of wattage you will be needing to produce is: 1.5 kW turbines fit the requirements of a 300 kWh monthly usage wherein the average wind speed is 14 mph. Off-grid systems would need to be three times as powerful. When the wind blows high the turbine usually has an automatic speed governing system to keep it in check so it doesn't spin too hard or too fast.

When you purchase your system there is a self-supporting, free standing tower and the more popular guyed lattice tower. The latter is cheaper and is supported by cables and earth anchors. Stand alones take batteries to store the extra power generated so that you can still have electricity when the winds are calm.

An inverter will be needed to convert this energy from the battery into AC (household) current. You even have the opportunity to purchase a stand-alone system that is piggy-backed with a solar cell. Local governmental agencies actually offer incentives such as rebates and discounts when you install and use these systems.

Many manufacturers produce wind turbines for the home. Keep an eye out for three and five blade turbines, the kwH produced - make sure you have enough for what you need to power, materials such as plastic or nylon synthetic materials. Some are more aerodynamic than others and the way in which your turbine is mounted to the tower.

Each manufacturer will have listed the specs for their equipment, so don't be intimidated into thinking you need a physics degree to understand wind energy. It is affordable for homeowners now, so there's no need to wait. Help save the planet and save your wallet with affordable wind energy for the home. You'll be amazed at what you can do!


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