Home sized wind turbines are well suited as a complementary power generation source to an existing residential off-grid energy system. For many locations offsets weather or conditions when there is little sun.
Primus Windpower is known for their smaller AIR series wind generators, which are used for small cabins and boat use and produce about 35kWh per month in 12mph average winds. Pika Energy has recently innovated their larger, Pika home wind turbines which produces about 200kWh per month at the same average wind speed. Both are manufactured here in the USA.Read more +
While there are several factors that influence this, some basic guidelines to consider are: space, wind speed and the amount of energy (kwh per month) that you are trying to produce. Ideally, you want to have at least half an acre for the turbine. Remember that raising and lowering 60 foot Wind Turbine Towers requires some serious space! Next, you'll want to be sure that the average wind speed in your area is at least 10 mph. Anything less and you won't be producing much (if any) power. Most wind turbines start producing power in winds of 7 mph or greater. Not sure of the wind speed where you are? Bear in mind that the wind speed at your location can be drastically different than what is shown in the general map. You may want to invest in Wind Data Instruments & Control Boxes. An anemomter is a device that measures wind speed right at your location.
Locating your wind turbine: The height of your wind turbine will dramatically affect performance. Your wind turbine should be at least 30 feet higher than any obstruction within 300 feet. That means 30 feet above any buildings; any tree tops; anything that will affect the turbulence of the air as it hits the turbine. If you are going to invest in installing a wind turbine, you'll want to do it the right way. Since wind speed is directly related to tower height: the higher the tower, the more energy you will produce. Absolutely check with local building and zoning codes to see if they have any height or other zoning restrictions in your area. Do this before purchasing! Check this article out: Small Wind Electric Systems: A U.S. Consumer's Guide to learn if a small wind turbine is right for you.
What size turbine do I need? Theoretically, wind turbines could produce their peak power rating momentarily during a wind gust, but it is unlikely that the winds will be sustained at that speed. However, it's best to base your estimations on the average energy production of the turbine given average wind speeds for your location. Review the graph that each manufacturer offers on each of our product specification/detail pages, which shows the average monthly energy output (kwh) as a function of average wind speed. This will offer a more accurate picture of what you can expect the wind turbine to produce in a month; and from there you can compare that production to the monthly usage (in kwh) on your electrical bill.
For example the Primus Wind Power AIR 30 12 Volt DC Wind Turbine should produce about 20-25 kwh per month with average wind speeds of 10-12 mph. The Pika Energy T701 Wind Turbine with B801 Charge Controller is reported to produce about 200kwh per month at similar average wind speeds.
What other components do I need? The Wind Turbines (Electric) are generally sold by themselves. Wind Turbine Towers are sold separately and are specific for the turbine. This tower could be anywhere from 30 feet up to 100 feet tall. (Remember, the higher the tower, the more energy your generator will produce.) While typically you can buy the pole for the tower (in sections) locally, you will want to purchase the manufacturer's tower "kit" which includes the couplings, Maximum Ampacity (Current Capacity) for Wire and Cable and hardware. In addition to the turbine and the tower, you will also need an inverter and batteries batteries as well as appropriate overcurrent protection and disconnects. These additional components would be comparable to the main components in a solar electric system. Most turbines do require batteries, even if you plan to tie into the utility grid.