Wind Power for Home?

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Mr. Fri's picture
Mr. Fri
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Wind Power for Home?

Does anyone know if windmills have progressed to the point where they're competitive with solar panels?  Perhaps a couple of made-for-home-use windmill kits would be as cost efficient as putting up solar panels.

 

Dutch John's picture
Dutch John
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Why not?

It is not the windturbine itself that has to compete with solar panels, you have to live in an area with much and steady wind. The depending factors for windpower are: location, height and turbine diameter. Windpower surely can be of use and a great addition to solar power. Unfortunately they do come with some maintanance.

Here some sites for DIY and general information: 

http://www.scoraigwind.com/  

http://www.otherpower.com/

Regards, DJ

 

JAG's picture
JAG
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Average Wind Speed is Everything

Hey Larry,

I recently did some research on this for my own situation. Down here on the Gulf Coast the average wind speed is 6.5-10/mph, depending on what source you are looking at. Unfortunately, the cut-in speed for most small wind turbines is aprox 8/mph, which means most of the time they won't be producing any power for me. 

Since the power output of a wind turbine is exponentially related to wind speed, regions with low average wind speed (<10 mph) have poor power production potential.

Maybe a large turbine might be viable, but a residential-sized turbine doesn't look promising, at least for me anyways. 

I did see this turbine from Honeywell, that you can buy at ACE hardware or Northern Tool, that has a much lower cut-in speed. Interesting design, but if you don't have the wind speed, you might be better off with a PV array.

Best....Jeff

 

 

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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too pricey

Um, Jeff?

I looked at the Honeywell wind turbine you linked to. While I love Norhtern Tool...isn't "Only $6,399.99" an oxymoron?

Safewrite

Mr. Fri's picture
Mr. Fri
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Local wind speeds?

Jeff,

Thanks for the information.  I wonder why more people don't use them and maybe the cut in speed is the reason.  I saw some "personal" windmills at a rest stop along the interstate in our town so I figure it might be worth looking into.  Do you have any suggestions of web sites to find average wind speeds in a city?

Larry

JAG's picture
JAG
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safewrite wrote: Um, Jeff? I
safewrite wrote:

Um, Jeff?

I looked at the Honeywell wind turbine you linked to. While I love Norhtern Tool...isn't "Only $6,399.99" an oxymoron?

Safewrite

LOL, it sure is.

jturbo68's picture
jturbo68
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Solar w/ wind backup

One interesting concept is to use solar in the summer and wind in the winter. 

Here in KY solar works well iin the summer, but wind would work way better in the winter. 

In the summer, wind would be a very poor choice.

 

There are many days in the winter where my solar only generates a couple of KWH.

Having both is pricey, tho.

JAG's picture
JAG
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Wind Speed Data & AirDolphin Mark Zero Turbine
Mr. Fri wrote:

Jeff,

Do you have any suggestions of web sites to find average wind speeds in a city?

Larry

Larry,

There is NOAA site: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/online/ccd/avgwind.html

You can also get a chart of the average wind speed for your town/city (and every other data metric you can think of) at: http://www.city-data.com/ (scroll way down to get the climate data).

Also, I did find a small wind turbine out of Japan that has a rather ingenious design for dealing with low wind speeds. It has a power assist mode that spins the blades for 10 secs per minute to allow the turbine to harvest energy during periods of lower wind speeds. The effect is to allow the unit to reach the cut-in speed (which is only 5.6 mph) much more quickly and efficiently. (Perhaps this is a bastardization of Newton's First Law of Motion, but the overall performance seems to be net power positive)

Obviously, if there is no wind at all, then this power assist mode is using power and not generating power, but it looks like some people use a small PV array to offset this power use. Of course if it is a grid-tie system you could just use utility power. 

It's called the AirDolphin Mark Zero and it looks like the new technology in small turbines that you were inquiring about. Here is some more info, including pricing > http://www.gogreensolar.com/products/american-zephyr-airdolphin-mark-zero-24vdc-wind-turbine-z-1000-24 (Safewrite, don't look at the price, lol)

A couple of these lightweight and quiet turbines might be just what I was looking for to supplement a PV array that I'm planning for my home.

Ready's picture
Ready
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height

I think the key to maximizing wind performance is height.

If you are in a subdivision, it's tough to get 100' up. In the country, $500 worth of 4" well pipe, a gin pole, and a heavy tractor will put the turbine up there where virtually any location is a good location.

IMHO, you need to spend twice the cost of the turbine on the mount. There is no such thing as too high.

The problem is with all the guy wires and high visibility, this does not fit your average residential setting.

 

Be prepared for some dead birds and such too. Your birdwatching neighbors might take issue with your stuff! And some can be quite noisy depending on design. Also, because it is so peaky, you will need a battery bank or net metering to be most useful.

JAG's picture
JAG
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I just ran some calculations

I just ran some calculations for the projected power output for the AirDolphin in my neck of the woods. Theoretically it would generate about 1100 kW/h per Year for me.

That is about 8 percent of the power that my home uses in a year (freaking A/C!), so it is not a viable option for me. 

I think I will stick with PV, unless of course I can come up with a duckweed-powered genset

Best....Jeff

Doug's picture
Doug
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new design

Here's a turbine design that has been recently put on the market.  Supposed to be quiet, but I'm not sure about efficiency.

http://aristapower.com/wind/our-systems/

BTW, does anyone have info on the best/cheapest/most efficient batteries for solar storage?

Doug

Dutch John's picture
Dutch John
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Birds, noise and turbulence
Ready wrote:

Be prepared for some dead birds and such too.  And some can be quite noisy depending on design.

 

Ready,

Never found any dead birds near the turbine. Which I cannot say of our greenhouse.

I cannot speak of big-buck plug and play turbines, but the $800 DIY Piggott/Otherpower designs are als loud as a ceiling fan on low winds with an alternator hum at cut-in speed. On high winds, the wind itself is noisier.

Mr. Fri,

In a city, turbulence is a problem. You would have to go very high, which is often not allowed.

Doug,

Flooded lead/acid batteries are still favorite.They can take some overcharge, although you still need to nurse them for the longest lifespan. Use a good diversion charge controller.

Regards, DJ

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GiraffeOK
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Solar batteries

Doug - I'm going with HUP Solar One batteries for solar backup. I just ordered them yesterday so I don't have any experience with them yet. They are quite expensive up front, but have a 10-year warranty and are designed for a 10 - 20 year life. Long life is my overriding concern wrt batteries for 2 reasons: I don't know whether I'll be able to replace them in the future due to unknowable cost or availability, and the tax credit only applies to the original purchase, not a replacement so I might as well spring for the best from the beginning. Don at www.voodoosolar.com is extremely helpful and knowledgeable about batteries.

Ready's picture
Ready
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Posts: 917
killer turbines!

DJ,

 

Don't get me wrong. I am pro turbine and have one that supplements my pv. The bird and noise thing is quite real however, a quick google will reveal what I am talking about. Owls and Eagles always get top billing in the news stories, but there is quite a bit of evidence that all birds have tangled with turbines at one point or another. What is unclear is if turbines kill more birds than the alternative of installing, powering, and maintaining a grid.

Even if it never happens to some folks, birds and noise (right after eye-sore) are the biggest reasons neighbors protest and it is good to go into these things understanding all the angles and possibile pitfalls, don't you think? Talking to the neighbors before putting one up could save some trouble later, no?

ninian_p's picture
ninian_p
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Posts: 2
Hi For my farm I have 10

Hi

For my farm I have 10 solar panel and 5 wind turbine (small one). Where is my farm they are very useful, because some days is sun and some days is wind. And use both type in same time will help me to have power all time.

 

I think best solution is to have both, and maybe if you have a river to use a water turbine.

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