electricity generation » wind power » home wind power - Summary of using wind power in domestic settings.

Wind Power: At Home

Wind power is quickly becoming a viable option for home-owners hoping to make a difference to their electricity bills and the environment. Although traditionally wind generators and turbines have needed to have large tracts of land to be effective, there are now smaller scale turbines and wind mills that can be used to power specific appliances or be fed back into the property's power supply. These small generators can be fixed onto a building or roof and can even be portable (such as those used for caravanning, camping and boating). If you have the space you can step up the generator size and perhaps even produce enough electricity to sell back into the grid. The key is the amount of space you have for the generator - the bigger the area the larger the generator you can feasibly install.

Choosing Turbine Size

If you are hoping to install a wind turbine permanently for powering your home or for supplying electricity to a remote appliance or structure you will first need to decide the amount of power you need to generate and the size of the turbine you can feasibly install.

Small wind turbines can now easily be installed on the roof of a house, providing the roof is strong enough to hold the turbine's weight and will not suffer from vibrations in high wind. These turbines can provide up to 25% of a regular household's power requirements, although this does of course depend on the position of the turbine and the weather patterns of the surrounding area.

Larger turbines, ranging to heights of seven metres, are also able to be installed in a back-yard or back garden, though you will have to consider your neighbours and your local wildlife, and consult with your local planning office. If you are concerned about high wind, many turbines come with a dynamic breaking system which dumps excess energy before it can harm the turbine, providing a much-needed safety valve.

If you have a larger property, are living in a rural area, or are intending to share the wind turbine's electricity amongst several dwellings, you should investigate the possibility of installing a larger wind generator. Wind turbines that produce 15kW or higher should be suitable for the above scenarios, though you may need to install more than one if you are intending to supply more than one property.

Consultation

To find out just how many turbines you will need (and how large you will need them to be), take a look at your electricity bill - it should list the amount of kilowatts you've consumed in your last billing period. If in doubt it is always advisable to consult with a wind turbine provider as these companies are specialists in the field.

It is also important to note that you will need to work with your local planning authority if you are intending to install a large turbine - if you are based in an urban area your turbine could be considered a noise or visual pollutant; if in a rural area it may be assessed for potential environmental damage (turbines are thought to be harmful to small fauna such as birds and insects).