The Solar Power Expert Blog

Wind Turbines For The Home

by Chris - February 1st, 2011.
Filed under: Solar Education. Tagged as: , , , , .

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Home windmills are generally only called a windmill if they are used to pump water or do something other than generate electricity. For these purposes, they are referred to as wind power generators or wind turbines. This article hopes to give you a few wind turbine facts to think about.

Wind turbines, in fact, convert wind energy into mechanical energy. It is the wind power generators job to turn the mechanical energy into electrical energy. They are referred to here as wind power generators because the generator is often chosen or designed (spec’d) after the wind turbine blades and structure have been designed first. Industrial wind turbines have traditionally been viewed as the mating of these two important and separate machines. However, wind turbines for the home tend to come as an integrated unit where these two subcomponents are integrated and not thought of separately.

There are largely two types of wind turbines for the home, vertical axis turbines (VATs) and horizontal axis turbines. Horizonal axis are the type that look like an airplane propeller and they are the most efficient. The names come from the orientation of the rotor shaft. Vertical axis turbines are not as efficient, but are easier to build and so are much more popular with the DIY crowd.

The most common DIY wind turbine for the home is the Savonius wind turbine. There are several YouTube videos and guides on the internet for making DIY wind power generators. Like this one:

Despite the appeal to the DIY crowd, vertical axis turbines are actually not very efficient. It’s surprising difficult to build a high-efficiency wind turbine. But it is a well known wind turbine fact that higher efficiency equals a faster payback for an investment in wind power generators and home windmills equally. This real, monetary incentive has spurred innovation in manufacturing and is the reason why the horizontal axis wind turbine has won over the vertical axis turbine in the marketplace as the favored wind turbines for the home.

Thanks to innovative engineers and new composite materials, prices on reliable wind turbines have in fact come down very rapidly over the last few years and are continuing to get less and less expensive. Someday soon, we will hopefully see the installation of wind power generators as a standard building practice.

1 Response to Wind Turbines For The Home

  1. Wow! Great Post! This really helped point me in the right direction. I really appreciate you taking the time to explain this stuff.

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