Wind power to produce electricity is growing rapidly worldwide, and the most current report states wind power grew by 42 % in the United States in 2012. Other countries including Australia, China, Denmark, Spain, Japan and Germany are making huge strides in the use of wind power. Though many of us are familiar with the wind farm landscape for commercial production of electricity, there remains controversy regarding the use of wind turbines for residential use. Nonetheless, many brands of wind turbines, as well as do it yourself plans to build a wind turbine, are readily available on the market today.
Residential wind turbines are not cheap. A large one can cost thousands of dollars so it is crucial to assess the location and amount of wind that can be generated for your electric needs before making an investment. Some wind energy facts state that small residential wind turbines will only be cost effective if there is sufficient, consistent wind. Of the types available, rooftop wind turbines are considered the least effective while tall wind turbines are the most efficient. Before considering an investment, check with your county regarding any regulations for the use of wind turbines. There may be height, and noise, restrictions which will help you choose the right turbine.
Currently on the market, home wind turbines simulate traditional windmills. There are really only two types of wind turbines, one called a vertical axis and the other horizontal axis. Most all smaller wind systems for home use are going to be the horizontal axis type. This turbine will have 2-3 blades rotating around a hub at the top of the tower. The taller the tower, the more power the wind turbine can produce. The Department of Energy gives a statistic that raising a 60 foot tower to 100 feet can result in a 25% increase in power.
There are also two kinds of towers available for home wind turbines, one is free standing and the other is guyed. While the guyed towers are less expensive and easier to install, they require a large radius for installation. There will also be a difference in system components depending upon your situation and desired application. Like solar systems, a home wind system can be connected to the utility grid or not.
The advantages of wind power deserve careful consideration for home use. If a small residential wind turbine can lower your utility bill by 50% -90%, provide you with free energy in a remote location or help maintain power during electrical outages, then it is worthy of consideration for home use.