Consumers come to the renewable energy market for many reasons. Some seek to lower their power bills, while others are looking for freedom from dependency on the power grid. The common thread is that people want to generate power in ways that they did not before. Over the past several years the popularity of small wind power has decreased drastically. The most pronounced reason is that solar power has seen reductions in cost of more than 400 percent. While solar energy has become much more affordable a fallacy exists that wind and solar are always competing technologies.
In fact wind, solar and in many cases small scale hydro power can be implemented in comprehensive manner to meet overlapping gaps. Solar power does not work at night, wind power does not work without wind and small hydro systems do not work during drought conditions. Some of the most successful residential renewable energy strategies utilize a approach implementing overlapping systems. Residential wind turbine kits for example are much more useful in many cases during the winter time. The sun is lower in the sky and there are fewer hours of solar power production. In many geographical areas the wind is much stronger in the winter time and does much more of the work during the winter season.
Another reason for the decline in residential power interest over the past several years is the vast over inflation of reported power production in the “under market” of wind power on outlets such as e bay. Wind systems are often overrated by factor or 10.
If you decide to buy a wind turbine from an outlet other than a product certified by the small wind energy organization you should locate a vendor willing to open things up explain the components and how they will work and get some firm expectations on what to expect prior to buying
While a certified turbine may cost as much a 5-10 thousand dollars for a 1 kw unit you may be eligible for a 30 percent tax credit. Regardless of what you decide to do small wind power can still be an invaluable resource in certain locations. Always be sure that your local regulations do not make tower height restrictions which will not allow the turbine to function properly giving it access to sufficient wind. While expert vary on how high a small wind turbine should be obviously the higher the better. With taller towers come increasing costs, more environmental impact, more annoyed neighbours and increased cost for material. Regardless it is not always necessary to place a wind turbine at heights 65′ feet or higher if you have a quality machine.
When purchasing a small wind turbine you should consider whether it is for supplemental power for you home? Is it on or off the grid? Finally how much power can one reasonably expect for the product to generate? The blade length of a wind turbine is one of the most important factors in determining how much power it has the potential to product. A good starting point is to simple do an internet search for the term wind turbine blade calculator and plug in the values on a power curve on a machine you are considering buying. See if the reported power of the company you are considering is possible within the realm of math and science.
In summary small wind power while on the decline is still a very applicable technology both rural and urban off grid and off. Small wind should not be viewed as a competing technology to other renewable energy sources but another piece in the puzzle. Purchasing a product can be difficult due to deceptive advertising and a lack of understanding of application. Wind generators much like other products are tools and if used for the right job can be an indispensable asset.