How do I determine if my home is suitable for wind power?

Home Energy December 01, 2011|Print

Home wind power systems are most effective in generating electricity for homes in areas of the U.S. where the wind and breezes on the property are generally constant, and the wind speed (velocity) is typically between 8 and 35 miles per hour. Most small wind turbines have the capacity to turn into the direction of the wind to maximize the amount of electricity generated. There are two main factors in determining whether a particular home site is suitable for wind power. The first is the wind velocity and direction of the prevailing breezes available to the home site throughout the year. The second is the amount of obstructions to breezes on the home site or on neighboring sites. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Wind Resource Assessment is a good beginning reference for the availability of wind resources in your region or state of the U.S. In addition, many Web based weather sites and stations have annual summaries of wind velocity and direction. Wind roses are available for some cities in the U.S. and are used to look at wind velocities and directions. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more on Wind Rose Data . In addition to wind data, the home site should be checked for obstructions that might lessen the amount of available wind or cause turbulent breezes that might affect a wind turbine's capacity to generate electricity. Turbulence is often caused by windbreaks and building roofs too close to the turbine. A good recommendation for homeowners considering wind power is to purchase an inexpensive, wireless weather logger (sometimes called a home weather station) with an anemometer, which measures wind speed and direction. These are available at many home stores and are typically less than $50. The anemometer should be mounted at the recommended height of the proposed wind turbine (usually 30-50 feet), and measurements should be recorded for at least one year (all seasons). The weather station can also be moved around a home site until a suitable location can be found for the turbine. For additional information refer to http://Wind Turbines.

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