We have all experienced that familiar sight drive while through the countryside—rolling meadows and spinning white three-pronged pinwheel columns dotting the landscape. Slowly emerging, these small wind turbines are the new age of renewable, organic energy.
The first wave of Covid-19 was enough to convince us of the importance of health, budgets, and environmental responsibility. Not just another pipe dream, generating your own electricity could be the key to cutting your bill in half.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Small Wind Turbine?
- Are Small Wind Turbines Worth it?
- The Pros of Small Wind Turbines
- The Cons of Small Wind Turbine
- Where to Buy Small Wind Turbines
- The Legacy of Wind Energy Continues
What Is a Small Wind Turbine?
Small wind turbines, also called “micro wind turbines” or “small wind generators,” are built to micro-generate electricity in homes and commercial buildings. Their range capacity is 20 watts-100 kW.
Are Small Wind Turbines Worth it?
After an initial investment, wind-generated electricity is virtually free. A small wind turbine can cut expenses by half. Besides savings, other pros are renewable energy, space management, eco-friendliness, and sustainability. Drawbacks include inconsistent power, wildlife risk, noise, and zoning restrictions.
Small wind turbines are a reliable option, whether in the suburbs, living off the grid, or just trying to save costs. They offer sustainable energy that significantly minimizes your carbon footprint.
Since we are going all Nancy Drew on small wind turbines, let’s New York minute this topic with the pros and cons.
The Pros of Small Wind Turbines
Free Source of Organic Energy
What is free on earth? That’s right, bountiful resources. The wind is free. If you live in a windy area, its potential is just waiting to be harnessed.
Much like a well that never runs dry, the wind is a renewable resource that never drains. Therefore, it is a forever asset. And the more it continues adoption by the masses, the more affordable it will become.
Energy from small wind turbines will not contaminate air quality, whereas power unit plants depend on fuels to produce energy. The production of this energy pollutes the earth with toxic gases, creating significant health risks.
Small wind turbines do not emit pollutants that create acid rain, fumes, smog, etc. Consequently, wind power reduces our dependence on toxic fuels and contributes to good health and ecological benefits.
Additionally, wind energy is known to preserve water reservoirs. Nuclear power needs to use approximately 600 times more water than wind, while coal uses around 500 times more to generate the same volume of electricity. So, as you can see, wind energy conserves water.
Studies have shown that wind energy is the least expensive electricity source available today. Hence if you invest, you will recover the expense of the initial investment over a short period.
All your home needs to run on small wind turbines is less than 5meters/second of annual wind speed. If the installation is well-located, small wind turbines can recoup the investment within 15 years.
Although small wind turbines may require some overhead to install, expenses are comparatively low once they are up and running. The wind is complimentary, while the turbine itself should not need much maintenance.
It is suggested that wind turbines need not be placed close together. The fact is wind turbines don’t need that much area, and you can put your land to good use.
When you install the turbine, chances are there is ample space in between. Use this space smartly. Wind farms are widespread in the country. Each turbine can generate plenty of energy.
Generally speaking, the higher the elevation of the turbine, the better, because the height of the tower determines the volume of power the turbine will produce.
The most suitable places for wind turbines are along the coast, on hills, open fields, and between mountain ravines. These are the places where the breeze is generally strong.
Wherever you are, research before you decide on the tower height; then, utilize your location. Perfect sites are often located in far-flung places. At times, conceiving a few transmission lines could significantly reduce the expenses of developing wind energy.
We all know that wind supply is ample and non-perishable. In the last decade or so, the potential for wind power has increased by 15% annually.
There are many factors to wind generation, such as the atmospheric heat from the sun, rotation of the earth, etc. Energy will continue to be generated sustainably as long as the sun shines and the wind blows.
Potential for Homeowners
More and more homeowners are opting for wind energy. Users find it empowering to generate their own electricity with wind energy as others have done with solar panels.
We already know that wind is an autonomous energy supply and is convenient for powering residences. Furthermore, users with wind turbines at home also obtain access to net metering. It is this net metering that gives credit to monthly electricity bills in case extra power is produced.
If you are a homeowner producing wind energy, you get compensated for any excess power generated. The excess also helps during blackouts and while electricity prices fluctuate.
Pumps Water, Powers Transportation
Many ancient civilizations have incorporated wind energy. For example, the Egyptians propelled boats using wind energy along the Nile River in 5,000 BC. Near 200 BC, China used wind-powered water pumps. Likewise, Persia and the Middle East used windmills made from woven reed blades for grinding grain.
We are still practicing similar methods. Wind energy is now ready to power electric vehicles, and we use wind energy to pump water from the underground. It is considered a low-cost option in certain parts of the world.
The Cons of Small Wind Turbine
We understand that wind is not the most predictable of resources. On average, industry estimates have revealed that turbines usually function at around 30-40% capacity.
If the climate does not support the user, you can experience a power outage. Severe storms or strong winds can wreak havoc on your wind turbine, and suddenly you are back to square one and must turn to the electric company.
Wild Life Hazard
The prongs and edges of the turbine can play hara-kiri on wildlife. Often it endangers birds or other winged wildlife that fly too close to rotating blades. However, these difficulties are slowly being fixed or decreased with new technology or placing turbines in more suitable areas.
Scientific research is advancing to provide solutions that reduce this threat to wildlife. However, as with most energy sources, modern progress can change the environment and the seasonal habits of some species. More studies on these threats are needed.
Because of the small size and space used, frequently, small wind turbines have a comparatively lesser impact on the environment when compared to large turbines or traditional power plants.
Still, there is cause for concern regarding the noise made by the blades. Wind turbines are known to raise noise as high as 50 to 60 decibels.
There are particular areas where the wind speed often picks up. These hot spots are usually in inaccessible regions, not your backyard.
People ask whether they can install small wind turbines on their rooftop. The answer is yes, technically. However, consider the ramifications.
Some users mounted these ecological wonders on their rooftops. But wind turbines vibrate, creating vibrations through the buildings on which they are installed. As a result, it can lead to noisiness and structural vulnerability.
Additionally, if your rooftop is in an area of heightened wind activity, it can reduce the shelf life of your device and decrease energy output. Extra expenses related to resolving these issues defeat the purpose. Therefore, turbines installed atop ground-based towers are more cost-effective.
The average tower height of a small wind turbine is advised to be 65 feet. Yet, this allows the neighboring buildings or trees to interrupt the even course of the wind.
Unstable wind flow is the curse of a small wind turbine because it creates turbulence, further straining the machine parts and perplexing the air sensors.
Thus, inconsistent airflow means that two sites with equal average wind rates can produce varying energy levels year-round.
A small wind turbine is not a regular device you can install anywhere and get the same rate of energy or quality. Instead, each turbine will have its unique production value depending on the site and external factors. Based on this, an opinion from a professional is the best solution.
Besides the problems of adjusting to the noisy sound decibels, installation can be tricky. Setting up a small wind turbine gets even more complicated with provincial statutes that may prevent the structure itself.
A few regions have restricted regulations against the use of turbines in residential areas. So, talk to your local building regulatory authorities or advisory boards (or HOA) to obtain the information required for eligibility. It is always better to be safe than sorry. You should review this plan before you make a decision.
Imagine you may be looking to enhance your setup by a couple of kilowatts (kW). You would think it would be a practical and monetary walk in the park.
However, adding energy to a small wind installation involves attaching another turbine, not to mention you need to ensure they are spaced out in such a way that they don’t hamper each other.
Try to avoid interference by thoroughly investigating requirements and opportunities, but always double-check with the local specialists before you go off to invest.
Setting up the infrastructure takes extra investment. For example, small wind turbines for homes, small businesses, or farms typically cost $3000 to $8000 per kilowatt capacity. In comparison, larger home units need approximately around a 10-kilowatt turbine, in which the average installation expense could cost $50,000 to $80,000.
It requires plenty of open space to set up wind turbines—falling trees contradict the ecological impact we aim to minimize. Therefore, suitable sites may be difficult to access or utilize.
Where to Buy Small Wind Turbines
*This section contains a few affiliate links to help support our blog, writers, and editors.
The best option though, is probably Amazon. For convenience, here are the top 3 bestselling small wind turbines on Amazon right now –
- 🌵 Front of the Nature's Generator features: 3 x 120-Volt AC outlets, 2 x USB ports that provide 3A of combined power, 1 x 12-Volt DC outlet, 1 x 200-Watt solar input with 200-Watt built-in charge controller, 1 x wind input with built-in 300-Watt charge controller and 1 x AC input to recharge system via AC outlet
- 🌴 Front central LCD screen on Nature's Generator shows system information such as battery level and output draw (when output is higher than 100-Watt)
- 🌳 Included Monocrystalline Nature's Generator power panels come included with the needed 50 ft. cables and MC4 branch connectors needed for a successful connection to the Nature's Generator and Nature's Generator power pod- also includes a built-in frame with wheels for ease of movement and transportation
- 🌿 Front of the Nature's Generator Power Pod features: one 12-Volt DC outlet, 1 x solar input with built-in 200-Watt charge controller and LED battery fuel gauge
- 🌲 Nature's Generator wind turbine comes included with a 100 ft. 12AWG UL wind turbine cable for connection to the Nature's Generator - turbine designed to mount on a nominal 1.5 in. schedule 40 steel tubing or piping (tubing/piping not included)
- 400W FIVE Blades Wind Turbine with a 2.5m/s start up speed for constant and efficient power generation ,exceeding a similar THREE Blades wind turbine. Using patented permanent magnet generator and special stator. Effectively reducing torque resistance and guarantees the stability.
- Daily output 4 KWH in ideal conditon. It also works when there is only wind power or solar power, getting hybrid or single power.
- Great for all off-grid installations on motorhome, house,home roof,garage,garden,cabin,shed,boats,factory,motel,farm ect.also can be used for any stand-alone off-grid solar power system with batteries, such as a household solar system or solar lighting
- Solar Panel: 1. Pre drilled diodes in junction box and a pair of 35 inch cables with F/M connectors attached to the panel 2. High module conversion efficiency and excellent performance in low light conditions, higher efficiency than the traditional panel. 3. Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame protects the solar panel ,suitable for outdoor use in harsh weather,allowing the panels to last for decades.
- Warranty:6-year material and workmanship warranty,25-year power output transfer warranty;friendly 24H/7D service. Solar Wind Hybrid kit will be delivered in separate packages due to the size restrictions by shipping courier.
- 🌵 What You Can Get:1×1800W Nature's Generator(With cart);1×Nature's Generator 100W Solar Panel(With wheels);1×Wind Turbine(With 5 Fiberglass Nylon Composite Blades)
- 🌴 Note:The accessories of the products need to be installed by yourself,but we have placed all the installation tools and detailed installation instructions in the package. For example, you'll need to install the solar panel wheels.
- 🌳 Three Ways to Recharge Generator:You can use Solar Panels,Wind Turbine and AC Power.The recharging speed depends on the the strength of the sunlight or wind.For example: It takes about 10 to 15 hours to recharge Nature's Generator if using 100 watt solar panel, and also depends on the the strength of the sunlight.
- 🌿 High in Performance: Monocrystalline Solar Panel Provides up to 100W of Recharging Power.We use 50 foot UL approved 12 AWG pure copper cable to improve conversion. Solar panel have three angles that can be adjusted to take full advantage of sunlight.
- 🌲 How to Maintain and Store:Please recharge your Nature's Generator once every four months and store in a ventilated, cool and dry location. If possible, please connect your Nature's Generator to the solar panel while in storage to top off the battery voltage.
Definitely be sure to shop around so you get the best deal.
The Legacy of Wind Energy Continues
Wind energy has powered the sail of boats, cargo ships, pumped water and is used in sports too.
It has been nearly 200 years since the original coal-fueled steamships crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Reverting us to those times is a Swedish firm that designed an Aquarian age wind-energy masterpiece called the Oceanbird. This ship promises the capacity to carry 7,000 cars.
There you have it. We are turning to greener lifestyles, which is a “breath of fresh air.” The small wind turbine is green, renewable, and affordable and is here to stay!