Wind Generator FAQ's
At Solar Us, we carry a wide variety of premium wind turbine generators and windmill energy kits. We carry well known brands of windmills such as Primus Wind Power and Nature Power. Most of our wind turbines are proudly manufactured in the United States, especially the Primus Air line of generators. We thought since we offer so many different kinds of turbines and get so many questions, that it would be a good idea to put together a comprehensive list of questions and answers realting to wind turbine generators, and wind power in general. If you are looking for a residential wind turbine or a wind turbine for home or business, please be sure to check out our line of premium wind generators and wind turbine mounting kits.
Wind Turbine Generator FAQ's
What is Wind Energy?
Wind Energy is simply the generation of electricity through the use of wind power and a Wind Turbine Generator or WTG for short. Wind Turbines produce electricity as wind blows and spins the blades, which subsequently spins a generator. Wind Energy produces Alternating Current (AC power) which is what is consistent with how your home or the electric grid runs. Some wind turbines may include an AC to AC inverter that converts the AC power to DC power and then back to AC power to properly match what is required by the electric grid.
At Solar Us, most of our turbines are manufactured by Primus Wind Power. If you are looking for more information on how these wind turbines work, please check out this useful home use wind turbine webinar for Primus Air Generators. Another great feature of wind power, is you can easily pair your wind system with a solar array or battery storage. Wind typically blows at night and during the winter and spring months, so if you are looking for year round DIY renewable energy, then you might look into pairing wind+solar+batery storage. Be sure to check out our solar powered energy kits and solar inverters.
How do wind turbines work?
Wind Turbines work by converting kinetic energy into electrical current when the wind blows the blades and spins a generator. Wind turbines require very little maintenence and are one of the cleanest forms of energy. There are very little fossil fuels used to build a wind turbine, and they operate completely without the need for any fuel source. Our turbines are best for those who enjoy DIY projects, so you should research and consider finding an installer if you are unsure how to install a windmill.
What is the difference between a windmill and a wind turbine generator?
Windmill and Wind Turbine Generator is often used interchangeably and in reality it's referring to the same thing. The proper term should be Wind Turbine Generator as wind turbines generate electricity and don't pump water, but people often refer to them as windmills. At Solar Us, we are fine with either term and are glad you are looking into Wind Power.
Do windmills kill birds?
It is completely possible that one of our wind turbine generator kits could accidently kill a bird, however the chances are extremely low. Over the years large scale wind turbines and wind energy in general have gotten a bad rap on the accidental taking of birds. The truth of the matter is wind energy bird fatalities are very low in comparison to other forms of energy. In fact, bird fatalities tend to be improving as the technology continually improves. To learn more about incidental bird fatalities relating to wind energy, please check out what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has to say on the issue, or this great article on from Ars Technica showing how bird fatalities are improving and can be mitigated. Additionally, we found an article that details exact statistics relating to bird wind energy deaths by Popular Mechanics.
At Solar Us, environmental sustainability is our #1 goal. We wish there was a way to completely mitigate bird deaths caused by wind turbines, but we do understand the numbers are much lower compared to other energy sources. The liklihood that one of our windmill generator kits is extremely low, but there are a few things you can do to make sure they never happen. Siting your wind turbine correctly is most important. Best practices involve installing the wind turbine in an open place with a safe buffer distance from water sources or dense tree lines. We recommend trying to stay at least 50 yards away from those locations. Additionally, if there are a large amount of migratory birds in the area, it might be a good idea to power off your turbine until they pass. Avoid providing any bird food sources near the wind generator. If you follow these best practices, bird strikes will likely never occur.
Do wind turbines kill bats and birds?
Incidental Bat deaths from wind energy are very similar to bird deaths. The main difference is bat deaths generally occur at night, and may be harder to mitigate. For more information, please check out this article relating to bat deaths from Wind Energy by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Similarly to incidental bird strikes, you can greatly mitigate bat impacts by following similar guidelines. To avoid bat deaths from your wind turbine, it is very important you avoid any nearby bat habitats. You can greatly reduce bat strikes by limiting their food source in the area and limiting nearby light sources that attract birds and other creatures. If you have known endangered bat species in close proximity to the area you want to site your turbine, it is best to completely avoid this or consult with your local wildlife official.
Do Wind Turbines make noise?
Yes, wind turbines can emit some noise. Most wind turbines, and especially wind turbines for your home, produce a small amount of noise and noise effects can be easily mitigated. For more information on the decibel levels our wind generators produce, check out the product page or reach out to us specifically. You can eaily mitigate wind turbine noise by siting your turbine away from your home or by using quieter blade sets. If a turbine is making a great amount of noise, it is likely there is a mechanical issue and your turbine may require maintenance. In general, the noise produced from your home wind turbine system should be very quiet and shouldn't be very noticeable.
How do you properly site a wind turbine for home?
Properly siting your wind generator is very important to obtain the optimal energy needed. You can easily site your wind system by following these simple guidelines. You should avoid low lying areas, areas blocking the natural flow of the wind, and areas too close to homes, roads, buildings, and trees. Our wind turbines typically need wind speeds around 7 MPH to produce good wind energy, so it is best to find a spot at a higher elevation with an open path or view of the wind flow. Siting your wind turbine too close to buildings or trees could creat noise nuisance and prohibit your turbine from producing the right amount of power.
Do Wind Turbines Change Direction?
Yes, wind turbines are designed to yaw or pitch into the direction of the wind. You shouldn't have to manually position your wind generator into the wind. Pitching into the wind helps the turbine perform at its' optimal ability.
Do windmills use oil?
Some wind turbines require a small amount of oil for gear and mechanical lubrication, rather than needing it to produce power. The amount of oil needed depends on the model and size of the generator, but oil use should be a small amount and oil changes performed sparingly.
Do Wind Turbines use fossil fuels?
We touched on this question somewhat above, but it might be useful to discuss any other fossil fuels used for wind turbines. Wind turbine towers, blades, motors, and other components require a small amount of fossil fuels, but the clean energy they produce greatly over compensates for this. We will touch on this in the question below.
How long until Wind Turbine Pays for itself?
When looking at this question, we want to consider two different aspects: Wind Turbine Cost Recovery and Wind Turbine Manufacturing Recovery. Wind turbine cost recovery depends on the amount of power you are needing to produce, the size of the system, any maintenance, and ultimately the price you paid for the turbine. At Solar Us, our wind generators are reasonably priced and of premium quality. We estimate our turbines can pay for themselves in a matter of a couple of years.
Wind Turbine Manufacturing Recovery can depend on the same factors, but has more to do with the energy needed to manufacture the system vs. the energy produced by the wind turbine system. For utility scale wind farms, this article on Wind Energy Payback by Science Daily has some good information on payback. Payback for utility scale wind power can be as little as 6 months but depends on a number of factors. Payback for small scale residential wind turbines can follow a similar trajectory, but we would estimate the payback on energy produced vs. energy needed to build to be no greater than 5 years. The great news is windmill generators typically last around 20 years, so it's very likely you'll produce much more energy than the energy needed for building it.
Are Wind Turbines environmentally safe?
Yes, because wind turbines do not run on fossil fuel, they are great for mitigating the effects of climate change. Wind energy is one of the cleanest sources of power on the planet!
What are Wind Turbines made of?
Wind turbines have several components, so it's best to break their material down by specific part. Wind Blades: material typically features fiberglass or carbon fiber. Wind Tower Kits: material typically consists of steel or another sturdy metal source. Internal Wind Turbine Components and Generator: there's also a small amount of different metal types used and some magnetic features as well.
What is wind turbulence?
Wind Turbulence is a natural occurence in the wind flow that can effect a wind turbine. As wind flows, much like a river, there are areas of swirling and disturbance that prohibits the wind from a continuous flow. This is identical to the turbulence one might experience on an airplane. Wind turbulence can affect a wind generator if it is too extreme and cause damage to the system. Because most home use wind generators are lower to the ground, turbulance is a minimal issue. You can avoid turbulence by siting your turbine properly.
What is wake effect?
Similar to wind turbulence, wake effect can be produced from the eddies that occur in the natural wind flow. A wind turbine produces its' own wake, or disruption of the wind, when the turbine blades turn and capture the wind.Generally, wake effect is more prominent when large wind turbines are too close to each other. This is a non issue if you only have one turbine, and can be mitigated if you properly site multiple wind turbines far enough away from eachother,
What is a wind energy power curve?
For wind turbines, a power curve is a graph showing maximum output of energy from the turbine given certain wind speeds. Every wind turbine model and wind turbine size will feature a different power curve.A wind power curve consists of the cut-in speed, or wind speed needed for the generator to produce power, the rated speed, or wind speed needed to produce the turbine's optimal energy production, and the cut-out speed, the wind speed at which the turbine will shut itself down and no longer produce energy.
What is a Watt?
A Watt is a unit of power. In the International System of Units (SI) it is defined as a derived unit of 1 joule per second, and is used to quantify the rate of energy transfer. In relation to home wind turbine generators, you will see kilowatts (1,000 watts) or kilowatt hours used, kW and kWh abbreviated. kW would refer to the maximum capacity of the wind system, while kWh's would refer to the number of kw's produced over the course of an hour.
How much does a wind turbine cost for home?
This will depend entirely on the amount of energy you need to produce to power your home. The more energy you need, likely the more expensive it will be. If you are wanting to entirely power your home or produce off-grid renewable energy, you will need to supplement with solar or battery storage when the wind isn't blowing. At Solar Us, our wind turbines are of the best quality and you won't find them anywhere for a cheaper price. If you have specific questions about what it would take to power your needs, feel free to reach out to us directly.
Will a wind turbine power my home?
Wind turbines can help definetely power your home, but you may need multiple wind generators and supplement with solar power + battery storage as mentioned above.
Can I pair wind energy with solar energy?
Absolutely, and we recommend it if you are wanting to completely power your needs with renewable energy. All of our wind turbines can easily be paired with solar energy, and we offer a wide variety of affordable solar power kits for home, solar power inverters, and batteries.
Can wind power be stored?
Yes, wind energy can be stored with lithium ion batteries, and we will be offering home batteries for wind storage in the coming months. Stay tuned!
What is the difference between a vertical axis wind turbine and a horizontal axis wind turbine?
Vertical or horizontal wind turbines simply refer to the direction a wind system turns its' blades to produce wind power. A vertical axis wind turbine has blades lower to the ground and turns similarly to an egg beater. Vertical axis windmills are better suited for lower wind speeds and aren;t capable of producing as much wind power as horizontal axis systems. One advantage of vertical axis generators is they have less moving parts, so they require less maintenance.
Horizontal axis windmills have blades at higher heights and are the large ones you would see at a utility scale wind farm. Vertical axis wind power has the blades turning perpendicular to the ground, whereas horizontal axis blades would be turning parallel to the ground. At Solar Us, we wonly offer horizontal axis windmill generator kits, and we believe these are the best for most peoples' needs. Please see below for a .gif picture, which shows two vertical axis turbines on the outside and a horizontal axis wind generator in the middle.
Are wind turbines free?
The fuel source (the wind) is free, but unfortunately wind turbines do cost money. However, the cost of wind power is dropping tremendously, and we carry a number of affordable turbine models to fit most budgets. Additionally, there may be tax credits available to you for installing a wind system kit. For more information on tax credits at the federal level, check out this article from the Energy Star Program about Federal Income Tax Credits and Other Incentives for Energy Efficiency. Check with your local or state government to see if their are any tax benefits at the state level.
What is the best wind turbine for my home or business?
This will depend entirely on the amount of energy you use and are looking for, but we are big fans (pun intended) of the PRimus Wind Power line of Air Wind Turbines. We offer a number of models suitable for home or marine use. Be sure to check out our collection of affordable wind turbine system kits!
Can I install a wind turbine on my sailboat?
Yes, wind power is great for powering a sailboat and we offer several different marine windmills and marine turbine mounting kits. The Primus Air X Marine Generator and the Air Breeze Wind Generator are both phenomenal options, and you can easily pair them with this marine turbine mounting kit.This brings us to the end our our FAQ list for wind energy, wind power, and wind turbine generators. We will regularly update this list to feature any questions that pop up. If you have a suggestion or see a question that wasn't answered above, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for choosing Solar Us as your wind energy experts!