can use wind power?
If you live off-grid, chances are the bulk of your energy
will come from solar. The generator will supply the bulk of
the rest of your energy that solar doesn't provide. A wind
turbine is only useful if you can use it to offset how much
the generator runs, how deeply the battery gets cycled, and to fill in the gaps
when you have poor solar conditions. In the summer a wind
turbine is rarely needed for off-grid power if you have installed
adequate solar generating capacity for the winter months.
In the winter, however, when the days are short, a wind turbine
can be a valuable asset and save hundreds of hours on your
generators and prevent deep cycling your battery.
here to see graph ->
can be seen by the graph for 2013 YTD, the available energy
from solar and wind is higher in the summer months with longer
days, and less in winter with shorter days. The generator
is used to meet loads that the solar and wind power can't
meet. Generator use is highest in winter (often producing
in excess of 50% of our total energy) and mid-summer (due
to air conditioning loads). The wind power supplements the
solar in winter time when the days are short. The wind can
blow 24 hours a day, while the sun shines for only about 6-7
hours in winter. The turbine's ability to produce power 24
hours a day offsets how much the generator has to run in winter
time and helps prevent deep-cycling your battery at night.
turbines are not cheap. They cost over 3x per kWh
what solar power costs, and the tower is the most expensive
component of a wind power system. Therefore, the need for
a wind turbine for off-grid power must be carefully weighed
against generator and battery cost in the long term. Wind
turbines for grid-tie applications are not practical at all
for residential power. I provide no support,
nor do I build any turbines, for people that have grid power
and want or use a wind turbine. When the cost of utility power
is considered against the energy production of the wind turbine
for the first 8 months of 2013, the equivalent kWh from the
utility only costs $62 at 15 cents/kWh. It will take 54 years
to recover the cost of the wind turbine if you have utility
power, and that is why it is not practical for anything but
are few wind turbines actually designed correctly for off-grid
power. Most of the commercially built machines are
toys, poor quality, they break, and do not produce anywhere
near their claimed energy output. Years ago I developed a
high-performance, off-grid wind turbine for our own home that
addresses the shortcomings of the commercially built machines.
You can build my design yourself (see the Homebrew Off-Grid
Projects link above) and install it for your off-grid power
needs for a cost of usually less than $5,000 with a suitable
tower. I do build 1 or 2 turn-key machines per year for qualified
off-grid installations. The best is to build one yourself if you need a turbine. I can help
by building the shaft or generator assembly, which are the
two hardest parts to build.
My DWP350 turbines are designed to be reliable and operate
in the most severe winter conditions including blowing snow,
freezing rain and extreme temperatures that dip to -40F or
below. Many years of experience has shown me that a turbine
that will only operate in the ideal conditions in the south
is pretty much useless for off-grid power. Turbines with cheap
Chinese fiberglass blades that do not withstand severe icing
conditions and extreme cold without cracking and delaminating,
and generators that are not adequately protected from snow,
water and ice invasion into the rotating assembly do not work.
These turbines will not operate in severe conditions if you
live in the mountains or northern climates where off-grid
homes are more common. And it will fail when you need it most
- when the wind is blowing 40 mph in a driving blizzard and
the solar panels are buried. The DWP350 will continue to operate
in those conditions without being affected by icing, overheating
the generator, or destroying the generator due to ice buildup.
on below if you want more information on these turbines, and
check out the Homebrew Off-Grid Projects link above.