With all of the interest in “green” technologies today and the high cost of energy, more and more people are turning to alternative sources. What can the average homeowner do to reduce his reliance on the power supplied by his local electric company? In this series of articles we will look at building your own wind generating system, and whether or not it is practical for you.
One of the first things you must consider when you start thinking about building your wind generator is your location, after all if the wind rarely ever blows, then there isn’t much point in building a windmill is there? The other thing you have to look at is your local and state regulations regarding the building and location of a windmill, many areas have laws that do not allow them for various reasons. You should also talk with your neighbors and explain what you are planning, why you are doing it and exactly where you plan on putting it. After all it would not be much fun if you got your nice new system installed and running, then your neighbors got an injunction that forced you to take it down.
The next thing you need to consider is what you are trying to do by installing a wind generator, in other words are you trying to get off the grid, supplement your solar system or just cut down on your electric bills. Any of these answers is the right one, each of them requires a different level of commitment and ultimately involves a different level of knowledge and expense. For the average household, 1 small windmill can help supplement your energy uses and reduce your bill over the course of the year. In order to completely remove yourself form the grid you will probably need more than one generator and solar panels.
So now that we have the basic idea of what we want to do with our wind generator the next question is can we afford it? There are a great number of companies offering kits for thousands of dollars such as the ones offered by Bergey Turbines anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 but, the plan here is to build a wind turbine system ourselves for a lot less. Remember that unless you live in an area where the wind never stops blowing you are going to need some form of back up to keep the power flowing, as well as to keep the level of power high enough to run your house. This can be done with a solar panel array, a backup generator or simply by staying hooked up to the grid.
What I am going to do in this series of articles is take you through the steps to build your own wind turbine generator for as little money as possible. This unit will not take you off the grid, but by adding it to your house it will make a difference in your power bill and the amount of fossil fuels used to supply your house with electricity. In our next article we will look at some of the important things you must include in your wind turbine to make it work properly and safely.
Sources: offgrid.net, www.bergey.com, http://motherearthnews.com