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Are You Ready to Build Your Own Wind Turbine?

Have you reached the point at which it would make sense to build your own wind turbine? If so, you’re definitely not alone!

build your own wind turbine

We share a world in which the price of electricity is rising almost as quickly as the economic and job markets have crashed, leaving millions of homeowners desperate for ways to shave their monthly fuel bills. Switching to energy efficient appliances and light bulbs is a step in the right direction, but it’s only a baby step.

By deciding to build your own wind turbine, you’ll not only have a free and reliable energy source; you may even be able to sell the electricity you don’t use back to your electric company! You’ll also be protecting the environment and playing a small role in preventing climate change, because wind energy is clean energy. But what does it take to build your own wind turbine?

If the wind turbine you’re picturing stands a hundred feet tall with blades which would dwarf those on the propellers of the Titanic, relax. Not all home wind turbines are like the ones on utility company wind farms. They range in size from micro and pole-mounted models to those very tall stand-alone towers, and the sort of wind turbine you choose to build will depend largely on your location.

If your home is in an area surrounded by large buildings, the reality is that your local wind patterns probably won’t be regular enough for your wind turbine to generate more electricity than you’ll use in your own home. In that case, an inexpensive micro generator will be adequate. Using a micro wind turbine kit is the cheapest and easiest way to get the job done, but there are two caveats:

In an article, Discovery Channel News says that makers of some wind turbine kits might exaggerate the amount of electricity their products will produce in densely populated areas. Some of them, for instance, test their wind turbines on sea-level buildings in open areas when measuring the amount of watts of electricity they will produce at different wind speeds.

Some makers of wind turbine kits also claim their products will run silently and vibration-free. No wind turbine is either completely silent or completely still when the wind is blowing! So do your homework before choosing a micro wind turbine kit, and keep your expectations about the amounts of electricity you’ll be able to generate realistic.

wind turbinesBut what if you have enough open land that deciding to build your own wind turbine on a tower? According to The Owner's Guide to Energy Independence Alternative Power Sources for the Average American, most homeowners who have installed residential wind turbines have placed their generators on towers at least in height. Principles of physics dictate that speed at which air moves decreases as it is closer to the ground, with the greatest increase in speed occurring between ground level and sixty feet.

The wind turbine you build will have three blades resembling airplane propellers, which are connected to a magnetic generator, which in turn creates electricity. As the wind speed increases, the rotors to which your three blades are attached will turn more quickly, and the higher they are from the ground, the stronger the wind turning them will be so the more electricity they will make.

You can also, if you decide to build your own wind turbine, increase the amount of electricity generates by increasing the size of its blades. The design of the wind turbine you build should ensure that will automatically turn sideways in extremely high winds. This will allow the plane of the blades, which is normally perpendicular to the access of the turbine, to change and reduce the amount of wind load it experiences.

If you live in an exceptionally windy area, your home wind turbine should either be attached to a collection of batteries, or to your local power grid. Batteries will enable you to store the excess power you generate for days when there is little wind. Being connected to the power gird means you can sell it to your electrical utility.

Finally, while installing a micro or rooftop wind turbine may be something you can handle either by yourself or with the help of a few friends, erecting a 60-foot (or higher) tower weighing several tons will require the help of professionals.

Also, the Homeowner's Guide to Energy Independence suggests that you set aside 1% of the total cost of installing your home wind turbine for yearly maintenance expenses. Maintenance should include an annual inspection by the people who installed your wind turbine system, who will go over it from the ground up looking for possible problems!

If you really want to build your own wind turbine, and understand what’s involved, the opportunities have never been better!

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