Prior to install a small wind power system in your property, consider insulating your home to high levels and install high-performance windows and appliances and lighting, and make other energy improvements in your property. The idea is to to reduce as much as possible your electricity consumption.
Otherwise you will need a too large and too expensive system. Conservation measures are always the first step.
For the sucess of a small wind power system, you will need average wind speeds of at least 12-13 miles per hour (6 meters/second),
To avoid turbulence and for higher wind speeds, the bottom of the turbine blades should be at least 30 feet/9 meters above the top of any possible obstacle within 300 feet/90 meters of the tower. The tower and the height at which the turbine is suspended are very important.
Hybrid small wind-solar power systems only become cost-competitive in areas where wind and solar patterns supplement each other.
Wind speed may vary significantly within a property, and since small differences in the wind speed have a huge impact in the performance of a wind power system, the location of the turbine in the property is of the utmost importance.
Increasing the wind speed from, say, 12 miles per hour (6 meters per second) to 16-17 mph will double the turbine’s electrical output.
The rated capacity value for a wind power system means little. It’s mostly a theoretical value for optimum wind conditions. The wind rarely blows at the specific wind speed considered by manufacturers.
The real output is a lower: typically 10%-40% of the rated capacity. The rotor diameter of the turbine is a better indicator of the turbine capacity.
Solar photovoltaic systems have a few advantages over small wind turbine systems: they are safer, quieter and may have a larger lifespan and warranty period; and can be used in urban and sub-urban settings, contrary to wind power systems.
But in a few rural locations with very good wind resources, wind electric systems can be a better choice.
Many low-priced wind power systems have a very small capacity and are mostly used for battery charging.
Prices of small wind electric systems are now lower than some years ago. They vary with the capacity of the system, and factors like state incentives.
The design of the blades or the electronics and the new materials of wind powered systems have a significant impact on their efficiency.
Anyway, when choosing, pay special attention to the diameter of the rotor. The power generated by a horizontal axis turbine tends to be directly proportional to the swept area of the rotor.
In countries like the US, Canada, UK or Australia you can buy wind electricity (and other green electricity) from utilities, including "certificates".
That's inexpensive, and a way of helping green power producers.
See, for details: Buying renewable power
Read our book (Print and Kindle ebook versions);
Save thousands of dollars;
Avoid costly mistakes and pitfalls.
Our Video on Small Wind Power Systems