Power Production Estimates in Residential Wind Turbines

After you have received a site assessment for a proposed home wind turbine, the manufacturer or installation company with which you are working should be able to give you a personalized estimate of the turbine's potential energy production. The calculation is based on:

- The power curve* for the model of turbine to be used.
- The site's annual average wind speed.
- The site's wind frequency** distribution.

(* The power curve is the relationship between the power that can be drawn from the available wind and the wind speed. The power available from the wind increases in proportion to the wind speed cubed.)

(** Frequency distribution is an estimate of how many hours the wind will blow at a given speed during an average year.)

The calculation will also be adjusted according to the specific elevation of the turbine site.

How Much Can You Expect to Save?

Homes in the United States use between 9,400 and 10,000 kWh of electricity annually. Considering all the relevant factors, most homes will require a turbine rated in the range of 5 to 15 kilowatts to make a real difference in lowering the electric bill.

As an example, a 10-kilowatt wind turbine has the potential to generate 10,000 kWh a year at a site with a steady wind of 12 mph with no turbulence present from adjacent structures. Very few residential sites, however, are absolutely perfect for a residential wind turbine, nor does the wind blow consistently on a daily basis 365 days a year.

This should not, however, necessarily discourage homeowners from getting a site assessment and an estimate of potential energy production for their unique location. Even a small, roof-mounted turbine in a marginally suitable location can pull 10% off a residential electrical bill. Assuming 10,000 kWh of annual power consumption at the national average per kWh price of .12 cents, that's $120 a year. Combined with other methods of energy conservation, that can be a sizable contribution in lowering electrical expenses and greenhouse gas emissions for a residence.

Perform an Energy Audit First

The best way to judge the wisdom of the investment in residential wind energy is to include a personal energy audit in the decision-making process. Existing home electrical consumption can be measured by totaling the monthly kWh figures from the utility company's statements. Most households that are interested in wind energy have already taken a series of standard steps to lower consumption, like increasing home insulation, switching to low energy light bulbs like CFLs or LED bulbs, eliminating "vampire" or idle current power loss, and buying Energy Star-rated appliances. Knowing how much power you already use, and how much you've already been able to conserve, will help you to determine the real benefits you'll enjoy from home-based alternative energy.

Obviously, when considering the installation of a residential wind turbine, doing the math first is critical, both in terms of evaluating the quality of the wind and the amount of power the turbine can realistically produce in that setting. If those numbers align, the next consideration is the where to shop for the wind turbine itself. Continue reading to learn more about buying residential wind equipment.

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One Response to “Power Production Estimates in Residential Wind Turbines”

  1. Roger Roster Says:

    Wind power is basically the conversion of wind energy into a form we can use such as electricity. People are becoming more interested in wind power and clean energy. Many companies are working towards promoting clean energy. Transformer company, Pacific Crest Transformers has been partnering with the wind energy sector since 1985. It has more articles and whitepapers on clean energy on their website. Visit http://www.pacificcresttrans.com/home.html

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