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Choosing a Location for a Residential Wind Turbine

The proper site to install a residential wind turbine depends on many different factors. For example, the ground and air space required by a residential wind turbine depends on the size of the turbine and the height and type of the tower. You must also ensure that the area in question is sufficiently windy to power the turbine. Additionally, some communities may not allow wind turbines within city limits, or may have certain residents who oppose their installation. Make sure you do plenty of research and planning ahead of time to ensure that you have foreseen every possible mishap and pitfall. The last thing you want is to invest a significant amount of time and money in setting up a wind turbine only to find out later that the site you chose will not work.

The amount of electricity you hope to generate from your wind turbine is a major factor in its vertical space requirements. The greater the amount of kilowatts desired, the longer the required length of the rotor blades and therefore the taller the tower. The turbine’s manufacturer can generally assist you in determining your power and size requirements. Unfortunately, towers must never be installed on building roofs or attached to homes or other structures; the vibration of the rotating turbine may eventually cause damage to roofs and buildings. Additionally, the turbulence created at roof top level generally creates stress for the turbine.

Individuals planning on installing residential wind turbines must choose a location where the top of the tower and rotor blades have clear access to consistent and unobstructed air flow. Try to install the device away from trees. Even short shrubs that cause no interference initially can eventually grow to the point that they block the wind. Manufacturers generally suggest installing the device on an elevated area of ground without nearby buildings or trees. The higher the elevation above ground level, the faster the wind speed.

Installing the turbine in the direction of prevailing winds also ensures optimization and increased efficiency. This means facing the turbine in the direction of typical air current paths. For example, where winds frequently blow from west to east, individuals typically face the turbine toward the west. Of course, most turbine heads come equipped with wind vanes that rotate the entire turbine head into the direction of the prevailing wind.

The type of wind turbine homeowners require may make a difference in where installation is possible. Towers constructed of latticed pipes, similar to communication towers, require more ground space. The radius of the guy lines used to stabilize this type of tower generally expands the same distance away from the tower as one-half to three-fourths of the tower height. The bottom of the rotor blades should also have approximately 30 feet, or about 9 meters, of clearance between the tip of the blade and any obstructions below.

Finally, homeowners should familiarize themselves with local zoning regulations or stipulations before installing a do-it-yourself wind turbine. Community regulations may inhibit wind turbine towers in residential areas, may restrict height, or may simply require that individuals acquire special permits. Potential wind turbine owners should also consider the opinions of neighbors before installing the device. Wind turbine towers might obstruct views or produce undesirable noise. Though the noise level created by turbines generally ranges between 50 and 55 decibels, the constant whirring sound may prove irritating to neighbors at close range.

Wind Energy Buyers Guide From Northern Tool


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