Supplement your Home Power Needs with Wind!

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Wind Power Overview


What is wind?  Wind is simply air in motion that is caused by the uneven heating of the Earth's surface by the sun. Typically, during the day, the air heats up more quickly over land than over water. As warm air over land rises, heavier, cooler air from over the water flows in to take the place of the warm air, creating wind. At night, the winds are reversed because air cools much more quickly over land than over water. 

Accordingly, wind energy is simply energy derived from wind. We harness this green energy by creating wind turbines which use blades to collect the wind’s kinetic energy. The wind flows over the blades creating lift, like the effect on airplane wings, which causes them to turn. These blades are connected to a drive shaft that turns an electric generator to produce electricity, wind electricity. 

A wind turbine’s output depends on the size of the turbine and the wind's speed through the blades.  A single turbine can produce anywhere between 250 watts to 5 megawatts per hour (MWh).  To put this in context, an average U.S. household uses about 10 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity each year.  One megawatt of installed wind energy from a single large turbine can generate from 2,400 to more than 3,000 MWh annually – enough to power about 250 homes.

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Why Wind Energy?


Like solar energy, there are many reasons why wind energy has exciting potential as an green energy source:

1. First, like the sun, the wind is a completely free, inexhaustible and renewable energy resource.

2. Second, wind energy is also extremely clean generating no pollution or greenhouse gases of any kind.

3. Third, wind energy can be harnessed anywhere in the world or anywhere where there is wind.

4. Fourth, like solar, wind energy serves as an effective and often times the only alternative to bring energy remote areas that cannot be connected to the main electricity grid.

5. Finally, wind energy is also one of the most economically efficient forms of energy to produce. Currently, on average, it costs about 5 cents per kilowatt-hour to produce wind energy which is cheaper that all other forms of alternative energy (except some hydropower plants). 

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Home Wind Turbine Kits


Like home solar kits, there are some wonderful home wind turbine kits to help you take advantage of wind energy and help supplement your energy usage. A wind turbine looks essentially like a windmill but it takes wind energy and converts it into mechanical energy (with the wind turbine blades) which is then converted again (through an inverter) into electrical energy for home use. Depending on where you live and how much energy you want to generate, a typical wind turbine kit can range anywhere from $500 to $22,000 for installation. These range from small, simple roof top windmills to large wind turbines that sit a top wind towers.

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Buying Tips if You Living in an Open Area


Like home solar kits, there are some wonderful home wind turbine kits to help you take advantage of wind energy and help supplement your energy usage. A wind turbine looks essentially like a windmill but it takes wind energy and converts it into mechanical energy (with the wind turbine blades) which is then converted again (through an inverter) into electrical energy for home use. Depending on where you live and how much energy you want to generate, a typical wind turbine kit can range anywhere from $500 to $22,000 for installation. These range from small, simple roof top windmills to large wind turbines that sit a top wind towers.

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Buying Tips if You Living in an Urban Area


However, if you live in a heavily developed area, it is recommended that you invest only in a smaller and cheaper roof top wind turbine to help supplement your current energy usage rather than try to replace your traditional utility usage entirely. Unfortunately, in crowded areas it is unlikely that you’ll have access to enough wind to make it worthwhile to install more than a smaller system. Still, with a small inexpensive system and depending on your energy bill, you may be able to reduce your bill by 10% or more which would easily offset the cost of the turbine over time.

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Other Considerations for Home Wind Turbine Kits


Please note that if you intend to use wind energy for all of your electricity needs, you will probably need to install more than one home wind turbine which will need to be one that operates on the top of towers so that they get the most wind energy at any given time. You will also need to make sure your wind system is tied to the grid or if you elect not to be tied to a grid (or cannot) you will need a backup battery system to store the energy. And although it is possible to use wind energy to supply all of your home energy needs, you will probably find it difficult to do with current home wind turbine technology.

And as with all capital projects like this, please make sure you have a professional either perform or supervise the installation of the wind turbine to make sure it is safe and efficient and properly tied into your utility grid.