Where to Install a Wind Turbine
Tips for Where NOT to Site Your Wind Turbine Generator
Jeff from Missouri Wind and Solar talks about the difference between mounting locations and styles as well as pros and cons to where you site your wind turbine generator.
Dirty Wind and Expectations
The peak of your house or shed isn’t necessarily an ideal location to install a wind turbine as you might experience “dirty” turbulent wind that doesn’t flow smoothly. Any obstruction around your turbine may cause updrafts that will reduce the potential for your wind turbine output. The higher you go, the higher quality wind your wind turbine will receive. In fact, the AWEA recommends at least 30 feet above nearby obstructions for best performance*.
Now, a wind turbine tower 80 to 120 feet high might not be possible for your location or budget and that’s perfectly acceptable. However, you will need to manage your expectations that your wind turbine (by any manufacturer) may not produce its rated output based on where you choose to install it. You may need to increase the number of wind turbines in your system or consider adding solar panels.
If you are making an investment in wind power to reduce your energy cost, your environmental footprint, or off-grid power, be sure to invest in where you site and mount it. A great analogy would be in selecting potting soil for a plant. Your plant and its growth potential relies directly on the nutrient content and drainage quality of the medium it grows in. It’s not worth saving fifty cents and having a sad droopy plant (that will probably need frequent fertilization) when you could have gone with the quality stuff to begin with.
Look at the Facts
If you’re deciding which wind turbine company to go with, do some research by looking at customer reviews but take it with a grain of salt. Be analytical in the way you look at a YouTube video or product review on wind turbine output.
Ask yourself the following:
- Where is the generator located? Is it in a wide open field in Missouri or a residential neighborhood in Alabama?
- Is it on a sturdy, standalone tower above obstructions or mounted on an outbuilding?
- What is the diameter of the wind turbine and how wide are the blades?
- Does it look like it gets regular preventative maintenance?
Don’t believe everything that gets thrown at you or you’ll suffer information overload. Ask questions on points that need clarification or if something looks suspicious or too good to be true! Just look at the raw facts and decide if the wind turbine power output reflects the quality of the setup.
*AWEA FAQ’s for small wind systems