We often discourage customers from buying expensive wind equipment if
the site isn't right. High trees, locations in valleys or other nearby
obstructions make wind power often impractical. A wind mill needs the
same conditions roughly necessary to fly a kite. Most installations by
inexperienced people do not properly locate the wind turbine. They are
always too low and too near obstructions. Turbulence created in the wake
of trees and buildings is the number one cause of premature failure of
wind turbines. Some have failed in dangerous fashion, hurling blades and
other parts hundreds of feet. We refuse to sell or service any equipment
known to be dangerous.
Higher the Better
Tower height is crucial for two reasons:
1) Adding tower height is the cheapest way to gain greater and more consistent
2) Turbulence is greatly reduced with height. Turbulence is the equivalent
of rocks on a highway. Sudden shifts in wind direction cause vibrations
and stresses that greatly reduce reliability as well as energy output.
Small Wind Installations - A Few Basic Rules
- If tree growth at the site is not influenced by the prevailing wind
(at least slightly visible flagging), and the wind is not a frequent nuisance,
then the energy potential does not justify the investment.
- At most locations, wind energy is less consistent than PV, and usually
peaks at different times. Wind is best used in a hybrid system with PV.
- The generator must be placed higher than all obstructions within 500
feet in all directions, by at least 30 feet plus the blade radius.
- For a tower structure, budget 1 to 2 times the cost of the generator.
- Even though the AIR 403 Wind Module by Southwest Wind Power can be
mounted onto a building in some cases, we do NOT recommend mounting wind
turbines to buildings. Noise will be unsatisfactory, and vibration can
loosen nails right out of boards.
Link to Catalog for Current Sale Prices.