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Basics of Wind Power

Basics of Wind Power

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Published by: api-19753598 on Nov 28, 2009
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Alternative energy power systems, components and design assistance.
JATS Alternative Power Company
Advanced Energy Group authorized dealer
Basics of Wind Power
Quick-scroll down to wind generator comparison

If you are planning to install a wind generator, it is a
good idea to be sure of your potential power output. We
can help with this determination. We maintain
extensive data on wind resources for your area, and we
can inspect your particular site if need be. Often, our
clients will send us a pencil sketch of their site
reflecting various site features like large trees, other

structures, etc. Combined with our wind data and extensive experience, this is usually sufficient for planning purposes. For larger applications we will conduct a site inspection. Call us for more information on all of our services.

If you are considering a hybrid system using wind energy as one of the
power sources, then it's important to balance the system, where say,
instead of using more (solar) photovoltaic panels, you may need to
increase the size of the generator - or visa versa. We can help you with
these determinations.

Some wind generators may be erected right on top of a home or
building, or by attaching a tower to the side of a building, but unless
there are adequate vibration isolators, there will be some structural
vibration. We do not recommend this practice with larger generators, on
smaller homes, older homes or buildings with lightweight frames. A
separate tower should be used for these installations, which may still be
close to the building if desired.

We can supply you with everything you need, including
tower kits and other accessories. We provide free design
for our customers, technical support and we can have the
system installed for you too.

Besides wind speed and having a location for the generator, it's
important to install proper electrical grounding for the tower and unit.

It's also generally recommended that the unit be 20 feet higher than any
structure or other item that's within 100 or so feet of the tower. This is
just a rule of thumb, and it depends on exactly what is nearby,
production expectations, etc.

Voltages available in wind generators vary from unit to unit, and some
are adjustable. Both low and high voltage models are available in
varying voltages, from 12 volts to 240 volts. We can supply you with
small, medium and large generators.

An ideal wind generator site has an average wind
speed of 15 MPH or more. This is not to say that a

site with less than a 15 MPH average isn't a
potential site. When one considers the potential output from a
generator, even at average speeds of 9 - 10 MPH, wind generators can
be more cost effective than solar modules over similar production
periods, especially since wind generators can produce over a broader
range of time - as in the day or night time.

Wind generators produce varying amounts of power depending on wind
speed. They'll usually begin to spin between 6 - 8 MPH and begin
producing useable charging amps beginning at around 10 MPH. Wind
speeds of 25 - 30 MPH are required for the generators maximum rated
output. So, you may have a breezy 10 MPH wind with short gusts of 15,
20 or 25 throughout the day and/or evening. The charging amps will
therefore vary from moment to moment, so we look at averages over a
day, week, month and year. Keep in mind that wind speed at the top of
a tower is higher than along the ground.

Wind generators can power water pumps directly when the generator and water pump are matched for such an application. This eliminates the need for storage batteries, inverters, and other components.

A wind generator must usually have a built-in governing feature where
after wind speeds exceed a certain point, the generator will begin to
slow itself down, so as not to over-speed and potentially cause damage
to the blades or alternator. Most all of the generators we sell have built-
in governing features. Some units do not require governing by design.

Some wind units like the AIR 403 and WINDSEEKER 502 & 503
have built-in battery charge regulation circuitry to prevent overcharging
your battery and eliminating the need for an external charge regulator.

A wind generator should also have a "break" or method of stopping the
unit. This is usually done with a control box and switch where the unit
is "grounded", creating sufficient drag to stop the unit on smaller
generators, rather than some sort of mechanical break like your
automobile. Much larger units may have a mechanical brake.

Since wind generators produce varying amounts of amps, only certain
items should be connected directly to this source like the previous
example of directly powering a "matched" water pump. Grid-tie is also
viable using an inverter to process the charge amps creating a "sell"
feature, however higher average wind speeds are required to make this
option cost effective.

However, when the unit's charge amps are used to power normal
120/240v appliances, equipment, etc. then a battery bank and
inverter is used. The batteries supply the total required DC amps to
the inverter for AC loads when demanded, and the generator re-
charges the batteries. In grid-tied or utility interactive systems
either all or part of the power may be sold to the utility company or
used to reduce total utility consumption. Systems which only sell
power do not require batteries when configured with a specific
"grid-tie" inverter.

Below, we've provided a very simplistic visual observation table which
gives you some idea of what various wind speeds will likely do to
things like trees, leaves, etc. Naturally, this information isn't considered
scientifically reliable, but may encourage you to consider your site for
wind power.

Visual Observations




of wind
shown by
drift, but
not by
moving a

Wind felt
on face;
by wind.

Leaves and
twigs in
extends a

light flag.


trees in
leaf begin
to sway;
form on

branches in
heard in
used with

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