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25.03.2014
QUICK NEWS: German solar PV firm Q-Cells has announced that one of its projects, which will be the largest solar power park in Europe, will be completed and sending electricity to about 22,500 Germans near Berlin by the end of 2011. The solar park is a 91-MW facility with 383,000 solar modules and is located on what was once the Brandenburg-Briest airbase. Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter. Zachary Shahan is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time.
Bringing together business, government, NGOs, and academia, to examine the concept of sustainability.
CleanTechnica is the #1 cleantech-focused news & analysis website in the US & the world, focusing primarily on electric cars, solar energy, wind energy, & energy storage. First establish whether you have sufficient wind in your area to make an installation viable.  You will need specialist tools to gauge this  accurately and you may choose to hire someone to do this for you. Find out how much energy you currently use so you know what size turbine to consider.  Your current energy provider can help you interpret your energy bill.
Do a basic energy audit and see if you can insulate your home better to reduce energy consumption. It is still worthwhile doing some research into home wind turbines even if you employ a commercial supplier to educate yourself as to the suitability of the products that may be recommended. Liquid batteries are being touted as superior because they are cheaper to create, last longer, and their electrodes allow the liquid to absorb large quantities of energy quickly. Small domestic installation use a bank of batteries, often in series, to provide backup, as this video shows. The European aim is to build handball size storage facilities, to store sufficient power for up to 2000 households overnight.
Dommelvalley Green Power installation of a 1.8kW Skystream Wind Turbine in Utopia, Ontario, Canada.
The cost of energy has encouraged Dr Fernandez to move to windmills to generate power to become more self sufficient, and here he discusses his use of small wind turbines. Interest in small wind energy is on the rise in the US, as people are looking for ways to seize control of their own energy supply. Where you place your home wind turbine is vital for the success or failure of your project.  You need to do extensive investigation on the amount of wind available and the speed of that wind. Towers to support your home wind turbine are a major consideration and should be as tall as possible. In terms of payback time domestic wind turbine installations and in particular DIY installations, offer better payback times than say, solar. Wind turbines arrived in the wake of the introduction of electricity and  they represent the latest and most exciting use of wind power.  As small–scale wind systems for home use have developed, the interest in the DIY potential of such systems has also increased. In principle, home wind turbines of an appropriate size can, or at least should be allowed to be installed anywhere; at the home, on the farm, in your rural garden, by your caravan, on your boat. Further, as is the case in some countries, you may not be allowed to install a larger wind turbine on a DIY basis. So what size turbine are we likely to be allowed to put, where, and how much is it likely to cost? If you want to power a country home, again a minimum requirement would probably be a pair of Bergey XL.1 turbines working in tandem. My own favourite system is at a medium sized farm house, one that I had some involvement in, in Ireland.
It is not unusual for a homemade wind turbine system to have more than one wind turbine involved. Average manageable size turbines for home installation would be in the 100 – 1000 watt range.
Marlec’s FM1803 turbine is also a good turbine example at the lower end of the scale. At the high end of the same scale we have the ‘Bergey XL.1, from a well established and highly experienced wind turbine manufacturer.
Turbines is this range all make noise in one form or another, be it a ‘swishing’ or a ‘slapping’ sound, especially at and above their design wind speed. Nonetheless all these turbines lend themselves perfectly to any homemade wind turbine project and installed in compliance with the manufacturers recommendations will give many years of consistent power output in all weathers. Having studied the site location issues and being satisfied that your site is favourable for a home wind energy project, we can proceed to the selection of components.
A host of websites give the impression that ‘almost anyone’ can build a wind turbine, many of them with their ‘buy my plans’ and similar sales agendas. Almost all wind turbines aimed at the home wind energy market are configured for 12 or 24 volt DC battery bank charging. Next comes the decidedly important steel guy wires for tower support and for this I would ideally head to a boat yard and source premium quality stranded wire used for masts.
Hardware stores can be a great source for fittings, fixings, wiring, fusing, multi-meters and tooling etc. The question often arises as to whether there are distinct power output differences between a reputable commercial turbine and DIY turbines. Whilst the use of wind power has provided man with energy and power in some form or other throughout the ages, to day there are three main categories of wind machine in use to serve our needs. In pursuit of this interest, the enthusiast soon learned that there was more involved than simply erecting a wind turbine.


As with most technologies for the home what one is prepared to invest will decide how successful the project is likely to be. Being exposed to, and harnessing the power of the wind, installation sturdiness needs to be given serious consideration. The water turbine (also known as a hydro turbine or hydraulic turbine) was developed in the nineteenth century and was widely used for industrial power prior to electrical grids. The main shortcoming of the water wheel is size, which limits the flow rate and head that can be harnessed. Development occurred during the Industrial revolution, using scientific principles and methods. The precise shape of hydraulic turbine blades is a dependant on the supply pressure of water, and the type of impeller selected.
Following is a list of water turbines divided into two groups - reaction turbines and impulse turbines.
Reaction turbines are acted on by water, which changes pressure as it moves through the turbine and gives up its energy.
They must be encased to contain the water pressure, or they must be fully submerged in the water flow.
Prior to hitting the turbine blades, the water pressure is converted to kinetic energy by a nozzle and focused on the turbine. Turbine selection is based mostly on the available water head, and less so on the available flow rate.
In general, impulse turbines are used for high head sites, and reaction turbines are used for low head sites. Kaplan turbines with adjustable blade pitch are well-adapted to wide ranges of flow or head conditions, since their peak efficiency can be achieved over a wide range of flow conditions. Very large Francis and Kaplan machines usually have vertical shafts because this makes best use of the available head, and makes installation of a generator more economical.
Pelton wheels may be either vertical or horizontal shaft machines because the size of the machine is so much less than the available head.
Some impulse turbines use multiple water jets per runner to increase specific speed and balance shaft thrust. The water turbine is generally considered a clean power producer, as the turbine causes essentially no change to the water. Dams alter the natural ecology of rivers, potentially killing fish, stopping migrations, and disrupting peoples' livelihoods. Dams also cause less obvious, but potentially serious consequences, including increased evaporation of water, build up of silt behind the dam, and changes to water temperature and flow patterns. In the United States, it is now illegal to block the migration of fish so fish ladders must be provided by dam builders.
The water turbine plays a significant role in reducing our reliance on traditional fossil fuel derived electricity.
More photos of solar energy technology and facilities are available for free at The Photographic Information eXchange, also known as PIX, a collection of photographs related to renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and the work of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). After years of covering solar and EVs, he simply had a lot of faith in these companies and felt like they were good companies to invest in.
It is part of Important Media -- a network of 20 progressive blogs working to make the world a better, greener place. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc., its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries. If your site is among trees or surrounded by steep hills, it is unlikely to be useful for wind power.  It is best if your site is flat or with hills that are far away from trees and other obstacles. BUT, take into account that with very active moving parts and towers dependent on, and subjected to the harshest of wind conditions, the maintenance cost factor will be far greater. One or more Bergey XL.1, 1 kilowatt turbines is a good choice for a DIY wind power project on a farm, to supply outhouses, barns etc with power.
Cooking is done with gas, heating by two wood and peat fired stoves, (in turn feeding four radiators) and ‘air conditioning’ provided by open windows and the occasional use of fans. At the low end of the scale the ‘Air-Breeze’ is one of the most popular and efficient small turbines on the market to-day.
With a rotor diameter of eight feet it is rated at 1,000 watts at a design speed of around 25 miles per hour. If the turbines are installed a proper distance from a residence, this should not present any real problem. There is no need to consider ‘kits’ for the general component requirements for your home wind energy system, and no real cost saving in doing so, except perhaps at micro turbine level.
Failing that a construction yard serving utility and telephone companies is also likely to have sound quality, (if thicker) stranded wire. To day they represent the latest and most exciting use of wind power – and as small–scale wind systems for home use developed, interest in homemade wind turbine potential went hand in hand with it. As with solar, important site considerations have to be considered; the most important being the site’s exposure to the wind. You are likely to get mixed views from different officials and in the writers experience your will rarely get the same answers from the different local authority offices you call on.
Those pictures can be expanded to full size (with scroll bars) by clicking on '+' with Firefox or the 'expand' button with Internet Explorer.
They also made extensive use of new materials and manufacturing methods developed at the time.


The Kaplan or propeller type turbines can be mounted at almost any angle, but this is usually vertical or horizontal. Also most governments want to have some control over our energy supply; and to take any credit for going renewable.
So, the owners have a potential rated output of just 1 kilowatt, which generally gives them 2-3 kilowatt hours per day – more than enough to cover their requirements, and incidental needs that may crop up. First versions of it were produced in the early nineties and it has developed and progressed to become the most often sighted small turbine on land and sea. It’s a powerful machine for its size, well able for winter storms and like the ‘Air Breeze’ offers relative ease of installation in your own homemade wind turbine project. Weighing in at 104 pounds, assembly and installation is manageable but more manpower input and care is required . An inverter is then used to convert the stored energy to 110 or 220 volts AC for household supply.
But obviously more specialist suppliers are best for control systems, quality DC breakers etc.
The commercially produced turbine will almost always outclass the DIY turbine, even if only on its weather proofing features.
I am opposed to commercial wind-farms for many reasons, but mainly for their negative impact and visual pollution of our commonly owned landscapes and seascapes. If objections are raised they are most likely to relate to visual and noise considerations, so if the turbine is sited too close to a neighbour, bear in mind the possibility of a complaint to the local authority from that quarter. The writer has seen DIY wind turbines disintegrate – and in one case, an entire turbine head catapulted 200 feet from a freestanding tower. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. In fact if your back garden is in a housing estate, you will probably be allowed no more than a mini turbine – at a push. Equally standard air-conditioning units should be counted out; and to further enhance you cost effectiveness, cooking ideally should be done by gas. Having two or three turbines allows the use of turbines of a more manageable size and weight; the bigger the turbine the greater the weight, rotor diameter etc. With a rotor diameter of four feet, it is rated at 160 watts at 28 mph, with an impressive start up speed of just 6 mph.
All in all, this wind turbine is a powerful battery charger and is perfect for small off-grid homes and the like. Have the yard make up the approximate wire lengths you require, complete with professionally crimped eyelets at one end for shackling to sleeve anchor points on the tower. On the other hand I find the privately owned small home wind energy turbine both aesthetically pleasing and very comforting. A flat or elevated open area is best with trees and other obstacles being well away from the turbine. So DIY wind power is not always as simple as it sounds as sometimes the application mechanism and associated ‘red tape’ can be more exhausting than the installation. The truth is that whilst on the surface, officialdom won’t be publically seen to discredit your quest for clean energy it still does not want you to be independent of the ‘system’.
Then of course you have the additional costs for your tower, batteries and ancillary equipment, which could almost double your outlay, especially if a quality inverter is involved.
So, carefully evaluating your needs, and working towards optimum energy efficiency is directly related to keeping you system cost down, and you sense of satisfaction up. It is an ideal start-up turbine for the small home and lends itself well to ‘modularity’ in that one or two others may be added with ease as need, time and funds allow.
How often I read: ”just nip on down to your local scrap yard and pick up your parts………!” Sounds so easy?
Galvanised steel pipe or scaffolding is the accepted ideal, with a diameter ranging from 2 to 6 inches depending on the turbine make, size and weight.
Good quality wire bulldog grips (2-3 at each end) may then be used at the ground anchor ends to allow for adjustment, particularly if a tilt-up gin pole is to be used.
This can be bothersome and is one reason why I would never install a larger turbine on a house roof.
The biggest consideration in having multiple turbines is, of course that you always have a standby if one turbine fails or needs inspection.
For most of us, there is more than enough DIY work on the tower, the careful assembly of the purchased turbine, putting it all with together with care; and then successfully erecting it. Because you are dealing with wind and likely strong wind, wind turbines need to be sturdy and well secured. Yes, the apparent story behind the restrictions is often more than the real story behind the restrictions.
An added incentive is that ‘economy of scale’ losses, in wind turbine cost factors are not excessive. I would never consider a roof mounting, but a tower fixed to the side of a barn with sound U bolts is not a bad idea. If you are constructing your own tower, I would check with a builder and engineer- there is no point in investing in an expensive turbine, only to have the motor blown off its housings or have the entire tower collapse in a gale.



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