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Solar And Wind Power For Homes

Deborah Said:

Solar Power or Wind Power?

We Answered:

That depends entirely on your site. If you have an annual wind speed of at least 10mph, and have the room for a tower that will put the turbine at least 30' above any obstacle within 300' (yes, that includes your house and trees), then you may be a candidate for wind. The higher the tower, the better. For a mid-size turbine, it is recommended to have about 1 acre of land to accommodate it.

You can go to online maps to help determine your area wind speed, but the best way to determine your speed is to measure with a wind meter where you intend to install the turbine.

You get what you pay for with wind turbines. A small turbine for under $1000 will provide very little power. Then you also need batteries and an inverter. A system that will provide significant power could cost about $10k once you figure in the tower and any other components needed.

Wind turbines also need maintenance, they are mechanical engines that take a beating from the wind. Don't plan on a set it and forget solution, they need to be inspected on a regular basis.

The size of the house has very little to do with figuring the amount of power used. Take a look at your electric bill and see how many kwh a month you buy. Use that number and the wind speed to determine the size of the turbine needed by looking at their power curves. You'll be amazed how much the output changes based on wind speed. For example, the Southwest Windpower Skystream can produce about 225kwh per month at 10mph average wind speed, and 500kwh at 14.5 mph.

You could consider a hybrid system of both solar and wind. Often, when the sun isn't shining, the wind is blowing, and visa-versa.

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