Due to rising energy costs and increased awareness in alternative energy sources, more and more homes and businesses are looking for renewable solutions.
Before, off-grid homes mostly existed in remote locations that had no access to gas or electricity lines.
Off-grid living is now possible, thanks to several affordable energy options, which include wind turbine technology. In retrospect, wind power is quickly rising to the top of the renewable energy list. Recent breakthroughs have allowed wind turbines to be harnessed without needing acres of space or spending thousands of dollars for one.
Green Solutions For Your Portable Devices
How does the idea of using wind power to charge your smartphone, tablet or even your laptop sound?
Wind turbines generate electricity in a fairly straightforward manner. Kinetic energy is captured when the wind moves the turbine’s blades. A shaft found inside the tower spins and generates electricity that’s stored in a generator. Then, the generator takes kinetic energy and transforms it into electricity that we can use.
Mobile phones run on electricity that’s stored in their batteries, so charging one is simply a matter of connecting the electrical energy generated by a wind turbine to a compatible charging cable. The same principle can be applied to virtually any electronic device, from tablets to audio speakers and everything in-between. You won’t have to plug your devices in the grid to charge it, thereby saving money and the environment in the process.
Solar Battery Charger kits are affordable solutions that can make off-grid living happen, providing renewable energy whenever you need anywhere you are.
Turbine power can be a great energy solution for the following:
Hiking. Enthusiasts will do well to bring the necessary equipment, including a GPS device, a digital camera or a powerbank for their hiking needs. Simply set up the wind turbine and charge your phone, powerbank or camera anytime.
Camping. Having potentially limitless energy can make camping more fun. When you’re setting up camp, make sure that the wind turbine is set up and you, your friends and family members can enjoy the convenience of electricity as if you were right at home.
Campervans, Caravans, and Trailers. Wind turbines can top off your most important electronics and small appliances to keep you comfortable.
Beach Huts. Giga’s turbine-powered generators produce electricity at the slightest breeze. It’s great for charging your devices during beach parties, powering mini-fridges or for light and heat.
Marine. A reliable energy source can be exactly what you need to safely power up electronics and navigational tools on board.
Home Wind Turbine Kits. Does the idea of getting electricity from the wind appeal to you? If so, then a capable wind turbine kit can prove to be a very reliable source of energy. A 12V domestic wind turbine equipment can deliver enough electricity to power a small household’s worth of electronic devices.
Charging through a wind turbine is similar to the trickle effect; it’s not as fast as a traditional wall outlet, but you get energy virtually anywhere. You’re not tethered to an outlet and won’t have to worry about your mobile phone showing a “battery empty” status.
Keep in mind though, that when charging small devices you shouldn’t keep them on for 100% too long or you risk shortening its lifespan. Manufacturers say that maintaining a charge status of somewhere between 65 to 90 should keep your batteries happy and functioning as they should for a longer time. Moreover, don’t keep your expensive (or lifesaving) equipment from charging overnight.
Charging systems wouldn’t be complete without a battery charge regulation device, or a charge controller. This important part of the wind turbine converts raw kinetic energy to something that’s compatible with your devices.
Have An Outbuilding? Consider Connecting To A Turbine
Your outbuilding can be one of the first of your home to be independent of the grid.
Stables, garden offices, sheds, and similar structures can be set with a dedicated wind turbine and get a reliable power source. All you’ll need is a wind turbine unit, a charge controller and 12 or 24V enabled lighting and you’re all set.
Here are some instances where a turbine fits in exactly with your power requirements:
Shed. Sheds can become a temporary safehouse with a separate, renewable energy source.
Garden. Gardens often make use of additional lighting, irrigation systems and other things to grow plants.
Garage. Whether as a home office, for DIY projects or for parking your car, garages can provide sustainable lighting and electricity for devices, power tools and more.
In The UK, Wind Energy Is More Abundant Than Solar Energy
The right kind of renewable energy actually depends on the environment, geography and several other factors. Most people would think that the sun is the most abundant source of green energy there is, but this is incorrect. In the UK, there is more wind than the sun, especially during the winter.
Let’s compare both solar and wind energy options and see which one is better for you.
For off-grid solutions using the sun’s energy, you will need photovoltaic solar panels, large-capacity batteries, and an inverter. With this setup, you can get plenty of power especially if you live in a place that gets lots of sunshine. Moreover, the lack of moving parts and a relatively small footprint is better, maintenance-wise. Cost is a huge downside, as it’s highly improbable to power a whole household using solar energy alone. You will still need to rely on the grid when the sun goes down or when clouds and rain appear.
Wind, on the other hand, is not dependent on weather, location or solar exposure variance. It certainly beats out solar come wintertime, when the nights are longer and clouds obscure the sun for days. For the wind turbine setup to work though, you’ll need a location where there are a clear airflow, few obstructions, and favourable wind direction. On remote locations and standalone outbuildings, i.e., barns, sheds, and farms, wind energy can be the perfect solution to generate the day’s energy needs.
Did you know that a whopping 40% of all the winds in Europe pass over the UK? As such, wind energy can play a huge potential when homes and businesses consider off-grid solutions.
Bottom line is, wind power can play a larger and a much more important role in bringing renewable energy to those who want it. Wind can run for longer compared to solar options (depending on location), which can save you or your business more money in the long run.
How To Set Up A Wind Turbine At Home
Wind turbine kits are easy to install, but the problem is finding out a way to make the electricity that’s generated by the turbine into a usable one.
Microturbines are used for residential properties when they want renewable sources to charge their smartphones, tablets, e-readers and more. When the wind blows, the blades start turning and activate a mechanism that generates electricity.
Keep in mind though, that the electricity generated by the micro wind turbines are DC, or direct current electricity and is unusable at this point. For this reason, inverters are installed, which “converts” DC into one that your home and electronics can use- AC, or alternating current.
The electricity that the mechanical blades generate can be used as is or stored in large capacity batteries for later use. With a battery, you can draw stored energy even when the blades aren’t turning.
How Can You Benefit From A Wind Turbine System?
Lower Energy Bills. The whole point of going off-grid is not having to rely on power plants that charge exorbitant fees to their customers. If the idea of acquiring “free electricity” appeals to you, then, by all means, consider having a microturbine installed in your home.
Less Carbon Footprint. Clean, renewable energy is great because you won’t have to acquire electricity from a power plant. The energy you get for powering your smartphone and other devices that aren’t toxic to the environment or to people.
Store Electricity 24/7. If your wind turbine system is connected to a battery then you won’t have to worry about running out of electricity on small to medium consumption.
What Does It Take To Completely Live Off-Grid Using Wind Turbines?
If you’re really serious about being completely independent of the grid and sustaining a 100% wind turbine generation, then here’s what you have to do.
First, you’ll need to decide on a remote location where wind can freely move and there aren’t any obstructions, such as trees, buildings or power lines in the way. Wind power is so much more potent in rural areas than suburban areas because it relies on a steady diet of strong winds. When you consider the fact that urban landscapes are made up of buildings, structures, and trees where wind speeds are significantly reduced, then it becomes clear that you need a place where there are less man-made creations to get more out of your setup.
You will need to measure wind speed in your current location to see if a microwind turbine installation is viable. On average, a mini turbine system will be worth the investment if you could get at least 11 mph, or 5 meters per second of wind speed consistently. Get an anemometer or similar wind measuring instrument before commissioning a microwind company. For the best results, experts recommend leaving the wind measuring device for at least 3 months up to a whole year to get an accurate reading of just how much wind your property is getting on a regular basis.
Call up your local weather service to get the average wind speeds in your area. If you get a favourable response, consider having residential-sized turbines for off-grid solutions. You can calculate just how much energy you’ll be getting simply by knowing the average wind speed and its ranges.
2 Types Of Domestic Wind Turbines
Roof Mounted Wind Turbines
Roof-mounted turbine systems are smaller in scale than mast systems and may be installed in most residences. They’re small capacity, somewhere between 1 to 2 kW but they’re not capable of powering your home where you can go completely off-grid.
There’s an option to have a larger, building-mounted turbine but you’d need the help of a professional wind turbine technician or company to see if it’s possible.
Freestanding Wind Turbines
Often known as “pole-mounted” microwind units, these turbines are set on a standalone platform on an exposed position. Potential electricity generation stands somewhere around 5 to 6 kW, which is significantly more than a roof-mounted module. This solution is viable for those who want to be independent and off the grid but they would have to pay more for it.
Size is a determining factor of how much electricity you want to generate. For homes and residential use, you can start with a 400W wind turbine system, which can collect enough electricity to power several devices and small appliances and has a four foot diameter rotor; a 900W wind turbine that has a 7-ft rotor, and a 10 kW turbine that has a 23-ft rotor standing on a 100-ft tower. Considering that most homes in cities cannot possibly accommodate a 100-ft tower, the next best choice will be the 900W option with the 7-ft rotor.
Off-grid living does sound exciting, but smart individuals will know that preparation is the key to a clean, sustainable lifestyle. Wind turbines are excellent sources of renewable energy, especially if your location experiences regular drafts and winds that can get a turbine moving. But, like solar it does have a few downsides as well.
No wind equals no movement and therefore, no electricity generated. The moving parts can eventually wear down, which calls for maintenance to keep your system in optimal condition. But the pros should more than make up for it, mainly the fact that you’re free to use free electricity and without having to pay a single penny for it. With quality wind turbine power solutions, you have a reliable backup and receive added protection that can extend the life of your devices. Indeed, living a life off-grid is good for the environment and future generations.