DIY Wind Power

DIY wind power projects can be time consuming, but are well worth the effort and time invested into them, especially once the wind begins to blow and you're generating electricity to power your home. These are some of the steps involved to creating your own home made wind power!

What do you need to do before deciding to build your own turbine? Keep reading for helpful tips on how to get started.

Assess Your Site for Homebuildt Wind Generator Power

The first thing you need to do is to assess your desired site to determine whether or not it is suitable for a wind turbine.

  1. Do you have enough wind? Any area that experiences wind speeds of at least 12 MPH is a great location for a residential wind turbine. Local wind maps are an excellent resource for finding out what the average wind speed is in your area within the last 12 months. Why is average wind speed important? Because that number will determine whether or not your wind turbine will generate the power you need on your site.

  2. Do you have a lot of tall trees, mountains, or buildings that would inhibit wind from reaching the wind turbine on a regular basis?

  3. Where would you locate your turbine? An ideal location would be one that is a minimum of 300 feet from any other natural or man-made obstruction.

  4. How far away from the actual turbine site will the cables be? The answer to this question determines cable costs and other possible costs of installation.

The best way to know whether or not your chosen location will actually generate the desired power is to conduct a simple experiment. Erect a makeshift tower to the height your wind turbine will be. Mount an anemometer atop the tower and record wind speed readings for one year. You could contract this out, but it could cost you up to $4,000.

What You Need for Building DIY Wind Power

You'll need to decide what design you'll use for your turbine - horizontal or vertical axis. The choice between direct drive and geared turbines is also important. Most residential turbines sport 3 blades, but you could perhaps have 1, 2, or even more, depending on your specific application.

  • Motor or generator - choose a motor that will generate over 12 volts of power while operating at a low rpm and generating a high current. A motor that is rated specifically for high DC voltage is your best bet.

  • Blades - make your own from PVC pipe, wood, or metal, but make sure the size of the blades is proportionate to the motor you've chosen.

  • Mounting for the turbine - the mounting should be situated so that the turbine is pointed into the direction of the wind.

  • Tower - the tower should be a minimum of 40 feet into the air, but can be higher depending on the geographical lay of the land.

  • A battery backup system - this is a key component. If you don't have a backup system, you'll lose any excess power the turbine is generating, which means when you need power the most (when the wind isn't blowing), there won't be any!

  • Basic tools and perhaps welding equipment to put it all together!

Is DIY Wind Power Easy to Build and Install?

The skills required to build your own residential wind turbine are relatively simple. If you're handy with tools and do-it-yourself projects already, then this type of project shouldn't be a huge leap for you. It's possible that a bit of welding may be involved, but that is a skill you can learn. Perhaps you know someone who is familiar with welding - don't be afraid to ask for help. A small turbine typically takes two weekends or so to complete.

Most of the parts can be found at your local hardware store, at the local junkyard, Craigslist, or on eBay. You never know where you might find free or inexpensive parts for your turbine design.

Installing the wind turbine is easy enough as far as mounting, but make sure to hire a contractor for connecting the cables and power to ensure it meets code.

Advantages of DIY Wind Power

  • Save money

  • Build the size you need

  • Low maintenance

Drawbacks of Homemade Wind Power

  • Wind doesn't always blow

  • Batteries will need rewired now and then

Can you build a turbine yourself? Be patient and learn as much as you can beforehand and you'll be surprised at what you can accomplish. Then you'll love it when the electric bill arrives and it is less than it's ever been!

DIY Wind Manual and Instruction Books

There are some useful Do it Yourself Wind Power manuals that provide step by step instructions, and can be useful in shortening your learning curve. My favorite is How to Build a Wind Generator which is written by a couple that has been living off the grid for over 15 years, and who built their own diy wind power generator.

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