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Installing a Home Wind Generator

Last Updated Oct 10, 2014 · Written by Rob Schneider

Along with solar energy, wind-generated energy is one of the best renewable sources of energy available today. In many areas, a home wind turbine can be a better choice than a solar system. Here's what you need to know about installing one.

©Mackay Renewable Energy

Installing a Home Wind Generator

A wind turbine system looks like an airplane propellor installed on top of a pole or tower. The difference is that instead of using energy, the turbine's "propellor" (rotor) produces energy as the wind forces it to turn. Since it depends entirely on wind, a home wind generator works best in areas where steady breezes can be relied upon.

In technical terms, the ideal location for a home wind generator is any area where the wind is "laminar" in flow. Laminar winds are steady and not interrupted by obstacles. Ideal locations for wind turbines are flat, rural areas and coastlines, where daily breezes come off the water. A hillside can also be a good location, but mountainous, urban and heavily forested areas create wind turbulence, which reduces the efficiency of the turbine.

There are a number of working parts in a home wind generator. Some of the most important include the following:
  1. Mast
  2. Rotors
  3. Battery
  4. Charge controller
  5. Inverter
The mast is necessary in order for the rotors to be mounted high enough to catch laminar breezes. The battery stores power, making it available when wind is not generating energy. The charge controller regulates the energy and the inverter converts DC (Direct Current) electricity into 240 volt AC (Alternating Current) electricity.

A tall mast is not always necessary. Roof-mounted wind generators with shorter masts can be just as effective in some locations. To get enough energy for all your electricity needs, you may need to have more than one mast and rotor system installed. Wind system supplier/installers usually have several models available and will be able to recommend the best system for your location.

Home wind generators can be so effective, they are often used as the sole source of electricity in rural homes not connected to the grid. Where grid energy is also available, a home wind turbine can drastically reduce your dependence on expensive and environmentally damaging grid electricity. If you want to go "off-the-grid" or minimise your reliance on mains electricity, installing a home wind generator or solar power system is the best way to do it.
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