When you have your own a residential wind turbine it gives you a feeling of being in control of your destiny…finally taking charge of your energy future. It is not beyond reason to expect to become independent of your utility’s electricity grid with renewables.
The details about how renewable work are new to most people in the U.S. We of course have heard a lot in the news about the concept, but drilling down to the personal level requires a bit of research to make sure everything gets started off on the right foot. There is no one-size-fits-all plan, since every community’s rules are a little different.
The subject of this article – where you place the turbine on your property, is very crucial to a successful project.
The 2 main things you need to understand before you decide exactly where your wind turbine will be placed are:
1. How will I use the power I generate? Power my house, charge a battery, and/or connect to the electricity grid?
There are a number of ways to make use of the power you make with your wind turbine.
Perhaps the most popular way – and the cheapest – is to charge a battery with your wind power. That is the easiest thing to do because you aren’t having to get an electrical contractor involved to interconnect with the power grid.
Another way is to power your home directly, which means the installation and commissioning of a power inverter to make the voltage delivered match the voltage used in your home.
A 3rd way to make use of the electricity is to connect directly to the power grid. That way, any excess power you create can be sold back to the utility.
If that is the way you are going to go, then you need to make sure you adhere to the following guidelines to locate your new turbine in the best place on your property:
• The turbine needs to be mounted near a 3-phase electricity system in order for you to interconnect with the utility. If you make excess power over and above what you actually need, you can sell it back to the power company. The price they typically pay you is their “avoided cost” or system lambda, which is the average cost of their own generation.
• As well, you really shouldn’t install your residential wind turbine far away from where the power will be delivered. That is because of line losses. The fields that surround wires dissipate current.
2. What does your local government require regarding permitting?
Any wind turbine installation will need to comply with local zoning and permitting rules.
Local communities will have rules about the height of structures at the very least, as well as how far towers must be located from other structures. Also, federal rules will apply, like for example the Federal Aviation Administration, will have rules about the height of towers in the vicinity of airports.
In general, if you ask a lot of questions on the front end, your project will go a lot smoother and you will be producing power and becoming independent much quicker.