Wind Power Projects

You will find good material here on how to evaluate your site for wind power (very important), how wind systems work, how to size a wind system for your needs, and lots of information on DIY and homemade wind turbines and  commercial systems.

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Watch Out For Wind Turbine Power Ratings:
The power ratings usually given by the manufacturers for wind turbines are nearly useless, in that they are determined at wind speeds much higher that you will normally see.  A good rough formula to keep in mind in evaluating different wind turbines is: 


Annual Output
(KWH/year) = 0.01328 (D^2) (V^3)     source...

Where D^2 is the blade diameter in feet squared, and V^3 is the wind velocity cubed in mph  -- this is the year round average wind speed -- see wind maps below.Wind turbine energy production

So, a 10 ft diameter wind turbine in 12 mph average winds might produce about (0.01328)(10^2)(12^3) = 2300 KWH/year

 Note that the energy produced is proportional to the cube of wind speed -- having enough average wind speed is everything in wind turbines.  Use the wind maps discussed below and a wind survey of your site to determine if a wind turbine will actually payoff.

The graph is of the wind energy equation shown above for various wind speeds and turbine blade diameters.  ---------------------------------------------->

See also: Solar and WIND water pumping ...

 


ARE wind turbine in Oregon          photo by J. Hall

Wind Power Basics
Step One -- Avoid the scams There are some very heavily advertised guides for sale on the Internet in the $50 range that promise that you can make a small wind turbine that will provide "80%" of your homes power for a couple hundred dollars. 

You can be sure that anyone making these kinds of claims is a scammer -- don't waste your money.  You will find plenty of free information below for reputable sources.
Wind Power for Dummies,
Ian Woofenden, 2009

 

If you are interested in a wind turbine installation for your house, this is probably the best $20 you can spend.

Ian is a very long time wind expert -- he does wind workshops from his wind powered home in the San Juan's, and has been the wind expert/editor/author for Home Power for many years. 

The book covers the whole process of investigating whether wind is workable for you, how to find the right wind turbine and tower, and all the rest.  The best getting started reference you will find.

Small Wind Electric System -- U.S. Consumer's Guide,
Wind & Hydropower Technologies Program,
EERE

www.eere.energy.gov ,,,

A US consumer wind guide, as well as guides for many state.  Other wind publications as well

A good guide for residential size wind turbines.  Covers restrictions on locations, wind required for good performance, sizing turbine to meet your needs, cost and economic return.

The state guides include wind maps for the state in question.

Wind-Electric Systems simplified,
Ian Woofenden

 

How to get articles from Home Power ...

Home Power Magazine issue 110, Dec/Jan 2006.  A  introduction to the various types wind powered electric generating systems and the components that make them up.
Wind Turbine Buyer's Guide,
Mick Sagrillo,  Ian Woofenden

How to get articles from Home Power ...

 

Home Power magazine article, issue 143, June/July 2011.  A very good article from two recognized wind power experts that  provides some good and realistic advice for people thinking about a wind turbine .    Covers all the basics, and provides a rundown on wind turbine models available in the US/Canada. 
If you are serious about wanting to install a wind turbine that will generate the amount of energy you expect, and will not be a nightmare to maintain, this article is a must.

The other critical item that is not covered in detail is making sure your site has sufficient wind to make a wind turbine work -- this is covered in articles below.
Wind Power -- Renewable Energy for Home, Farm, and Business

Paul Gipe's web site:
www.wind-works.org

 

Wind Power, 2004 edition, Paul Gipe

An excellent, all around, in depth book on wind power.

Paul Gipe's website has a lot of good articles and reference material.

Got Wind?  -- How to use  the Wind Resource Atlas of the United States

Another US set of wind maps:
www.eere.energy.gov
and, another:
www.eere.energy.gov...
(has some more detailed maps for NW)

Similar for Canada:
http://www.windatlas.ca/en/index.php

Got Wind? -- Using the wind resource atlas The Wind Resource Atlas of the United States will give you a rough idea if you are in a locations with wind potential -- here is how to use it.
NREL Wind Turbine Payback Spreadsheet

www.eere.energy.gov ...

(Thanks to Derek for relocating the lost link to this useful tool)

 

Spread sheet estimates economic return wind turbine installationThis spread sheet from NREL allows you estimate the economic return from a wind turbine on your site.  You enter information on your wind turbine, your site, and financing -- it provides a graph of cash flows over time.  You will need a good estimate of the average wind on your site, and the cost to install  to get useful numbers from this spreadsheet.
Site Analysis for Wind Generators

Mick Sagrillo

How to get articles from Home Power ....

Site analyis for wind generatorsHomePower Magazine article, issues 40 and 41

The most important factor in determining if you can successfully use wind power is how much wind you have.  This is not an easy thing to determine -- this article tells you how.

Scoraig Wind -- Hugh Piggott's Homepage

http://www.scoraigwind.com/

Scoraig wind -- DIY wind turbine informationHugh Piggott's excellent web site on building wind generators.  Plans and design  information on building a wind generators from scratch.  Plans, books, workshops, ....

The "Windpower Workshop" book gets very good reviews from people who want to build their own (as do his actual workshops).

Anatomy of A Wind Turbine,
Ian Woofenden, Hugh Piggott,
 

How to get articles from Home Power ...

Home Power Magazine article, issue 116
A good basics article explaining the internals of a wind turbine.   Good to understand whether you want to build one or buy one.
The American Wind Energy Association

http://www.awea.org/

A good reference website for wind power.  Some valuable materials for people interested in small wind systems.
Lots of good material.
Apples and Oranges 2002 -- Choosing a Home-Sized Wind Generator
Mike Sagrillo

How to get articles from Home Power ...

Home Power magazine article, issue 90

Some good advice on choosing a home size wind generator from the guru.  Lots of comparison specifications for numerous commercial wind generator offerings.

Tower Economics 101, 102 and 103

Mick Sagrillo

How to get articles from Home Power ....

Wind turbine towers analysisHomePower Magazine article, issues 37 -- 39

Very good article on the economic benefits of using a tall tower, and how to decide how tall.

Harvest the Wind

Michael Hackleman and Claire Anderson

Mother Earth News

http://www.motherearthnews.com

Mother Earth News Article, Issue 192

Good introduction to determining if a wind system will work for you, and the important elements of a wind system.

Kid Wind

http://www.kidwind.org/

 

 

A site intended for students wanting to learn about wind power, but lots of good materials anyone interested in wind power -- including lots of hands on building projects.
Ontario Landowner's Guide to Wind Energy" (free download)

Paul Gipe and Jame Murphy

http://www.ontario-sea.org/

 

 

A guide for land owners considering installing one or more large wind turbines on their land. 
Logging Wind Velocity
These gadgets log wind speeds over an extended period to see if you have enough wind to make a wind generator pay off.
Jarvis (and other) Wind Data Logger

Backwoods Solar (and select "Windmills"):
www.BackwoodsSolar.com

APRS World, LLC:
http://www.aprsworld.com/products/

Jarvis wind data logger will record wind over an extended period for import to a PC spread sheet.  You can then calculate what a particular windmill model will deliver.  About $180.
Inspeed Wind Speed/Direction Loggers

 

www.inspeed.com/wind_data_logging/Default.asp

 

Several options for measuring and logging wind speed and direction.  Some are kits.

Some of the solutions require a PC to be on at all times to log data, so you would want to have a very low power use PC.
 

Piclog - PicAxe based Wind Logger

www.thebackshed.com/Windmill/PicLog.asp

 

This is a wind logger based on the PicAxe microprocessor chip that you can build yourself.  It interfaces to a PC to store and view the data.

Another PicAxe based logger with built in data storage ...

Windmeter/Anemometer by Infidigm

http://www.infidigm.net/projects/windmeter/

 

DIY windmeter to measure and record wind speeds.   The experts recommend measuring wind speed at your site for a year before investing in a wind turbine.  Here is one way to do it.

Another option is to install of the small wind turbines (like a Air X) and use it to see how much power a larger wind turbine would generate. 

DIY Windmill Plans and Information
Scoraig Wind -- Hugh Piggott's Homepage

http://www.scoraigwind.com/

Hugh Piggott's excellent web site on building wind generators.  Plans and design  information on building a wind generators from scratch.  Plans, books, workshops, ....

The "Windpower Workshop" book gets very good reviews from people who want to build their own (as do his actual workshops).

OtherPower.com

http://www.otherpower.com/otherpower_wind.html

www.otherpower.com/otherpower_experiments.html

http://www.otherpower.com/otherpower_wind_tips.html

http://www.otherpower.com/17page1.html

Quite a source of nitty-gritty detailed information on building wind generators.  Many projects described.
Homebrew Wind Power,
Dan Bartmann and Dan Fink, 2009, 320 pages

 

http://www.forcefieldmagnets.com/...

 

The Dan's website -- consulting, training, seminars...

And, Dan F blogs here...

A very good new book from the two Dans that run the OtherPower.com website (just above). The book gives very detailed instructions on how to build a 10 ft wind turbine.  The design of the turbine is one that the Dans have perfected over the years.   Complete instructions are included for building the alternator, furling tail assembly, and carving the blades.  All of these part designs benefit for years of refinement and many workshops.  Most of the parts for the turbine can be locally purchased, while some of the more difficult to find parts can be purchased from OtherPower.  The book also covers scaling their design to other sizes, tower construction, and wind generator theory.  More than of 300 pages of kind of information you only get through long experience and many builds.  I would not try building a wind generator without reading this book and the Piggott books first.
Building a 10 ft Piggott/Otherpower style wind turbine

www.fieldlines.com/story/2009/4/4/214533/4539

 

A good set of pictures on building the Piggott/Otherpower style wind turbine.
 

Quite a bit of detail in the photos.
This is an Otherpower Diaries entry.

Tom's 5.5 KW, 20 ft diameter wind turbine and 140 ft tilt-up tower

Full construction details...

 

Tom Sullivan's 20 ft diameter, 5.5KW  wind turbine and a 140ft tall gin-pole tower. 
The turbine is Tom's version of a Prairie Technologies 5.5KW, grid tie, AC turbine. 
The 140 ft tower was completely designed and built by Tom.
Quite a project!

 

 

Full details ...

DIY Windmills from The Back Shed

www.thebackshed.com/windmill/default.asp


Detailed plans for a DIY windmill with a minimum of special parts and tools

 

 

This is a terrific site for build it yourself windmill information, and getting better all the time.   It includes very detailed picture plans for a moderate size windmill based on the Fisher Paykel motor.  The plans use standard steel sections, and a require a minimum in the way of special tools.

Oct 09: this site gets better and better -- a great collection of material on home built wind machines.

"Now for the Wind Turbine" 
 

www.rockriver.us

 

 

 

A very good personal website on designing and installing a PV and wind system that is grid tied with battery backup.

Lots of detail and helpful information on design, choosing components, installing, wiring, towers, suppliers, permitting, ...
How I home-built an electricity producing Wind turbine

www.mdpub.com/Wind_Turbine/index.html

 

Mike shows the details on how he built his 4 ft wind turbine using a  surplus DC motor for the generator.  Full details are provided on the construction, as well as a number of useful design information links.  Total cost was $140.
Wind Stuff Now

http://www.windstuffnow.com/main/

 

 

Good personal site on DIY wind generator design and build.  Several projects described, program for wind generator sizing. 

An interesting site with new "stuff" added frequently.

Kits for small DIY windturbines.

The Lenz2 turbine in picture at right is an ongoing project that was featured in Popular Science.  --->
Building a Wind Generator From Scratch,
Chuck Morrison

http://wind.morrisonprairie.com/WindMachine.html

 

 

A very nice set of picture plans and text guidance for building a 7 ft diameter wind generator.

Very detailed.

Wind Blue Power

http://www.windbluepower.com/

Here is a series of videos for a wind gen built from the WindBlue alternator rotor:
Part 1 ...
Part 2 ...
Part 3 ...

WindBlue sells full windmill kits as well as a selection of parts to make windmills -- including alternators, blades, tails, charge controllers, ...
One nice thing about this site is that they are honest about the output of their windmill kit ...
Maine-Built Windmills From Scratch
Everett Russell

How to get articles from Home Power ...

Home Power Magazine article, issue 79

Good article on building wind generator system from scratch from someone who has been doing it since 1937.

Dragon Fly Wind Generator Plans/Kit

http://dragonflypower.com/DragonBlerb.htm

 

Inexpensive plans for a 9ft diameter wind generator.  Kits for some of the part also offered. 
Colorado Wind Power

www.coloradowindpower.com

 

A good "how to" on making what appear to be strong, lightweight composite wind turbine blades.

Other material on this site of interest to DIYers, including making wood blades, stators, ...

 

 

Wind Odyssey
Dick Anderson
 

How to get articles from Home Power ...

Home Power Magazine article, issue 82

Very nice article on rebuilding an Enertech 1800 wind generator.  Lots of detail on what's involved in a project like this.

Prototype 10 KW Wind Turbine

Plans for 10 KW Wind Turbine (pdf)

(Thanks to Tom for re-finding this link)

What appears to be a very professionally designed, large, home built wind turbine.
Blade Carving 101
 

www.fieldlines.com/story/2007/3/8/13649/79230

www.fieldlines.com/story/2006/11/21/204217/60

 

Quite a detailed how-to on laying out and carving wood wind turbine   blades.

And, details on the 14 ft diameter wind turbine that the author build

Old Jacobs -- Current Again
Peter Kuebeck

How to get articles from Home Power ...
Home Power Magazine article, issue 89

Good article on restoring used Jacobs wind generators.

Total Homebrew -- starting small to learn the basics

Michael Lew

How to get articles from Home Power ....

Home Power Magazine, issue #82

Good article on an all DIY very small scale wind generator system.

Old Jacobs -- Current Again
Peter Kuebeck

How to get articles from Home Power ...

 

Home Power Magazine article, issue 89

Good article on restoring used Jacobs wind generators.

Prairie Turbines Breezy 5.5

http://www.prairieturbines.com/

 

 

Prairie Turbines sells plans for a 5.5 KW wind turbine.

 

The turbine is said to produce about 3 KW at 12 mph wind speed.  And, that it can be built for about $4000.

The Wood 103 -- A wooden 100 Watt Wind Generator

How to get articles from Home Power ...

Home Power Magazine article, issue 88

Being a woodworker, I really liked this article.  It looks like a good way for one with woodworking skills to experiment with wind power generation.

Wind Generator from Fisher Paykel Washing Machine

www.yourgreendream.com/diy_instructions.php

 

Detailed instructions on turning the motor from a Fisher Pakel washing machine into a wind turbine alternator from the Your Green Dream website.
Because of its unique construction, this motor makes a good alternator.
Wind Power Applications
Betting the Farm -- Wind electricity Pays Off
Fischer

How to get articles from Home Power ...
Home Power magazine article, issue 96

Description of grid intertied medium size wind generation system.  Details economics, planning and installation.

Wind Power History
Visit to Veldkamps Meul'n in Bellingwolde

 

http://greenbits.com/ ...

 

Fascinating pictures of an 1885  wind mill and all the internal mill machinery.

20 meter diameter, 4 blade traditional Dutch design.

Still in operation.

A Sampling of Wind Generator Suppliers
(listed alphabetically -- I have no direct experience with any of these suppliers -- so, beware!)
ARE Wind Turbines

www.abundantre.com/ARE_Wind_Turbines.htm

 

Supplier of 12ft and 24 ft diameter wind turbines.
Bergey Wind Turbines

http://www.bergey.com/

 

 

 

A well known supplier of small wind turbines.
Eoltec Wind Turbines

http://www.eoltec.com/


www.pineridgeproducts.com

Makers of an 18 ft rotor diameter wind turbine.
Evance Wind

www.evancewind.com
Evance R9000 wind turbineEvance Wind is a UK company that makes the 19 ft diameter R9000 wind turbine.
Fortis Wind Energy

www.fortiswind.com/
Fortis Wind TurbinesFortis is a Dutch company that makes three wind turbine models ranging from the 10 ft diameter Passaat to the 23 ft diameter Alize.
Gaia-Wind

www.gaia-wind.com
Gaia wind turbineGaia-Wind is a UK company that makes a 43 ft diameter two blade horizontal axis wind turbine.
Jacobs Wind Turbines

 

http://www.windturbine.net/products.htm

 

A revival of the famous Jacobs wind turbines that were so popular and durable in the 20's.
Kestrel Wind Turbines

www.dcpower-systems.com

 

Supplier of wind turbines with rotors ranging from 5 ft to 12ft diameter.
Mariah Power Windspire 1 KWH Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

http://mariahpower.com...

 

An Article from The Energy Blog...

 

A soon to be available vertical axis wind turbine.

It is 30 ft high by 2 ft wide with guy wires.  It is anchored in a concrete foundation.

Said to produce 1900 KWH per year with an average 12 mph wind.  Said to be very quiet.
Price $4000.

Proven Energy Wind Turbines

http://www.provenenergy.com/

 

Manufacturers of a line of wind turbines ranging from 8 to 30 ft rotor diameter.
quietrevolution Wind Turbines

www.quietrevolution.com

 

 

A new vertical axis design that is targeted for urban locations.
Raum Energy

http://www.raumenergy.com
Raum 1.5 wind turbineRaum Energy is a Canadian company that makes 1.5 KW and a 3.5 KW wind turbines.

Said to emphasize reliability and ease of installation.
Southwest Windpower

www.windenergy.com

 

A well know supplier of small wind turbines ranging up to 15 ft rotor diameter.
Skystream 3.7 Wind Turbine from Southwest Windpower

www.windenergy.com/products/skystream

 

This is kind of the opposite of Do-It-Yourself, but I thought it was interesting.
The Skystream is a 12 ft diameter turbine that is designed for grid connected residential use.  It comes as a package that includes all the electronics and grid tie inverter.   Kind of a plug-and-play wind turbine.  It claims to be designed to fit into residential areas -- low noise, street lamp type tower, ...   About $15,000 plus installation.  It is said to produce 400 KWH per month in winds averaging 12.3 mph. 
Some problems have been reported with low power output, so make sure this has been sorted out, and that you understand roughly how much power will be produced in your particular installation.
XZERES Wind

http://www.xzeres.com
XZERES Wind TurbineXZERES makes a 12 ft model 110 and a 24 ft diameter model 442SR horizontal axis wind turbines.
New Designs
The Energy Ball

www.home-energy.com/engels/ebv100.htm

www.homeenergyamericas.com ... North America

 

An interesting new wind turbine design.

Said to be quiet and efficient.  Appears to be well made.  About $5600.

 

(Thanks to Jeff for suggesting this)

Water Pumping Windmills
There is a section on water pumping windmills here... Lots of information on functional and beautiful water pumping windmills.