WIND

Are these prices for real?!
Yes, these are real prices! I think you call it 'ethical pricing'! It is a full kit - the only
thing you will need apart from this is cement for the foundations. and  batteries
which,I can supply  (120Ah deep-cycle batteries,  battery hook-up wires, stock
are extremely good. Unfortunately, as there are a lot of over-priced wind turbines
for sale, it seems too good to be true - so if you are thinking this, feel free to
come and have a look at the turbines before you buy - you can take one away
with you if you decide you like it.

What the dimensions for the various turbines?
The dimensions are as follows:
200W 2m diameter, 4m tower
300W 2.5m diameter, 6m tower
500W 2.7m diameter, 6m tower
1kW 3.0m diameter, 6m tower

What power wind turbine do I need to power my house?
How do I know?! It depends on the wind available and the amount of electricity
that you use. Neither is something that I can determine. I can provide some
guidance however

Does your wind turbine produce 1kW per hour or per day?
You are confusing power (kW) and energy (kWh). The wind turbine power is
measured in kW - this means the rate at which it produces renewable energy. If
you measure the amount of energy produced by the wind turbine in a given time
e.g. in a day, you would do so in kWh (kW hours). So if the turbine ran at full
power (2kW) for 4 hours, then it would produced 2kWx4=8kWh of energy.
Another example is a 100W light bulb. This uses 0.1kW of power when it is
running. If the light was lit for 5hours, then it would use 0.1 x 5hours = 0.5kWh of
energy

Do I need planning permission?
Planning requirements vary from one area to another. Most planning
departments will require planning consent for structures over 4m high. However,
planning should not be required for temporary structures - and many people have
successfully argued that a tilt-up tower is a temporary structure, as it can be
lowered to the ground when not in use. The same applies for mounting the
turbine on any kind of moveable structure, such as a trailer, light gantry,
cherry-picker or forklift.
If planning consent is sought, it is normally granted without problems.
Approximately 95% of customers do not bother with planning permission, and
this does not normally cause problems. You can always apply retrospectively, if
required to do so.

Where should I site the wind turbine?
The turbine should be sited far enough away from living and sleeping areas so
as not to cause disturbance. Consideration should also be given to neighbours
in this respect - after all, they will not be reaping the free electricity from the wind
turbine! Generally the wind turbine should be at least 6m (for 4m towers) or 8m
(for 6m towers) from the house. To ensure safety, the tower should be sited away
from buildings, cars and play-areas etc. so that no damage will occur to property
if the tower should fall for any reason. You should not allow anyone to come within
7m of the tower whilst the wind turbine is operating, or during windy weather, for
safety reasons. Some companies advocate mounting a wind turbine on a rooftop
or gable end. This is strongly discouraged by most installers for the following
reasons: vibration will carry through the building structure and exaggerate noise
inside the building; the building structure may be weakened by constant
vibration, unless a very small turbine is used; planning consent is much less likely
for roof-mounted turbines and the turbulence associated with a roof will reduce
performance and lifespan
In terms of performance, the wind turbine should be mounted in an open position
away from trees, buildings or any other structures. The turbine should be
mounted as high as practical, and with clear views to the prevailing wind. If
possible, the turbine should be located on a hilltop, or ridge on the side exposed
to the prevailing winds. Not all locations can provide ideal positions for wind
turbines, but even theoretically poor sites can yield adequate results, although
you may experience lower outputs.

How much noise do these make?
Wind turbines are not silent, but nor are conventional power sources (think of
petrol or diesel generators!). The wind turbines make a swishing noise, caused
by turbulence around the blades. This is not particularly loud, and often the noise
of the wind itself and of trees buffeting in the wind is louder. However, in strong
winds, the turbine can create a whistling noise - so it is not a good idea to site it
immediately next to the bedroom window, however, with double-glazing, it is
unlikely that you will hear the turbine inside a building 10metres away.
The survival wind speed (40m/s) seems low
Actually this is quite fast - it is equivalent to 90mph. This is the highest inland
wind speed ever recorded in the UK. However most wind turbine failures are
caused by gusts rather than constant high speed wind - often gusts will be far
faster than the measured wind speed, and often come from a completely
different direction. For customers in very windy areas-particularly on the coast in
exposed locations - may consider this survival speed too low. In such
circumstances, it is possible to trim the blades to a shorter length, which will
reduce their performance in low wind speeds, but it will allow the turbine to
withstand higher wind speeds without damage. It is important to bear in mind that
these turbines are low-wind speed turbines, which in average UK winds,
outperform wind turbines from another British manufacturer rated at 4 times
higher power!

Can I get a grant for these systems?
In order to get approval for the government's so-called grant scheme, it is a
necessary for us to spend £10 000+ getting the wind turbines approved. If we do
this, the price of the wind turbines would have to be increased substantially to
cover the cost of this approval. When the government have issued little more than
200 grants in total, it seems that these grants are not that readily available! DIY
installations are specifically excluded by the grant scheme, so you would be
looking at spending £15 000+ to qualify for a wind turbine grant!

Can I connect the wind turbine to the grid to sell the electricity?
The wind turbines producing less than 1kW of power are low-voltage machines,
designed for charging 24v-48v battery banks. You will need a 'grid tie inverter' to
feed electricity into the mains supply. These are special inverters that must meet
the requirements set out in the G83 electrical standard
(http://www.iee.org/Publish/WireRegs/Commentary-updateJun03.pdf )

However, grid-tie inverters are usually designed for input voltages of 200-600v,
so most are not suitable for this application. There are a few available for
example Phillips can provide suitable equipment which accepts low voltage input.

How much maintenance do the systems require?
The wind turbines are very reliable. No strict maintenance is necessary, but the
turbine blades should be checked regularly for damage, and to ensure that they
are in balance, and the structural parts (tower, guy wires, anchors etc) should be
checked for structural damage, cracks etc

Are spares available?
Yes, spares are available for these machines. The turbines are very reliable, so it
is unlikely you will need spares, unless you make a mistake during installation.

Will the system need to be inspected by a electrician or be installed by an
electrician?
As these are low voltage systems, you do not need to get an electrician to install
or commission the system. However, if you plan to connect anything to your
household wiring system, you should consult a qualified electrician.
What is the best way to utilise wind power?
Wind power is not a constant resource. For this reason there are three ways to
use the wind:
1. Store the power in batteries, for reuse when needed
2. Use the power to provide heating (especially useful as houses lose heat faster
in windy weather)
3. Sell the electricity directly to the grid, and buy it back when required.
Battery storage is the easiest way to utilise wind power. Our kits are supplied
with charge controllers to regulate the power going to the batteries, but they are
also supplied with a dump load, which will produce heat, once the batteries are
fully charged.

What batteries should I use?
Any type of lead acid battery can be used, but the best batteries to use are 'deep
cycle batteries'. Unlike car batteries, these are designed to withstand deep
discharge without damage. They are made with much thicker and heavier lead
plates, which are more resistant to damage, and last many times longer than
conventional lead acid batteries. Deep cycle batteries are also used for forklifts
and leisure batteries. I can supply suitable deep cycle batteries at excellent
prices- please ask us for details.
Do not be tempted to buy gel cell batteries. These are good batteries, but not
very suitable for renewable energy use. This is because gel cells are designed to
be charged carefully, and within strict limitations. The variable nature of
renewable energy makes this application quite unsuitable.

How many batteries do I need?
The smaller wind turbines are designed for 24v usage. The 500W turbine is
designed for 36v and the 1kW for 48v. You therefore need to use the appropriate
number of 12v deep cycle batteries connected in series i.e. 2x12v for 24v
operation, 3x12v for 36v or 4x12v for 48v. If you need higher capacity, you can
make up additional banks of batteries and put these in parallel

What is the recommended system voltage and wattage, and why?
It is a matter of personal preference, and there are many variables that affect this
decision. Often it is necessary to chose a wind turbine that has to integrate into
an existing system - eg photovoltaics, an existing battery bank or a DC backup
system. In this case, your choice of turbine will be determined to some extent by
the existing system voltage. If you are not constrained by this, you need to work
out how much power you require, and how much power is available. Wind power
varies enormously from one site to another, and even at different locations on the
same site, but as a general rule, in a good location you will expect about 30% of
the maximum output when you average out over the whole year. You can expect
proportionately more power during the winter months, and periods of bad
weather.
Incidentally, it is possible to boost the performance of the wind turbine in very low
wind conditions by using it will a smaller battery bank than intended. For
example, if you use a 500W 36v turbine to charge 24v batteries, then the power
curve will be shifted towards lower wind speeds, but with a penalty of having a
lower maximum output. One customer reported that his  500W turbine massively
exceeded the output of a Proven 2kW turbine in almost all conditions, when used
with a 24v battery.

How do I connect the batteries?
The batteries should be connected in series to produce the required voltage. In
other words, if you wish to make up a 36v battery bank using three 12v batteries,
you should connect the negative terminal of battery '1' to the positive terminal of
battery '2' and the negative terminal of battery '2' to the positive terminal of
battery '3'. The charge controller output should then be connected to the positive
terminal of battery '1' and the negative terminal of battery '3'.

Where can I get the cables for the batteries?
Battery cable can be made up from sufficiently thick copper cable, short lengths
of steel or brass bar with battery clamps attached, or if you have screw terminals,
you can make connectors from steel plate with appropriately drilled holes. It is
also possible to purchase battery cable from battery or renewable energy
suppliers, but expect to pay a high price! Check my prices first

Do you have 12v wind turbines for sale?
See below..... Also, from December 2005 we are now offering lower voltage
options on the turbines.
Can I use the 200W/300W wind turbine with 12v (or 500W/1000W turbine on
24v)?
Yes, you can use any of the wind turbines that I sell on 24v or 12v systems. This
will mean that the maximum power output is much reduced as the battery will act
as a brake. For example, if you use the 500W (36v) turbine with 12 volt systems
expect 1/3 of the power, so around 180Watts max, on a 24 volt system the same
machine will produce about 365 Watts max. On the other hand your cut in speed
is much reduced. If you were to use a 200 Watt (24v)  wind turbine on a 12v
system, its cut in speed will be reduced from around 4.5m/s to around 2.5m/s
and on low wind sites, you will get much more power out of it over a week. You
have to obtain a new voltage regulator to prevent over-charging of the battery.

How do I tell how charged my Batteries are?
The state-of-charge of a lead-acid battery can, to a certain extent, be estimated
by measuring the open terminal voltage. Prior to measuring, the battery must
have rested for 4-8 hours after charge or discharge and reside at room
temperature. A cold battery would show slightly higher voltages and a hot battery
would be lower. Plate additions of calcium and antimony will also vary the open
terminal voltage. Furthermore, AGM has a higher voltage plateau than the
flooded lead acid
State of Charge        Voltage (open circuit)
100%        12.65v
75%          12.45v
50%          12.24v
25%          12.06v
0%            11.89v

Why does my inverter shut down unexpectedly?
This can be for two possible reasons - either the inverter is overloaded, or the
voltage is too low (due to battery voltage too low, poor battery connections or
insufficiently heavy battery cable). The inverter shuts down before the batteries
are completely discharged to protect the battery from damage

Should I balance the blades before use?
Yes. Balancing the blades will result in trouble free running, smoother operation
with less vibration and longer bearing life.

How do I balance the blades?
This is actually quite simply. With the turbine in its normal position, and
stationary, blades and hub attached, simply place a weight onto one of the
blades extended horizontally from the hub. Start with the weight next to the hub,
and gradually move it outwards until the blade starts to turn. Measure the
minimum distance required to start turning. Repeat with each blade. If all the
measurements are the same, then the blades are balanced. If however, one
blade requires the weight to be further out, it means that this blade is lighter, and
therefore more weight must be added. You can do this by sandwiching lead
plates between the blades and the retaining plates.

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