I’m working on getting the power company (which is owned by our small city) to change this policy, however, since they recently announced a goal of moving to 100% renewable power by 2030. I’m one of the few people who will make the switch even if it costs me MORE than coal-generated electricity, so I don’t actually care about the payback period. But most people require a financial incentive to make a change.
Hybrid stand-alone power system technology has advanced with the pace of the number of homeowners who want to live off the grid making remote home energy systems that are no longer dependent on a single technology. In areas of the country with an average sustained winds of 6 M/S or 9 - 14 MPH, good exposure to prevailing winds like the top of hills or clearings at a 98 ft. height are generally considered to have a suitable wind resource for small wind applications.
If you regularly find your lawn furniture blown over, or have to collect it from the neighbour’s yard, your house needs to be repainted every year or two because it constantly gets sand-blasted, and where the trees have funny shapes (and not because your power company has been doing the pruning), that is when you know you live in a windy place where a wind turbine is likely to make economic sense.
The British Energy Savings Trust report titled “Location, location, location”: This requires some reading-between-the-lines as the Trust is rather closely aligned with the small wind industry. They looked at 57 turbines for a year, a number of them building mounted, others tower mounted, and concluded that building mounted turbines did very poorly.
Go-anywhere rechargeable battery pack keeps your handheld gear Go-anywhere rechargeable battery pack keeps your handheld gear going strong. Charge AA/AAA batteries from the sun or any USB port then power your phone MP3 GPS or perk up your tablet in a pinch. Kit included Nomad 7m v2 Solar Panel and Guide 10 Plus power pack. This ultra-lightweight kit ...  More + Product Details Close
Great questions….Offsite is not too bad, the inverter doesn’t have to be adjacent to the panels and depending on your climate can easily be outside. Heat is the biggest degrading factor on the inverter’s efficiency so a shaded location is perfect. To calculate the size of wire from the panels to the inverter I used the company (Alt E) that I bought the panels from. They also provided a basic wiring diagram for the permitting process. You can also do the math yourself and they (Alt E) have some very detailed videos to help. Basically, you need the percent loss your are willing to accept (I used 1%), max average temp (+10 degrees) of the site, the distance and the amperage of the array and the max voltage…..For example my Vmax was 450 at 9amps running 200′ in Florida (I think I used 31 degrees C ) and ended up with 8 AWG copper. Not cheap but easy enough.
"I came across Wholesale Solar's website and found out that we could purchase a system and install it ourselves. I researched their products and called several times with questions. Wil was readily available to answer every question, spent time looking at pictures that I sent of our property, and gave us several options that he felt would work well.
One of the mistakes which is often made by the newbie who is trying to size a generator is that they buy specifically by a voltage classification. Remember as we discussed before windmill generator builder tend to rate their voltages at direct drive rpm 150-250 at a given voltage. This does not mean that if the permanent magnet alternator is turned at a higher RPM that the generator will not exceed 24 or even 48 volts. This is to say that in the case that you may have a hydro machine is cable of higher gearing and higher RPM that it may be better to in fact us a 24 or even a 12 volt rated permanent magnet alternator.
Although the calculation of wind power illustrates important features about wind turbines, the best measure of wind turbine performance is annual energy output. The difference between power and energy is that power (kilowatts [kW]) is the rate at which electricity is consumed while energy (kilowatt-hours [kWh]) is the quantity consumed. An estimate of the annual energy output from your wind turbine, kWh/year, is the best way to determine whether a particular wind turbine and tower will produce enough electricity to meet your needs. Contact a wind turbine manufacturer, a dealer/installer, or a site assessor to help you estimate the energy production you can expect. They will use a calculation based on the particular wind turbine power curve, the average annual wind speed at your site, the height of the tower that you plan to use, micro-siting characteristics of your site and, if available, the frequency distribution of the wind (an estimate of the number of hours that the wind will blow at each speed during an average year). They should also adjust this calculation for the elevation of your site.

A typical house usually requires a home wind turbine with a 5 kW generating capacity to meet all its energy requirements. A turbine that offers this much power would have to be around 13 to 18 feet in diameter and positioned in an area where strong winds often pass through. There are also plenty of smaller, cheaper turbines, but these variants produce less power and are less reliable than their more expensive counterparts.
Jump up ^ da Silva, Wilson (17 May 2016). "Milestone in solar cell efficiency achieved". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 9 September 2018. A new solar cell configuration developed by engineers at the University of New South Wales has pushed sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency to 34.5% -- establishing a new world record for unfocused sunlight and nudging closer to the theoretical limits for such a device.
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Between maintenance and repairs, it would greatly help and keep your cost down if you can do some of the work yourself: Being able to safely tilt the turbine tower up or down will save you money. Understanding how the turbine works, how to stop it safely, how to trouble-shoot at least the minor issues can keep you in the black. We understand that installing a wind turbine is not for everyone. In fact, towers are dangerous, and for a good installation the devil is in the details. An experienced installer can make a real difference in putting up a turbine that will work better, and be more reliable over time. We really encourage you to have a professional installer to do the initial installation. However, throwing up your hands and calling your installer for routine maintenance, or every time there is a minor issue, will likely make you an unhappy wind turbine owner (even if it is your installer’s dream).

By the way, built with quality polypropylene and glass fiber, it gets by rough climate conditions out in the wild. Certainly, it is friendly for marine use as it endures saltwater corrosion. Moreover, the Windmill wind turbine features an automatic braking system to make it survive high winds. You can easily charge a 50Ah battery with the turbine that has a rotor diameter of 4-feet and weight of around 17 lbs.
✅ FEATURES: Integrated automatic braking system to protect from sudden and high wind speed. Easy DIY installation methods with all materials provided. Can be used in conjunction with solar panels. MPPT Maximum power point tracking built into the wind turbine generator. Made with high quality Polypropylene and Glass Fiber material with a weather resistant seal.
Eventually, we should realize that net-metering is an incentive (needed at first to jump-start the rooftop solar industry), and that retail-wholesale rates are fairer to the utility and community all around. Net metering is when you over-produce in the summer, and get those kWhs back in the winter for free–you haven’t paid the utility for the transport and “storage” of the energy. Retail-wholesale is when the utility pays you the same rate they pay other power plants for each kWh (usually 1/2 to 1/3 the rate on your bill), and whenever you consume from the grid (evenings, cloudy days, winter), you pay the normal cost. That way, you pay the utility the infrastructure cost for moving that energy around. We have that here now, and I think it’s the way forward. But now, what they want to do is curtail the homeowner solar: using smart meters (and smart inverters), they would automatically shut down your production (turn off your inverter) when they have too much electricity (from their own solar farms). You would have to agree to this in order to be grid-tied, and remember, when they shut down your inverter, you can’t even use your solar power yourself. I think this is purely for profit motives and has nothing to do with the purported technical reasons.
Noise Issues: Small wind turbine noise is only slightly above wind noise. (Click On Video Tab Above) You may be able to pick out the sound of a hybrid wind turbine if you strain to listen but most people would not find it objectionable. However, if there is any doubt if your wind turbine will disturb your neighbor, be a good neighbor and have a conversation with your the family living next door in advance.
The era of solar energy, as many would say, is upon us. From astounding new solar products like AC coupled backup systems and high efficient microinverters to banks of solar panels that provide electricity to run our homes and, eventually, even our cities, the solar revolution may well have begun in earnest. Yet too most people, how solar actually works is a mystery. How do these panels convert sunlight into energy that homeowners can use to power their appliances and their homes, a practice that ultimately protects the environment and leads to cheaper utility bills and economic freedom?
Emerging, third generation solar technologies use advanced thin-film cells. They produce a relatively high-efficiency conversion for the low cost compared to other solar technologies. Also, high-cost, high-efficiency, and close-packed rectangular multi-junction (MJ) cells are preferably used in solar panels on spacecraft, as they offer the highest ratio of generated power per kilogram lifted into space. MJ-cells are compound semiconductors and made of gallium arsenide (GaAs) and other semiconductor materials. Another emerging PV technology using MJ-cells is concentrator photovoltaics ( CPV ).
We purchased a couple of these solar panels and compared them to the Windy Nation 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panels and found that at least for the panels that we received, they produced a similar number of watts with the same sun exposure. The HQST and the Windy Nation Panels are all very good quality and well built. Probably the only difference is that the Windy Nation panels are more expensive and the MC4 cables are a little longer. We eventually purchased 18 more HQST panels and we hooked up 20 of these panels to create a 24V 2kW system on top of our garage. The 20 panels generate post-inverter about 11kWh per day during sunny days in Northern California that we can use or feed back into the grid. We never measured how much inverter loss there is though. Most of the panels face south, but we also face some of the panels west because electricity prices are much higher for us in the late afternoon. I'm happy with their performance, as it has reduced our electricity bill by about $100 per month, so the system should pay for itself in a couple of years! We would install more, but we have run out of easily accessible roof space.
Turbines used in residential applications can range in size from 400 Watts to 100 kW (100 kW for very large loads), depending on the amount of electricity you want to generate. For residential applications, you should establish an energy budget and see whether financial incentives are available. This information will help determine the turbine size you will need. Because energy efficiency is usually less expensive than energy production, making your house more energy efficient will probably be more cost effective and will reduce the size of the wind turbine you need (see How Can I Make My Home More Energy Efficient?). Wind turbine manufacturers, dealers, and installers can help you size your system based on your electricity needs and the specifics of your local wind resource and micro-siting.
Thanks for the write up. Very interesting. Being concerned about the carbon output as well, has there been any research into the CO2 produced in the production of the material being installed? I was really convicted about this concern when I started considering the CO2 given off by things like spray foam on building projects I have done in the past.
I had a very good experience ordering online with GoGreenSolar.com. After thorough online research, I found GoGreenSolar offered the components I was looking for, available for delivery at the most affordable prices, including shipping and handling. I basically ordered the parts to put together my own energy saving solar panel system. They were not only delivered in a very timely manner, but all of the parts were quality built, nothing broken or damaged. I would definitely recommend going to their site when considering solar panels.
If a solar professional determines that your roof is not suitable for solar, or you don’t own your home, you can still benefit from solar energy. Community solar allows multiple people to benefit from a single, shared solar array that can be installed on- or off-site. Costs associated with purchasing and installing a solar energy system are divided among all of the participants, who are able to buy into the shared system at a level that best fits their budget. Learn more about community solar.
In any generator whether it be a re manufactured delco permanent magnet alternator, our white lightning radial or even the larger axial flux designs different wire gauges can be used and are used for different reason for a given application. It is important also to understand that generally speaking when you are looking at a permanent magnet alternator for sale on our site ebay youtube Amazon ect when you see a voltage advertised such as frequently 12, 24, and 48 models this usually does not mean that there is some sort of internal regulator which limits the output voltage of the generator or pma to an adequate charging voltage level for an application This is one of the biggest mistake we see do it yourselfers make when selecting a generator. Typically sellers and manufacturers rate a permanent magnet alternator as for instance 12 volt when the RPM range of the generator is sufficient to reach Cut in Voltage to charge a given battery bank. Windmill, wind generators, wind chargers, or residential wind turbine kits terms we often see used interchangeably are trying to tell you that in a direct drive application with a particular blade set that they would use a particular generator for an application. So what’s the difference? Any style generator has a capacity “slots” or area that a winding can fit in. This will be unique to the particular generator. It is important to understand that within the working area different wire gauges can be used. In the area of the generator windings more “ turns” wraps or whatever terminology you prefer can fit in a given area with finer wire that with thicker wire as a matter of what will physically fit in a given stator coil, wrap , winding and or slot “again whatever terminology is appropriate for the given alternator.
Generally speaking, they work well in combination with solar panels, but can make sense on their own if your electricity rate is currently very high. Hot, sunny days don’t tend to be very windy, while those cloudy, sunless days are often much more windy. Wind turbines produce most of their energy in the winter, while solar panels do most of their work in the summer. A combination of the two is a great energy providing relationship for the environmentally conscious, or someone seeking to go “off the grid”.
Solar PV Project Financing: Regulatory and Legislative Challenges for Third-Party PPA System Owners– Third-party owned solar arrays allow a developer to build and own a PV system on a customer’s property and sell the power back to the customer. While this can eliminate many of the up-front costs of going solar, third-party electricity sales face regulatory and legislative challenges in some states and jurisdictions. This report details the challenges and explains alternatives.
Great questions….Offsite is not too bad, the inverter doesn’t have to be adjacent to the panels and depending on your climate can easily be outside. Heat is the biggest degrading factor on the inverter’s efficiency so a shaded location is perfect. To calculate the size of wire from the panels to the inverter I used the company (Alt E) that I bought the panels from. They also provided a basic wiring diagram for the permitting process. You can also do the math yourself and they (Alt E) have some very detailed videos to help. Basically, you need the percent loss your are willing to accept (I used 1%), max average temp (+10 degrees) of the site, the distance and the amperage of the array and the max voltage…..For example my Vmax was 450 at 9amps running 200′ in Florida (I think I used 31 degrees C ) and ended up with 8 AWG copper. Not cheap but easy enough.
Solar trackers increase the amount of energy produced per module at a cost of mechanical complexity and need for maintenance. They sense the direction of the Sun and tilt or rotate the modules as needed for maximum exposure to the light.[54][55] Alternatively, fixed racks hold modules stationary as the sun moves across the sky. The fixed rack sets the angle at which the module is held. Tilt angles equivalent to an installation's latitude are common. Most of these fixed racks are set on poles above ground.[56] Panels that face West or East may provide slightly lower energy, but evens out the supply, and may provide more power during peak demand.[57]
Your solar energy system should continue to generate electricity for 20 to 30 years, so it’s crucial that you consider both the upfront costs and the relative financial benefits for all of your solar options. If you buy a home solar kit like the ones for sale at Costco or Home Depot, it may be less expensive per watt, but you aren’t getting the same quality equipment that solar installers are able to offer you. For the most part, solar installers buy from equipment distributors that don’t sell to the general public – and they’re often getting lower prices because they’re able to buy in bulk.
A typical home uses approximately 10,932 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year (about 911 kilowatt-hours per month). Depending on the average wind speed in the area, a wind turbine rated in the range of 5–15 kilowatts would be required to make a significant contribution to this demand. A 1.5-kilowatt wind turbine will meet the needs of a home requiring 300 kilowatt-hours per month in a location with a 14 mile-per-hour (6.26 meters-per-second) annual average wind speed.

In addition to geologic formations, you need to consider existing obstacles such as trees, houses, and sheds, and you need to plan for future obstructions such as new buildings or trees that have not reached their full height.[31] Your turbine needs to be sited upwind of buildings and trees[32], and it needs to be 30 feet above anything within a 500-foot horizontal radius.[33] You also need enough room to raise and lower the tower for maintenance, and if your tower is guyed, you must allow room for the guy wires.
Overall, the main reason people choose DIY solar panel installation is the potential cost savings. There are two ways to save costs – buy the solar power kit and install it yourself or buy the kit and get a professional to install it. The cost savings are pretty substantial when you think of it – you might be able to reduce your purchase price of the solar panels from $4 per watt to $2 per watt. For a common 5 kW solar energy system, that could mean a cost savings of $10,000 right off the bat. That’s a 50% discount and seems pretty good, right? Well. . .maybe.
Picking an inverter for your system is pretty important. Fortunately, there's not too much room for error. You need to make sure that you're buying a grid-tie inverter, rather than off-grid. You'll also need to check the wattage rating to make sure it can handle your solar array. Finally, you can consider buying micro inverters. Remember how I said that a single panel in the shade can affect the efficiency of your entire system? A micro inverter system uses a small inverter for each panel, instead of one inverter for all of the panels. The shoddy performance of one panel won't be able to affect the rest of the system.
These small items are minor but essential for making your solar panel kit work. You will need, among other items a solar combiner box, AC breaker panel, DC Breaker box, DC breakers, battery cables, remote temperature sensor, AC and DC wire and solar power cables. Cables and connectors on the solar panels we carry above 80 watts are generally manufactured with PV wire into the panel junction box that are listed to UL 1703. This can save time during installation. The modules with MC4 cable connectors are fully waterproof when connected, touch protected and designed for up to 600 volts DC and 30 Amps. It is important to keep in mind that PV cables cannot be safely disconnected under load. All of our grid tied and off-grid output cables are made with UV resistant wire that is Listed to UL 854. You may also wish to add other solar accessories. Blue Pacific Solar® also carries a variety of cable adapters that enable use of optimizers or microinverters that may not be available with the same connector type as the module chosen for the job.
If you regularly find your lawn furniture blown over, or have to collect it from the neighbour’s yard, your house needs to be repainted every year or two because it constantly gets sand-blasted, and where the trees have funny shapes (and not because your power company has been doing the pruning), that is when you know you live in a windy place where a wind turbine is likely to make economic sense.

The second technology is concentrating solar power, or CSP. It is used primarily in very large power plants and is not appropriate for residential use. This technology uses mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect solar energy and convert it to heat, which can then be used to produce electricity. Learn more about how CSP works.
I hear you Kyle – the first time I tried to apply for a solar permit (for my own studio, a year earlier), the city was giving me that nonsense about the structural stamp. It was total bullshit, as the panels are only 40 pounds each spread over 15 square feet, and the roof was ridiculously strong as per the approved plans I used to build that same structure!
The second most popular solution is to have a battery installation that gets charged during the sunny hours, and then when it gets dark you can switch to an inverter which changes your stored DC voltage into AC voltage for your appliances. Most solar reliant houses will have DC LED lighting to make the most of the lower power consumption of these efficient lighting products.
You must be committed enough to Buy a Home Wind Turbine system and learn from us about our wind turbines from direct experience. We take much time and great effort to educate customers and dealers all about wind/solar hybrid technology. Making dealership opportunities available to customers only helps us to focus on those who will know our technology and receive training through their installation. Then we have additional front line support and dealers who know the products and can demonstrate and sell with first hand experience. Many of our dealers become installers or offer installation services and we assist in training them to become installers.
On-site data measurement adds a new layer of confidence to the techniques discussed above, but with substantial additional costs, effort, and time, especially when the preferred methodology is to match turbine hub height and collect data for a minimum of 1 year. Obtaining several years of data is better, or 1 year that can be referenced to a longer-term data set if there is good correlation with the on-site data. A number of small, affordable wind data collection systems are available for on-site measurement and are best run for at least 1 year. These systems include anemometers, wind vanes, and temperature sensors that are mounted as close to hub height as possible. Calculating the wind shear exponent requires collecting data at two different heights. Having wind shear data is essential for conducting an accurate analysis of the cost versus benefits of taller towers. In addition, analysis must be performed to determine wind speed averages and extremes, wind distribution, Weibull parameters, the wind direction rose, turbulence intensity, vertical wind shear exponent, and associated uncertainties.[28]
It was quite a trip, for much more than the acquisition of solar panels and advice. Durango is a stunning little town, and it turned out that John lives in a community of equally impressive siblings and friends – for example his brother Charles who DIY-renovated a 50,000 square foot school over a 20-year period, which has now become the jewel of Durango’s downtown.

I’m sold in on solar from an environmental standpoint but still not at these prices even as a DIY. You have a lot of solar needs with multiple facilities and autos using the juice. We are just a middle-aged couple working from home in a small house. Our typical electric bill is $60/mo. I’m waiting for the price to come down much more and to become much easier to install DIY.
The era of solar energy, as many would say, is upon us. From astounding new solar products like AC coupled backup systems and high efficient microinverters to banks of solar panels that provide electricity to run our homes and, eventually, even our cities, the solar revolution may well have begun in earnest. Yet too most people, how solar actually works is a mystery. How do these panels convert sunlight into energy that homeowners can use to power their appliances and their homes, a practice that ultimately protects the environment and leads to cheaper utility bills and economic freedom?
I’m working on getting the power company (which is owned by our small city) to change this policy, however, since they recently announced a goal of moving to 100% renewable power by 2030. I’m one of the few people who will make the switch even if it costs me MORE than coal-generated electricity, so I don’t actually care about the payback period. But most people require a financial incentive to make a change.
If you do install an anemometer and measure the wind over one or more years, you should compare the annual average wind speed obtained from your anemometer data to the annual average of the nearest airport or meteo-station for that same year. This will tell you if your site is more or less windy than that airport or meteo-station, and by how much. Then compare that year’s data  to the long-term annual average wind speed, and you will know what to expect over the long term, corrected for your particular site. It will not be exact, but it will make your short-term anemometer data much more useful.
Although wind energy systems involve a significant initial investment, they can be competitive with conventional energy sources when you account for a lifetime of reduced or avoided utility costs. The length of the payback period—the time before the savings resulting from your system equal the cost of the system—depends on the system you choose, the wind resource on your site, electricity costs in your area, and how you use your wind system.

The 62-160 Pro Tone Generator is used to The 62-160 Pro Tone Generator is used to send an analog tone signal over copper cables to aid in identifying the location and identification of the cable. The signal is picked-up or amplified by using the 62-164 amplifier probe (sold separately). The tone generator has both RJ-11/12 and Coax F-female ...  More + Product Details Close


Turbulence intensity is a major issue for small turbines because of their tower height and location around "ground clutter." Turbulence can reduce the annual energy output estimate from 15% to 25% because wind turbine power curves are typically developed based on measurements taken at sites with relatively low turbulence intensity compared to typical small wind project sites.
Small wind energy systems can be connected to the electricity distribution system. These are called grid-connected systems. A grid-connected wind turbine can reduce your consumption of utility-supplied electricity for lighting, appliances, and electric heat. If the turbine cannot deliver the amount of energy you need, the utility makes up the difference. When the wind system produces more electricity than your household requires, the excess is sent or sold to the utility.
Practices vary dramatically across the country so becoming familiar with the local regulations, authorities, and general requirements is helpful. In some cases, zoning and permitting expectations are consistent and straightforward. In other cases, hearings may be required and the process is uncertain. A project designed within the existing limitations will experience a much smoother permitting process and will be more likely to receive a permit. But if your project falls outside of defined limits, it must usually undergo a special review process to obtain a variance from the existing rules and regulations — a potentially expensive and time-consuming process that often involves at least one public hearing and has no guarantee of success.[8]
turbine installed and running - sustained a storm last night with steady winds before the storm of up to 25 mph, then the storm hit and gusts in excess of 40 mph - the wind turbine sustained no damage and is still running this morning. My sister's house lost power for 5 hours, however, the turbine is set up to run the ice box, the ice box never lost power, everything is still... [green backup power]
I ran a length of metal conduit up from the inverter and just beyond the roof boot, then transitioned to a downward-facing connector to some flexible conduit, just to keep the wires covered until they get under the panels. All three conductors including the ground are running through this tube. If doing it again, I’d suggest using a different conduit box for that transition. Also, you can switch from a bare ground wire to a stranded, insulated ground at that point – much easier to pull through!
Before we discuss power centers (Inverters), lets hit on what a charge controller does. A charge controller is an electronic voltage regulator used in off-grid hybrid solar wind systems with battery banks to properly control the charge from the solar panels or wind turbine keep the voltage to the battery bank within acceptable limits. The charge controller automatically tapers, stops, or diverts power when batteries become fully charged. Without a charge controller your solar panels or wind generator would continue to send electricity to the battery bank and eventually destroy your batteries.
What is the Best Solar Panel to Choose? The output power, voltage and current profile of the solar panels will dictate the number of panels needed and what inverters or charge controllers can be used. Small off-grid home or cabin kits often require 12 VDC output panels to directly charge batteries and/or operate DC loads. Larger solar panels with output voltages ranging from 24 to 50 VDC are more commonly used in grid-tie home systems where a high DC voltage is required to operate the inverter. If you have the roof or ground space with limited shading issues on your property, the larger solar panels may provide a better investment since the cost per watt is cheaper than smaller PV (Photovoltaic) panels.
I put caulk on the backs of each cell in a column of 9, then picked the whole column up by the tabs at the top and carefully laid the column down on the substrate.  My daughter helped me keep everything lined up properly as you can see in the picture.  (This is a great project to do with your kids, by the way!)  These are homemade solar panels so the gaps between cells and the columns aren’t precise.  I don’t think it had any impact on power output so don’t think you need to be perfect.
Since wife is into historic preservation buy older homes to fix up and remodel for extra cash every few years so we have always been limited by the home as it was originally designed. Well we are finally considering doing one for ourselves and with the kids finishing high school it can be much smaller. Reading your blog has given inspiration for many aspects of our lives, working less, living more and enjoying simple things. Thank you!

With that in mind it makes a great deal of sense to use a tilt-up tower for your turbine. It makes maintenance and repairs much safer (on the ground) and cheaper. Crane fees, or having turbine installers hang off the top of a tower for long periods of time, tend to get very expensive. You should also budget for repairs, they will happen. Parts may be free under warranty, your installer’s time is not.
The map above gives a great indication of general areas that receive a good amount of wind, but the immediate surroundings are vitally important too. A wind turbine must be able to function unimpeded from trees, hills, buildings or anything else that might affect the wind. Good sites for wind turbines would be hilltops, plains, fields, and ocean fronts. Anything close to a forest, city, or valley would run the risk of not getting a strong enough wind.
According to the AWEA Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard, the Rated Annual Energy of a wind turbine is the calculated total energy that would be produced during a 1-year period with an average wind speed of 5 meters/second (m/s, or 11.2 mph).[22] The following formula illustrates factors that are important to the performance of a wind turbine. Notice that the wind speed (V) has an exponent of 3 applied to it. This means that even a small increase in wind speed results in a large increase in power. That is why a taller tower will increase the productivity of any wind turbine by giving it access to higher wind speeds.
Betz limit—The maximum power coefficient (Cp) of a theoretically perfect wind turbine equal to 16/27 (59.3%) as proven by German physicist Albert Betz in 1919. This is the maximum amount of power that can be captured from the wind. In reality, this limit is never achived because of drag, electrical losses, and mechanical inefficiencies. See also Cp.*
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) National Wind Technology Center provides information about NREL's small wind turbine testing and development. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NREL have selected four partners (Intertek Testing Services NA, Inc. in New York, Kansas State University, The Alternative Energy Institute at West Texas A&M University, and Windward Engineering, LLC in Utah) to establish small wind Regional Test Centers to conduct tests on small wind turbines to meet national and international standards. Reports from these Regional Test Centers are available for consumers.
I have spent my entire morning calculating and re-calculating wind turbines’ kW—their capacities and limits for generating electricity and energy in kilowatts per hour.  I consider this morning-long math marathon a mark of my emerging sophistication as a windophile, a crucial step in my apprenticeship as a “windsmith.”  Yes, Paul Gipe, author of the seminal text on wind power, dubbed the experts in all things windy “windsmiths.”  I like it; I want to become one; hence the protracted math homework on wind turbines’ “kW.”
The energy it calculates is in kWh per year, the diameter of the wind turbine rotor is in meters, the wind speed is annual average for the turbine hub height in m/s. The equation uses a Weibull wind distribution with a factor of K=2, which is about right for inland sites. An overall efficiency of the turbine, from wind to electrical grid, of 30% is used. That is a reasonable, real-world efficiency number. Here is a table that shows how average annual wind speed, turbine size, and annual energy production relate:
Although solar battery backups are outside of the scope of this article, I find it necessary to at least mention them and why they are useful. First, battery backups are good in the event of a blackout. Unfortunately, your solar panels will not power your home if the lights shut off. This is to prevent your system from frying a lineman who's repairing the grid. A battery blackout will let you keep your refrigerator running while the power's out. Second, if you are running an off-grid system, you'll need the batteries when the sun's not shining.
As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.
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