Buy or DIY ?

Wind turbines, both large and small, operate on one fundamental principle: wind hits rotor blade, and inherent wind energy turns rotor producing energy via a built-in generator.

Pretty simple and straightforward.

The fact that large wind turbines do not exactly look beautiful and are not as “environmentally friendly” as often claimed, makes very small tubines even more attractive. On top, industrial-size wind generation does not address the problem of power transmission and still requires the same (wasteful) and cetrally-run transmission and distribution infrastructure common with fossil power generation. Add to this the fact that in a residential-scale system most things can be done manually or with very simple auxiliary equipment, and the idea of designing and building your own custom-made mini wind system may come to mind. Rightly so, as it can be done. At relatively low cost at that. People sometimes expect professionally-manufactured mini wind turbines to “have to” cost something like $300 to $700 or so and act as they had been offended when they find out that high-quality systems capable of producing a significant portion of your electricity need can carry prices of a couple of thousand dollars. (Hint: properly calculate the avoided cost for utility power per annum or over a 20-year or 25-year period, the design life of most commercial mini wind turbines. One doesn’t have to live in Hawaii to break even in a short time and make a handsome profit on top — if one’s location has sufficient wind potential.)

There are numerous manuals around outlining how to build a mini wind turbine. Many of them rely on very basic ingredients. Apart from the cost for the manual which usually range between $50 and $100, there’s just another $100 to $300 or so you need for materials.

Now, do the math and look at the figures. Don’t underestimate the amount of time you will need to “invest” in your project on top of the manual and materials. At the end of the day, you will end up with a savings of maybe 50% or 70% over a commercial high-quality model. This is a good thing. This may well be worth the effort. On top, you will have that great feeling of accomplishment when you have built something with your hands. Keep in mind though, that custom-built solutions are not tested and proven and may turn out to be a real servicing nightmare with frequent downtime and a need for constant monitoring.

Go ahead though and build your own solution. Once you have done so and succeed, you will also get a feel for why “those prices are so high” and you will appreciate the R&D value built in to commercial off-the-shelf turbines. If just one thing, building your own mini wind turbine (or even complete system including inverters, rectifiers, diversion controllers, dump loads, wiring etc.) will make you fully appreciate what’s on the market and the price it is sold for. Ideally, your custom-made turbine will be a lot more though: a viable alternative or a tailor-made solution for your individual Home Power needs.

You can find both commercial mini wind systems and Do-It-Yourself manuals and materials along with other Renewables solutions for Residential-Scale power generation at miniwindsystems.com™

A few samples are provided below from the miniwindsystem.com online shop catering to all your Mini Wind Turbines and Solar Energy requirements and offers a wide selection of Renewables items and decentralized Clean Energy accessories for businesses, industrial use, or personal Energy Independence alike.

With miniwindshop.com, you can just say good-bye to your utility, gain back your well-deserved Power Independence as well as a highly effective Blackout Insurance you yourself are in control of, save money, and do something really beneficial for the environment at the same time!

Small wind turbines are usually divided into separate groups, depending on their rated capacity and are commonly categorized around the Kilowatt threshold.

Micro Wind Turbines

LE-300 Wren is a very affordable, extremely sturdy and lightweight small wind turbine, suitable for both domestic or small-business uses as well as for powering signalling or measuring equipment, webcams, weathercams, weather stations, caravans, remote cabins, and more

The LE-600 Domestic or Industrial Use Wind Turbine is the best choice for an easy-to-deploy and operate small wind turbine with a capacity of up to 600 Watts and impressive performance in truly low winds. This micro wind turbine is UK-designed and UK-built and, unlike those Chinese garbage-grade products, is built to last and boasts a very visually pleasing, innovative downwind design. Deliberately designed without unnecessary electronics or other parts causing problems over the long run, this is one of the most reliable residential-sacle wind turbines on the market today.

Mini Wind Turbines

Plug-In Wind Turbine Airdolphin GTO, on the other hand is a typical high-tech small wind turbine, loaded with electronics giving this small wind generator an impressive prima facie performance but may cause increased generator wear and maintenance issues over the long run. Airdolphin models have an extremely low generator mass per Watt and feature a number of innovations that may be attractive for the tech-savvy owner who is fascinated with novel technologies.

Zephyr’s Airdolphin Z1000-24 Mini Wind Turbine has been around for a couple of years now and is suitable for both grid interconnection or utility plug-in operation as well as remote operation or island grids using a reasonably sized battery bank. (Battery-less operation is available with specially designed capacitors, if desired.) Innovative turbine design along with ten novel technologies and a record-holding low generator mass of just 17.6 grams per Watt of rated generator capacity (though measured at a questionable 12.5 m/sec) make this an attractive turbine for the Clean Technologies enthusiast.

The much more powerful residential-scale wind turbine LE-2000 or small farm generator is suitable where there are higher capacity requirements. Built with the same criteria of durability and long-term reliability in mind, the LE-2000 is a very cost-effective power source for both Home or Small Business Use and can be found on farms as well as in larger homes.