What’s ‘Micro Wind’?

‘Micro Wind’ usually refers to very small wind turbines ranging from roughly 100 Watts to 1.5 Kilowatts rated output (the next class above that threshold are ‘Mini Wind’ turbines).

Now, before anyone thinks of calling them “toys” or tries to ridicule them, please keep in mind that generators producing constant loads as low as 100 Watts are nothing to be discounted and that even those 100 Watts add up to 865 Kilowatt hours (generating 695.3 kgs of CO2 emissions — could you lift that?! — or costing around $85 or more in monetary terms) in the course of just one year. Even as small a unit as a 100 Watt generator can power small devices (weather data, networking equipment, signaling gear, lighting, a webcam etc, particularly when there is no grid power available in locations like atticks, garages, outbuildings or, on a larger scale, in remote areas) or trickle-charge a battery, a backup system or the like. These are small powering jobs that can be very reasonably realized with a Micro generator, and they add up — particularly when materials and energy for setting up a “regular” power supply (cables, equipment, energy, and work required) are taken into account.

Although generally an energy-wasting area of business (because land-line communications use exponentially less power), we would like to point out that cellular network operators are very well aware of these factors and, thus, do indeed use off-grid generation equipment to power base stations or similar. Still, keep in mind that not using cellphones but a wired land-line phone on your desktop is the right thing to do for energy reasons (and many others). The cellular network base station example only serves to illustrate a professional approach to what seems to be “small fish” — and that small fish adds up to a lot of food…

Also, compare the roughly 400 W of rated output — and the price per Watt installed — of even a very small 12 lbs micro wind turbine to even the most advanced solar PV panels currently available, and you will realize that there’s ‘quite a lot in it’ when it comes to Micro Wind. And finally, a micro wind turbine is useful to supplement solar PV in a small system (when the sun is not shining, the wind likely blows…).

An overview with real-life applications and sample calculations for micro wind systems will be coming up on this site soon.