Wind power is one of the most popular forms of renewable energy, and in some parts of the country, you can drive by huge fields of turbines with their fanlike blades. Home wind turbines, like solar panels, capture energy and help lower your electricity bill. But can this clean fuel source actually power your entire house? And if so, at what cost?
How do home wind turbines work?
If you’ve ever seen a wind farm, you already have a general idea of what the turbines look like when they’re operating. But how exactly do they work?
“They convert the kinetic energy in wind into mechanical power, which in turn is used to run a generator that makes electricity for the home,” says Dan DiClerico, a home expert at HomeAdvisor. The turbine’s long, narrow blades are aerodynamically designed to capture the maximum energy from the wind.
“As the blades rotate, they turn a shaft that is connected to a generator, which produces electricity that is delivered directly to the home,” he explains.
Are home wind turbines practical?
Residential wind turbines are a good option if you live in an area with consistent wind flow—but not gale-force winds, which would cause the National Weather Service to issue a wind advisory.
“Wind turbines operate within a range of wind speeds, below which they do not produce power and above which they will cut out to protect themselves from damage,” says Michael Ginsberg, author of “Harness It: Renewable Energy Technologies and Project Development Models Transforming the Grid.”
So, what’s a good wind speed range? Typically, 8 to 55 mph.
“The rated power output of the wind turbine is based on the rated speed, usually 25 mph to 35 mph,” Ginsberg says.Continue reading