Why Wind Power is a Breath of Fresh Air
This entry was posted on February 1, 2013.
The winds of change are upon us as we re-evaluate the way we consume energy and affect our environment on a daily basis. While solar energy presents an immediate and evident solution to the rising demand for (and cost of) electricity, the answer also lies with another, equally powerful although possibly less popular force of nature; the wind.
A Bit of History…
For centuries, the human race has used wind power to aid progress; from the sails of trading ships to the irrigation of crops and the powering of steam locomotives, natural wind power and wind pumps have long played a crucial role in our development. Today, wind turbines are a valuable source of renewable energy, generating clean electrical power without consuming fuel or emitting any air pollution. In today’s threatened environment, that really sounds like a breath of fresh air.
Anatomy of a Domestic Wind Turbine
Systems used for microgeneration (the small-scale generation of power) for domestic use are known as micro wind turbines, and usually take the form of a horizontal axis turbine.
The main components of a horizontal axis turbine are the nose, the rotor blades, the hub and the generator. The turbine is supported by the tower (typically supported by guy wires) so that the blades can safely rotate without touching the ground. The turbine converts kinetic wind energy into electrical energy, which travels down cables inside the tower to a charge controller to manage the power voltage before it is distributed to the load.
In very high winds, a bank of resistors known as the dump load will feed electricity back into the generator, effectively turning it into a brake. This will prevent the turbine from spinning out of control.
As with solar powered systems, wind power solutions are available in a variety of different systems, namely grid-tied, battery backup and off-grid. Domestic wind turbines make the ideal backup plan for a home’s solar power system, as they function reliably on overcast, windy days when sunlight is scarce. Unlike sunshine, wind is also an element that can be found at any time of day or night; for this reason, many eco-conscious homeowners have started to rely on wind power to supplement their household’s solar energy supply.
Wind turbines function best in areas with a good average wind speed and a lack of interference objects like tall buildings. This makes them ideal for use in communities and holiday homes in remote areas, for example along the coast or in the Karoo. The average wind speed across Cape Town is 15km per hour (5m per second), making it a prime location for eco-conscious South African consumers to start harnessing this abundant natural energy source.
At Sustainable.co.za, we’ve made online shopping a breeze for our clients with a selection of fully functional wind turbine kits for domestic use, ranging from a rated wind speed of 160 watts to 10 kilowatts. These kits include all the components you will need to install a wind power system that matches your home energy requirements. Order online or contact us directly to discuss your requirements.