How to Install Your Own Backyard Wind Turbine on the Cheap
Installing a wind turbine in your backyard can be an affordable way to generate your own electricity. With some DIY skills and the right components, you can build a small wind turbine that will help offset your energy costs. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to install your own cheap backyard wind turbine.
Choosing the Right Location
The first step is choosing the right location for your wind turbine. For optimal wind exposure, you'll want an open, elevated area with consistent breezes. Some ideal locations include:
- Hills or inclines - Higher elevations capture more wind.
- Open fields - Clear the area of obstructions like trees or buildings.
- Near large bodies of water - The wind is usually stronger along coastlines and lakes.
- Away from buildings - Position your turbine where surrounding structures don't block the wind.
Use a homemade wind speed indicator like a simple pinwheel to estimate the average wind speeds in potential sites over the period of a week. Generally, annual wind speeds of at least 10 mph are ideal for small residential turbines.
Selecting a Wind Turbine Kit
Once you've identified a good site, it's time to select a wind turbine. Small DIY turbine kits are available from a variety of manufacturers, with sizes ranging from 400 watts to 10 kilowatts. Consider the following factors when choosing a kit:
- Energy needs - Calculate your home's electricity requirements to determine the ideal turbine size.
- Wind speeds - Choose a turbine suited for your site's average wind speeds.
- Budget - Turbine kits can cost $200 to $5,000. Prioritize essential components.
- Difficulty - Opt for an easier kit if this is your first wind project.
I recommend starting small with a 400-600 watt turbine. This size is sufficient for offsetting household energy used by lights, appliances and electronics. Aerofire, Windstream Power and Primus Wind Power all offer quality small wind turbine kits suited for residential use.
Assembling the Turbine
Once you've purchased a wind turbine kit, it's time for assembly. Carefully go through the manufacturer's instructions for assembling the various components:
- Blades - Attach the 2 or 3 blades to the rotor hub.
- Nacelle - Assemble the nacelle, which houses the mechanical parts.
- Tail - Secure the tail fin and vane to the nacelle for alignment.
- Tower - Erect the tilt-up guyed tower per the instructions.
Take your time assembling the turbine. Double check alignments and bolt tightness to prevent errors. Safety should be your top priority.
Installing the Turbine
After the wind turbine structure is fully assembled, it's ready for installation:
- Foundation - Dig and pour a concrete pad with anchor bolts for the tower base.
- Wiring - Run electrical cables from the nacelle down the tower to your junction box.
- Raise tower - Use gin poles and winches to safely tilt up the tower into position.
- Anchor - Secure the guy wires and ground anchors to stabilize the tower.
- Alignment - Orient the turbine into the prevailing wind direction for your location.
Proper siting and installation is crucial for optimizing power production and ensuring safety. Consider hiring a small wind professional if you need assistance.
Connecting to the Grid
The last step is connecting your wind turbine to your home's electrical system:
- Disconnect mains power - Switch off circuit breakers before wiring your turbine.
- Grid-tie inverter - Connect the turbine to a grid-tie inverter that synchronizes to grid power.
- Run wires to panel - Link the inverter output to your breaker panel with appropriately sized cables.
- Throw disconnect switch - Restore utility power and test that your turbine is feeding the grid.
Consult an electrician if you are unfamiliar with home electrical systems. All wiring and connections should meet local building codes.
With proper installation and grid interconnection, you'll be generating clean renewable energy with your DIY backyard wind turbine. Perform regular inspections and maintenance to keep your turbine operating efficiently for years to come. Let me know if you have any other questions!