wind powered systems performance depends on their location

The success and performance of any small wind powered system depends largely on its location. Even if the wind in your area blows at high speed, you still need to consider the best location.

Wind speed varies within the same property, and you should not underestimate this fact.

Do not forget that small differences in the speed of the wind have a big impact on the generated power. Increasing the wind speed from 12 miles per hour (6 meters per second) to 16-17 mph can double the turbine’s electrical output.
Running a power line from a remote site to the utility grid can involve high costs: $15,000-$50,000 or more per mile.

Selecting the best location

When assessing the best location for your wind system…

1 – be aware to zoning requirements and covenants: small wind systems are rural and semi-urban area devices, installed in properties with at least one acre;

Even if you have a large property, take into consideration covenants and use restrictions, such as the distance from property lines.Wind turbine systems need an annual average wind speed of at least 12-13 miles per hour (6 meters per second) to be effective.

2- in non-flat properties, site the turbine on the windy side of a hill, or on its top, for a better access to prevailing winds; avoid the sheltered side of hills.

3 – consider existing obstacles - trees, buildings… - but also possible future obstructions. If the existing trees have not reached their mature size, consider it too… Obviously, you need to know about the prevailing directions of the wind.

Valleys, mountains and forests, but also simple trees, buildings and fences may have a big impact on the wind direction and speed. Consider them, and also possible future obstructions.Do not forget the key rule about the best location: wind turbines need to be sited upwind of any obstacle; they need to be 30 feet (10 meters) above anything within a distance of 300 feet (90 meters).

4 - Leave enough room for maintenance; wind towers may have to be raised and lowered, and you should consider it too.

5 - Allow room for the guy tires, if you are going to buy a guyed tower.

6 - Consider the length of the wire run (between the house, batteries… and the turbine). That length should be the shortest possible to limit electricity loss, and also to reduce costs; if you do need a long wire run, consider to invert DC to AC. Wind turbines must be located far enough from buildings, treetops, fences, etc. Find a good clearing, and install the wind turbine on a reasonably tall tower.

Location and the height of the tower

The image below shows how a building - or any other ground obstruction - deflects the wind, and the distances at which the wind turbine should be located, and the height of its tower (US DOE).

Wind turbines and turbulence

See also:
Wind Towers Height and Types




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