When we think of harnessing wind energy, we often associate it with massive turbines dotting vast landscapes. However, did you know that there are resources available to harness wind on a much smaller scale? And that these resources can help your business increase energy efficiency and lower utility bills?
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), small wind turbines are electric generators that utilize wind energy to produce clean, emissions-free power for individual homes, farms and small and medium businesses. With this technology, you can generate your own power and cut your energy bills while helping to protect the environment.
Called vertical access wind turbines, this smaller-scale solution doesn’t require the same permitting requirements and is placed much closer to the ground. Additionally, as the technology continues to advance, the turbines are more discreet and are virtually noise and vibration free.
The turbines can be connected to your electricity grid through a grid-tie inverter or an off-grid inverter. A grid-tie inverter will feed excess energy into the electricity grid when your wind turbine produces excess power. In most areas your utility company will give you credit for the excess. An off-grid inverter does not push energy into the grid. Instead it stores excess energy in batteries. The grid is used however, if the turbine is not providing sufficient energy.
The AWEA provides a very comprehensive breakdown of small-scale wind energy in their Guide for State and Local Governments, including general background and zoning information, benefits and common issues.
Additionally, Urban Green Energy, provides helpful information on the various turbine models, how to determine which would meet your energy needs, financing and purchasing information.
What do you think of small-scale wind turbines? Is this a technology that you would use for your business or home?