The technology for building a home windmill to make some or all of your household electricity has really become practical in recent years. Until a few years ago if you wanted to build your own windmill it would have had to be a commercial unit costing $10,000 and up. Today with modern technology and improved do-it-yourself instructional aids, it’s possible to build a small wind turbine for as little as $200 for a basic, simple system. Of course, larger systems of the size that can support a full-sized home cost more.
In theory, a windmill (or wind turbine) is very simple. The wind acts upon the blades,( which are like little wings) and the blades in turn rotate a hub which is connected to an electric motor – or a generator, in this case. This direct current (DC) motor (generator) operates in reverse, generating electricity as it spins. The energy is then stored in batteries. When electricity is demanded, the current stored in the batteries goes through a small electrical device called a power inverter (which converts the DC electricity to alternating current – DC) which then goes to power lights and other electrical appliances..
The main parts of a windmill are as follows;
1. The Windmill or Wind Turbine. This often consists of 3 or more blades of widely varying radii attached to a hub that is also connected to a DC electric motor. This assembly (blades, hub and generator) are attached the the top of a tower that is at least 8 to 12 feet tall. A small fin is attached to the back of the generator to keep the blades facing into the wind.
2. Batteries. This a set of one or more deep cycle lead-acid batteries that store the generated power for later use.
3. Power Inverter. This electronic device converts the direct current (DC) that comes from the the batteries to alternating current (AC) that most household appliances require.
4.Controller. This electronic device prevents the batteries from being overcharged and damaged.
5. System Meter. This electronic gizmo monitors the amount of power available from the battery bank and how much power is being used at any given time. It can also direct excess power back into the “grid” for sale – at a profit to you!
Modern plans and equipment for building a home windmill can be simple and inexpensive for limited use, or large enough to power your entire household, if your finances and ability permit. A simple home electricity generating system wouldn’t have batteries to store excess power, or even make enough electricity to sell back to your utility. A larger, higher capacity (read: more expensive) system could power your entire home.
Building a windmill is not terribly complex, but it does require a good set of illustrated plans written by someone with direct hands-on experience building home windmills. Below, you’ll find links to some of the more popular home wind & solar energy plans and instructions available today
The technology is definitely available to suit most any ability and budget, and all varieties can be a lot of fun to build and operate.
Earth4Energy is probably the premier home wind & solar energy source for practical, do-it-yourself plans and expertise.
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