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Wind Power

1.About Small Wind Turbines

Humans have used wind to grind corn, pump water or drive a ship for well over a thousand years. It was not until the end of the 19th century that people began using wind energy to produce electricity.

Today more than 50 companies around the world produce an estimated 50,000 wind generators per year.

Small wind is now used to produce electricity for a variety of applications including utility-connected homes and businesses, remote homes, water pumping, telecommunication systems, off-shore platform lighting, and more.

Typical modern battery-charging system with wind-solar hybrid
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Small wind and solar panels (photovoltaic) are often seen as complimentary technology as both are used together as a hybrid system to offset the variability of sun and wind resources.
Modern uses for small wind turbines:
  1. Remote homes and cabins
  2. Utility-connected rural, suburban and urban homes (Skystream site)
  3. Sailboats
  4. Offshore platforms
  5. Telecommunications
  6. Cathodic protection
  7. Remote monitoring
  8. Retail and commercial

2、Small Wind Basics

What is a wind generator?

The proper name of a wind generator is actually “Wind Energy Converter” that being a device that converts the potential energy in the wind to another form of energy. This can either be mechanical or electrical.

How does the wind generator work?

When the wind blows, the rotor blade stops a percentage of the wind. That percentage is what is converted into energy. According to physics, the maximum amount of wind energy that can be converted is 59.3%. This is known as the Betz Limit.

I’ve seen lots of different looking designs, which is the best?
The most common designs include:
  1. Horizontal upwind: The generator shaft is positioned horizontally and the wind hits the blade before the tower.
  2. Horizontal downwind: The generator shaft is positioned horizontally and the wind hits the tower first then the blade.
  3. Vertical Axis: The generator shaft is positioned vertically with the blades pointing up with the generator mounted on the ground or a short tower.

Experimentation has found that the horizontal axis upwind or down wind design to be the best design for overall efficiency and reliability.