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In this section you can find information on residential wind turbine systems.  This section provides detailed information on the equipment you need to harness wind energy and the requirements for wind energy sites. 

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finding a contractor

Finding an experienced Wind Energy contractor in your local area can be difficult.  Unlike the solar industry, there is no nationally recognized database of wind energy contractors and no nationally recognized process for certifying them. NABCEP, a renewable energy certifying association has certifications for solar PV and solar thermal but is still working on its certification program for wind energy. One source of information on wind energy providers is the member directory of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), an industry group for the wind energy industry.

Another option for finding wind energy providers is to contact manufacturers who produce wind turbines.  Most of them have distributors by region and can tell you who in your area installs their turbines. You can find a listing of small-wind manufacturers in this section by clicking on Wind Energy Manufacturers from the menu.

Finally, if all else fails try using the paper or Web-based yellow pages.  For many areas or for older phone books there is sometimes no listing category for "Wind Energy" so you may have to try listings such as "Electric Contractors" or "Home Contractors". 

When selecting a wind energy contractor here are some key things to look for:

  1.  General Experience - How many years experience does the company have in installing renewable small wind energy systems.  The use of small wind turbines is a growing area and many contractors have limited track records.
  2. Local Experience - Has the contractor installed wind turbines in your local area.  The closer the better. See if any of those home might allow you to talk to the owner.
  3. Licensing - Is the contractor licensed in your county and are they familiar with state and local building regulations that impact wind installations.
  4. Certifications - Does the contractor have any specific manufacturer or industry certifications.
  5. References - References are invaluable, particularly if they reflect local work that is similar to what you plan to do.  Don't rely just on written references because too often these might be from family or friends.  Get references you can call and then don't be shy about calling. That is often the best way to get the real scoop on a contractor.
  6. Knowledge of Incentives - Most states and some local governments provide a number of financial incentives for solar systems. These can make a huge difference in the cost of your wind energy system.  Find out if the contractor you are considering is familiar with these incentives.  Moreover, find out if they will apply for the financial incentives for you as part of their package.
  7. Warranties - The best contractors warranty their work.  When comparing bidders look to see who provides the strongest warranty. Check the fine print!

 

Special Feature
The wind energy field is rapidly maturing and becoming a major source of energy for a growing population. To see a perfect example of this check out our  new feature: The Evolution of Wind Energy in the Tehachapis. The Tehachapi mountains are one of the windiest areas in the U.S. and wind power has been established there for over 30 years. Learn how succeeding generations of wind technology have helped this area become one of the country's top energy producers.
New Products
400 Watt Wind Turbine

The Sunforce  400 Watt Wind Generator uses wind to generate power and run your appliances and electronics. Constructed from lightweight, weatherproof cast aluminum, this generator is also a great choice for powering pumps or charging batteries for large power demands. With a maximum power up to 400 watts or 27 amps, this device features a fully integrated regulator that automatically shuts down when the batteries are completely charged. The 44444 is virtually maintenance free with only two moving parts, and the carbon fiber composite blades ensure low wind noise while the patented high wind over speed technology guarantees a smooth, clean charge. Assembly is required, but this generator installs easily and mounts to any sturdy pole, building, or the Sunforce 44455 Wind Generator 30-Foot Tower Kit. The 44444 uses a 12-volt battery (not included) and measures 15 x 9 x 27 inches (WxHxD).

Wind Factbook
The first windmill for electricity production was built in Cleveland, Ohio by Charles F. Brush in 1888.  By 1908 there were 72 wind-driven electric generators from 5 kW to 25 kW. The largest machines were on 24 m (79 ft) towers with four-bladed 23 m (75 ft) diameter rotors.

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