Small wind turbines add some key values to any home: Free, renewable power, a visible demonstration of one’s commitment to living with less reliance on the fossil fuel grid, and of course, the undeniable cool factor.
For off-grid homes, energy needs are more acute than for grid-tied homes. Off-gridders are very much on their own when it comes to power (and practically everything else). They have self-reliance down to an art form.
Going far beyond the cool factor, here are some other reasons off-grid people love their home wind turbines.
Power in wind or shine, day and night. This is important, especially when you’re off-grid and redundant energy sources are a must. It’s pretty simple: Your solar PV panels collect your power in daylight hours, your wind turbine chips in during the day and night, when solar is offline. And, your wind turbine shines on the days when the sun doesn’t -- especially during those wintry overcast months and stormy summer days.
Batteries of any kind are a significant investment. The most common off-grid systems use lead acid batteries, which typically need to stay above a certain level of charge (often 50 percent) and can’t sit at a partial state of charge without incurring damage. A wind turbine adds performance and life to any batteries, particularly those that thrive on staying charged. The additional rate at which wind-enabled off-grid systems charge batteries adds key storage and exercises the batteries at critical times.
It kind of takes the fun out of being disconnected from the fossil fuel grid if you’re dependent on a fossil fuel generator. Practically every off-grid system includes a backup generator (again, redundant systems are key). Having solar with wind added can drastically reduce the amount of time you spent running off the gas generator. This is good for the wallet, not just the heart and mind – gas generators of course require expensive fuel and regular maintenance.
We’ve heard off-grid people remark, “I’m doing laundry on a cloudy day!” and “I’m running everything I need to run and not relying on a fossil fuel source.” The advantages of combining wind and solar go beyond system performance and floating batteries – it’s an enhancement to the off-grid lifestyle as a whole.
Wind and solar are always best together, and for off-grid homes, it’s a match made in self-sufficient heaven.
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