How to Build a Solar Power Windmill

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How to Build a Solar Power Windmill. Faced with rising utility bills, many conscientious homeowners are turning to alternative energy sources to supplement or replace their dependence on "the grid." Solar and wind power are two alternatives an individual user can pursue as readily, if not more so, as a major utility company. Here's how to build a solar power-windmill system.

Planning Your System

  • Determine how much energy you presently consume by reviewing your utility bills and what you use electricity for the most.

  • Cut back on your wasteful use of electricity. Turn off lights you don't need when you're not using them, and put your televisions and computer monitors on power strips that you can turn off when they're not being used so that electricity isn't powering the "instant on" feature.

  • Add up the total wattage of all appliances you use on a regular basis and factor in an amount for the appliances you use only occasionally.

  • Research the output of solar panels and windmills to determine how many of each you need to generate enough power to reasonably maintain your lifestyle. Also investigate battery storage capacities; you'll need to have at least two days' energy in reserve in case of extreme cloudiness or continued calm winds.

  • Evaluate the average wind speed and solar output for your location; in most locations, winds of 5 to 15 miles per hour are more likely than stronger winds. Determine the appropriate wind turbine diameter by cubing the average wind speed in miles per hour, multiplying by 0.01328, dividing this result into your yearly energy usage in kilowatt hours and taking the square root of the results.

  • Decide whether you wish to build a windmill yourself or purchase a kit. Doing it yourself is an efficient way to use scrap lumber and metals, but it also requires significant wood and metalworking skills. Drawing a model of your windmill may help in deciding which way to proceed.

  • Shop for the best prices on power generating equipment. Evaluate the cost of solar panels and windmill turbines according to how much power output you're getting for each dollar you spend.

Putting It Together

  • Install solar panels on a place on your roof where the sun strikes most often. (In most locations, this will be on the southwest-facing side.)

  • Erect a windmill tower in an area where the wind can strike the turbine blades without interference from surrounding objects. Be sure the tower is tall enough to clear low-level turbulence to enhance performance.

  • Attach the turbine to the tower. Be sure the blades are of sufficient length and pitched to catch the prevailing winds and turn freely.

  • Connect the windmill into an alternator or generator to convert the wind power into electricity.

  • Wire the generator, solar panels and battery into your electrical system.

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