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Small Scale Wind Turbine: How Is It Different Than A Large One?

The small scale wind turbine has become very popular in recent years

. This is largely due to the fear that traditional sources of power have a more clear shelf life than we may have once thought and we may not have them around in their current form more than another generation or two.It is interesting to see how the small scale wind turbine has progressed in its development and how it has largely mirrored the development of the wind farm, or utility-grade wind turbine equipment.

These are the key areas that you can compare wind turbines and how the models that utilities use differ from the kind you and I would use at home

Horizontal orientation versus vertical - Most large scale wind turbine operations that are affiliated with utilities are horizontal and not vertical. That is not universally true, but horizontal is definitely the default position for those who want to make the most power because of the concept being a much more efficient. The reason horizontals are so much more efficient for large and small scale wind turbine devices is they have technology that constantly seeks the prevailing wind. These systems can approach 50% efficiency in some cases.

Battery backup - Most all large wind turbine operations have battery backup systems. These are very expensive though and they can increase the dollar outlay on a project by a factor of 2. Having a battery will allow a wind turbine project to function pretty much like a typical power generating plant in that the erratic production spikes are muted. Being able to store energy when the wind is blowing and then use it later when the wind has died down is a huge advantage, but it comes with a very high cost.


Computer control - Utility scale wind turbine projects typically have computer control of how and when they turn to face the optimal wind. Small scale wind turbine equipment does not typically have this level of sophistication. This type of optimizing hardware and software will one day be the standard on small scale home units as well but for now only the larger projects only have this level of advanced technology.

The small scale wind turbine will most likely always be behind the progress of its larger scale brother that utilities and commercial operations use. That is not necessarily bad news for the home wind turbine kit market though because improvements will come from the R&D money spent by large corporations that stand to gain a lot more from technological advance in their products.

by: Roger Brown
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Small Scale Wind Turbine: How Is It Different Than A Large One? Rawalpindi