||What is Small Wind?
Rethinking the Grid
“Microgeneration” is the production of zero or low-carbon electrical power by individuals, small businesses, and communities to meet their own needs. “Small wind” is both a genuine form of clean energy production and a cultural movement that is gaining global momentum.
Traditional megapower production of electricity tends to be inefficient because large power stations are generally located some distance from the point-of-use. This means the energy must be moved from its source to where it is needed, which requires a vast and complex infrastructure.
Small wind products are inspiring a global movement towards reducing carbon emissions, reducing energy expenses, and allowing individuals, businesses, and communities to go “off the grid.”
Harvesting the Wind
The distinction between vertical axis wind turbines and their traditional horizontal axis counterparts is simple, but makes an enormous difference in their operation. Put simply, the main axis of a VAWT is perpendicular to the ground and offers a variety of functional advantages. And, they are so appealing visually, you might just think you’re looking at a work of art.
Generally speaking, VAWTs are:
- Not affected by the direction of the wind, which is useful in areas where the wind changes direction frequently or quickly. Unlike traditional horizontal axis wind turbines, a yaw mechanism (which rotates the turbine toward the wind) is not necessary. Because of this, VAWTs outperform horizontal axis turbines in areas where a tall tower isn't feasible or obstacles are located nearby.
- Better able to harvest turbulent air flow found around buildings and other obstacles, and generally turn at lower wind speeds than their traditional counterparts.
- Ideal for rural, suburban, exurban, and urban applications, including rooftop installations. Depending on the building’s construction, wind flow over the roof may be concentrated, leading to increased energy output. VAWTs can be mounted closer to the ground.
- Able to generate energy during a general power outage.
- Simple to install and easy to maintain.
- Quiet and bird-friendly.