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Micro wind turbines

  • 26-10-2022 5:15pm
    Registered Users Posts: 22,404 ✭✭✭✭

    Are turbines useful at all compared to pv.

    I see lots of too good to be true products advertised but google quickly suggests they are either crap or plain lying about power figures.

    Don't see many getting installed but you would imagine they would be useful



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,228 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    +1 on what unkel says, with an additional piece of info (from a wind engineer) why.

    (852) Wind Turbines for Home: Is it Worth It? - YouTube

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,174 ✭✭✭denismc

    Wind turbines are mechanical, therefore they make noise, require maintenance and will eventually break down, As Unkel said wind works if you live in the middle of no-where with no trees and no other buildings.

    PV on the other hand is completely passive, once it is installed properly you can pretty much forget about it, it requires no maintenance and will pay for itself much faster.

    I think the longest part of my PV installation was erecting the scaffolding, the installation took less than half a day.

  • Registered Users Posts: 195 ✭✭UID0

    Looked into them about 13 years ago for the company I worked for at the time. They weren't viable unless we went big, and even with the grants available from SEAI (or SEI as they were at the time) who would have paid for about 1/3 of the cost, the payback period was too long.

    Micro turbines have their place, and are extremely useful for satisfying low power requirements that are distant from a grid power connection (e.g. electric fences, wireless security cameras, speed warning signs on the side of the road), but in general aren't useful for domestic production. There are exceptions, and if you live in the country and use electricity for heating, you could consider them as wind tends to be stronger in the winter than in the summer, and your electricity demand would also be higher in the winter.

    Unless the rules have changed since I was looking at them (2009/10) wind turbines can't be attached to dwellings, so they would have to be attached to a garage or need a mast. At the time, I had been thinking that a small turbine paired with a 12v immersion element could reduce the water heating costs, but it didn't make sense and I didn't go ahead with it.

    There's a video on youtube by "Engineering with Rosie" where she explains the problem with urban wind turbines (and compares with solar)

    Wind Turbines for Home: Is it Worth It? - YouTube

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,182 ✭✭✭✭ELM327

    I'm sitting here watching leaves and twigs fly past the windows for the last few days.

    It's on my list to investigate. I drew up my plan for the house in the next 5 years and put two wind turbines on it - well, on the plan away from the house! I've so much room for solar PV, wastewater collection + hydro, etc that wind is pretty far down the list in terms of ROI.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,182 ✭✭✭✭ELM327

    What is the 11kW system, who installed it for you?

  • Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭TerraSolis

    C&F 11kW - installed by C&F green energy (before they shut down years ago).

  • Registered Users Posts: 22,404 ✭✭✭✭mickdw

    Well I do live in a one off house where land owned runs to the top of a hill and literally no neighbours visible so that part is taken care of but I will take the advice and put it down as a non runner.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 62,719 CMod ✭✭✭✭unkel

    If you fall into the "unless" category, so the hill, the using enormous amounts of electricity, etc. then it's worth exploring.

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  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 4,486 Mod ✭✭✭✭graememk

    Yeah your in the maybe category!

    First thing I'd get is a weather station.

    Measure your wind.

    As usually it needs a good 4-5m/s to get it generating anything.

    It's not just thecost of the turbine, it's the tower that holds it, cable, rectifiers, inverters etc too.

    I've looked into it a few times, and basically comes down to have more solar and more batteries!

  • Registered Users Posts: 337 ✭✭samdeluxjones

    "I'm messing around with a cheap IstaBreeze turbine to see if it can be tricked into working reliably in conjunction with my home PV."

    Where did you get your IstaBreeze? Did you pay VAT & customs on import?

    Looking at doing the same myself, after a hell of a lot of research the IstaBreeze looks the best bang for buck and seems to perform as stated judging by a few American lads youtube videos. Other than that very little data..

    One of their controllers can be adjusted to suit whatever type of lithium batteries you have so in theory can be connected directly to battery pack that is hooked up to a hybrid inverter.

    I'd be very interested in knowing how you get on with this, I'm on the southeast coast so no shortage of wind here.


    Post edited by samdeluxjones on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,930 ✭✭✭jkforde

    These are interesting

    🌦️ 6.7kwp, 45°, SSW, mid-Galway 🌦️

  • Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭TerraSolis

    Cool! What kind of tower is she going on?

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,572 ✭✭✭✭Dtp1979

    If installing these small turbines directly into immersions do you need to use anything in between? Like charge controllers or safety breakers etc?

    im looking to install 6-8 small turbines directly into 6-8 immersions of the same rating as the turbines in a buffer tank.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,228 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    You'll need some kind of "dump load" (basically a massive resistor coil) too for taking the generated power when the tank is hot - otherwise "Bad-mojo" will happen. :-)

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,572 ✭✭✭✭Dtp1979

    It’s going to be a 2,000 litre buffer tank so very unlikely it will over heat!

    whst kind of bad mojo we talking about here?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,327 ✭✭✭Nelbert

    The energy has to go somewhere (solar inverters are a lot better at this). So if the take doesn't tank it and it's nowhere else to go it'll start frying the components of the turbine. Better to be grid tied to avoid this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,572 ✭✭✭✭Dtp1979

    But it’s 2,000 litres! I could always have an overheat thermostat on the buffer that if it got to 60 degrees etc it’d open a zone to dump heat inside. I’m more concerned about what Components I’d need from turbine to immersion.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,327 ✭✭✭Nelbert

    Why not go turbine/s to house circuit and heat tank with a few standard immersions?

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,626 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762

    We have a small turbine similar to Sams in the garage. There is talk of putting it on the roof and attaching it to a radiator in the bathroom only. The thinking being that if its winter, its cold, but windy, and would generate passive heat.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,228 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    It'll basically destroy the turbine if you don't send that current "somewhere". While 2000L is (a lot!) of water, still it's ~80Kwhr to heat it from 25C to 60C. Conceivably if you had 4 turbines doing 500watts each, that's 2kw/hr. If you had two breezy days in a row, the turbines (assuming they were doing the same output all the time, it's possible that you get the tank up to temp.

    Then when that happens, you need somewhere to send the power, but it usually a cheap and cheerful simple resistor (dump load)

    (1137) Wind Turbine Divert Dump Load Resistors | Missouri Wind and Solar - YouTube

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,327 ✭✭✭Nelbert

    Would be a shame to dump that generation when it could cover your house caseload and more.

    Would be an enviable position to be in to be able to cover your typical baseload at all times (while heating your buffer too!).

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,572 ✭✭✭✭Dtp1979

    It seems like a good problem to have! There’s no thermostats on these immersions so it could get up to possibly 85 before I’d get nervous. It’s an open vented heating system so there’s technically nothing to worry about once it’s plumber correctly. I’m a plumber by trade. Do I need to use breakers or and devices in between tte turbines?

    I’ll all also have solar thermal heating the buffer and a log boiler which I won’t be depending on long term

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,228 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    Yeah, it's a good problem to have.....if the turbines can consistently generate that power. Though once you get the water up to temp, then you'll want to protect your investment so that you can do it again the next day.

    So the turbines will create AC, you'll need that to go through a rectifier if you want it to use DC, but I think ultimately (and there are probably people more knowledgable than me here on the forums) I think the best way to go is to go via some form of charge controller which has a dump facility built into it when the "main load" (i.e. your hot water immersion) switches off.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,572 ✭✭✭✭Dtp1979

    But what do I need to dump? 2,000L of central heating water is massive no? The buffer itself is the battery no?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,327 ✭✭✭Nelbert

    Yes but in this case when the battery is full (tank is fully heated) you need to find a home for the electricity still being generated by the turbines.

    Some have suggested a controller with a resistor or dump load function. My preference would be to tie in to your main household electrical circuit (and therefore the grid) and cover your electrical usage.

    If you are generating enough to power an immersion heater (or two) you'd have enough to power the house and export the remaining to the grid (or batteries if you had them) and not have to worry about dump loads.

    If I had the location for it which you seem to I'd do turbine tied to house consumer board (via inverter) and distribute power from there.... An Eddi or similar controlling the water heater (would power up and down with available power beyond what the house needs).

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,572 ✭✭✭✭Dtp1979

    That all seems great long term and it’s something I’d do in the future once I get more into it. For now I’m trying to concentrate on getting a heating system that will work for free ideally. Elec bills are fine but this is a big house and it has big heating bills. I can’t ever see a scenario where I won’t need to pull from the buffer cause it’s too hot.

    now if it is the case that I’m over producing electricity then I’ll definitely look into tying it into the house electricity.

    really for now I’m trying to keep it simple and just wire some turbines into the elements. Do I need DC breakers or anything between the turbine and elements?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,327 ✭✭✭Nelbert

    A breaker with a sign above to say to apply the brake to the turbine first before switching..... Otherwise you're in to generating electricity with no where to go and end up with a fried turbine.

    My back of a envelope would be turbine -> breaker with turbine brake warning -> some form of dump load controller -> breaker -> immersion/s

    You can isolate each portion then. My suggestion just turns the dump load controller in to an inverter, tied to consumer board breaker which then has another breaker for the immersions.

    I really think you need to consider excess electricity generation more. You could end up with a great working system for a few days then fried turbines once the thermostat on immersions cuts them off and the electricity generation fries the turbines. That risk increases in summer when your central heating won't be up to much.

    Your water reaching the set temp won't stop the wind from blowing.