No matter what type of source you choose to collect or generate electrical energy, there are some things that are essential before you can use this energy to power your home. Sure we all want to be free of the monthly bills that seem to increase each month, but before you can do that you must have a system already installed to generate, store and then convert the direct current (DC) electricity to alternating current (AC) that your household appliances and gadgets utilize.
A word of caution is necessary and I will repeat it throughout this lens. Remember that you are dealing with electricity. Electricity can deal you shock that at the least will ruin your day and at the most can kill. Do not play with electricity. If you are not an electrician, I suggest you become friends with one. That way you'll have professional advice and, since he (or she) is your friend, you'll probably get a discount on material and labor and whatever else is necessary. If you do not know anything about electricity, do not attempt this at home by yourself.
As with most of my articles, I am relying on my own personal knowledge that has been gathered over my lifetime to provide accurate, true and hopefully useful information. If you should see where I have made an error, I would appreciate it if you would point it out to me so I can correct it. Opinions excluded from this. I do value your opinions, and I even provide areas for everyone to express their own opinions.
Wind power has been utilized by humans for centuries far back in very ancient times. Imagine the looks on people's faces when the first sail was utilized to power a raft or boat or small ship. Who knows what it was used on? The Dutch are famous for their windmills, and windmils were also used in other places to power mills for grinding grain and even in the textile industries.
Wind power is currently being used in many places in the United States and other countires. There has been some success in using these monster-sized windmills with huge blades mounted on high towers. They do generate electricity and this electricity goes into the national grid. But the main problem with them, other than they have a reputation for breaking down, is that no one wants them in "their backyards." They are somewhat ugly according to some, and spoil the skyline in other places.
But, there are models on the market that are made just for use with the single family dwellings in which so many families live. These wind turbine systems provide electricity to the individual home and do a very nice job of it–when the wind is blowing. When the wind is not blowing, they might as well not even exist.
There is also the problem of winds that are too fast. Now it might seem to make sense that the faster the wind blows, the better it is for generating electricity. That is true up to a point. Turbines have a device built into them that regulates the speed at which the blades turn the generator. This is so that the frequency of the alternating current being produced by the generators remains constant. In the United States, we use electricity with a frequency of 60 Hz (Hz stands for Hertz and was named after one of the pioneers of electrical research back when electricity was still a new science) or 60 cycles per second. In other countries they use 50 HZ or 50 cycles per second. If the wind is blowing too strongly or too fast, this device can break and then no power will be transmitted from the blades to the generator. Most wind turbines have a cutoff system to prevent damage to the turbine due to winds that are too strong or fast for optimum electrical generation. They even work well most of the time.
Other turbines use a system that changes the pitch of the blades so that the blades are not affected by the wind as much, and tend to turn slower. But they can only go so far with this type system and it is pretty expensive and is usually only found on the big tower-type turbines.
So is the use of wind turbines the answer? It would appear the answer to that question is no, at least not with present day technologies. But for use at a single family home, they have their possibilities. And, depending where you live and the kinds of winds you get, and how steadily the winds blow there, they may very well be your best choice among the "green" energy alternative.
And, again, once the electricity is generated, it must be changed to DC, stored in batteries, and then converted back to AC when needed in your home. This is not only true of wind turbines, but also of solar panels and even of the systems that utilize Tesla's "free electricity" methods.
Photovotaic cells have been around for several decades now. And they haven't advanced very far from those first "primitive" solar cells. Sure, we use them in all sorts of things, calculators, watches and even take them camping to provide a few homey comforts out in the wilderness. And, of course to generate electricity to power homes and even office buildings. But they are expensive, and there is some form of pollution released in the manufacture of these cells.
In spite of this they remain one of the most popular forms of alternative renewable energy sources around today. There is even one company here in Louisiana that advertises their product for payments of $45 a month. They base this on the fact that almost everyone's electric bill is at least $45 a month. They will come to your home and set up a solar powered system that will generate enough power to run your household and base it on the size of your home and the amount of electrical power it uses. Unfortunately, the payback on this is something on the order of 20 years or more. And what happens if the weather doesn't cooperate and there are cloudy skies and rain for several days. This requires some type of storage system.