How To Choose Your Wind Power Turbine

Once you have decided on wind energy to power your home then you need to buy a wind power turbine.

That buying decision means weighing up quite a few things before reaching your decision. In this page we are going to list the things you need to take into account. Some of these issues have been addressed at length in other pages and we'll refer you to those as we go along, for perhaps you haven't visited those pages yet.

Buy An Accredited Wind Power Turbine

Accreditation schemes are in place which test turbines against standards – for factors such as performance, noise, safety and duration.

For our purposes we will discuss two major accreditation schemes, already setup and well established.

It is our firm policy that we will only recommend accredited wind power turbines to prospective consumers.

Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC)

The above body evolved through a planning process, beginning in 2006, through to the establishment of the SWCC (opens in a new window) in 2008. Policies and procedures were then developed and SWCC began taking applications for accreditation in 2010.

The SWCC site outlines the purpose of certification as follows:

”Certification is the formal process through which the SWCC, an independent organization, assesses and issues certificates and consumer labels for the performance and safety of small wind turbines in accordance with criteria established in the AWEA Standard. SWCC Certification is based on an evaluation of the wind turbine design (Structural Analysis) and field testing (Power performance test, Acoustic sound test, Safety & Function test, and Duration test).”

The benefits of certification for the consumer are many, perhaps best expressed as giving you the confidence that your purchase will do pretty much what the labels say it will. Factors like location and wind speed will cause variations to stated performance, but you will have a clear indication of what you can expect. This is crucial because of the many half-truths and gross misrepresentations that exist in the market place. Some of the claims made for wind power turbine performance are misleading, to put it mildly. To illustrate this point see our pages on:


Rooftop Wind Power

Wind Power Facts

At present (January 2012) the SWCC has accredited only 2 wind power turbines.

These are the Bergey Excel 10 and the Southwest Skystream 3.7. If you are in the market for a wind power turbine you know that either of those will suit, depending on your needs and objectives.For someone aiming to cover all their electricity costs then the Excel 10 with rated annual energy of 13,800 Kw-hrs at wind speed of 5m/sec is a great choice. Obviously the cost is higher but so are the returns. Alternatively, the Skystream 3.7 is great if you have more modest aims of if you wish to combine wind power with another renewable energy source, such as solar power.

It is worth noting that the SWCC maintains a list on their site of all those companies and their turbines who have started the accreditation process, which is quite lengthy. So check out their site periodically as they add to their list of accredited turbines.

Microgeneration Certification Systems (MCS)

The above system applies in the United Kingdom (UK) and is linked with being eligible for feed-in tariffs. In other words if you want to receive the tariffs then you must purchase an MCS accredited wind power turbine. The MCS is based on the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) standard which is very similar to the American Wind Energy Association 9.1 standard.

Presently, (January 2012) the following list of 18 turbines has the MCS certification

  • Aircon 10S (10k W 7.5 rotor diameter)
  • Bergey Excel 10
  • C&F Green Energy CF15 single phase
  • C&F Green Energy CF15 three phase
  • C&F Green Energy CF20 split
  • C&F Green Energy CF20 three phase
  • Evance R9000 
  • Evoco 10
  • Gaia Wind 133 - 11kW 
  • Kingspan KW6
  • Proven Energy P11
  • Quietrevolution QR 5 v1.3
  • Skystream 3.7
  • Skystream Marine 3.7
  • Westwind 20 kW
  • Xzeres -442SR Wind 

You will note that the Bergey Excel and Skystream 3.7 have both SWCC and MCS certifications.

This is something that will probably become more prevalent over time, as many of these manufacturers market their products internationally and will use the leverage gained from one certification to secure the other, thus giving them credibility over a wider area.

The relationship between the British standard and the American standard

There is a very high degree of common ground in the two standards but also some differences. In this case, the SWCC may grant conditional certification to a manufacturer whose wind power turbine has MCS accreditation. The manufacturer then has 18 months to meet the full requirements.

Guidelines to follow when considering the purchase of a wind power turbine

  • Save energy - put effort into saving energy in your current home situation. Every dollar you save this way will translate into at least three times that on your turbine purchase.
  • Work out your objectives - do you want to become totally independent via wind energy or partly independent?
  • Gather information about your location - are you in a high density urban area, semi-rural, rural? Get wind data for your area. Buy an anemometer! Work out where you will put your turbine.If you want further information about this, please see Wind Power For Homes
  • Check out the wind power turbines appropriate to your objectives and location. Our advice is to get a horizontal axis wind turbine (hawt) rather than a vertical axis wind turbine (vawt).
  • Rated annual energy output in Kw-hrs at wind speed 5m/sec is the most important factor - don't be unduly influenced by its rated power.
  • Calculate your overall costs carefully – turbine, tower, installation, any local permits that may be necessary.
  • Check out the grants and subsidies available in your area and use that information to work out the return on your investment.
  • Buy an accredited wind power turbine
  • Use an accredited installer to set up your turbine. Usually, the dealer will be able to supply you with a list of accredited installers.

If, for some reason, you are tempted into looking at a turbine that is not accredited, then we strongly advise you to do your due diligence very carefully. There is a lot of misrepresentation and marketing hype that can easily draw you into a purchase that you might really regret. That is not to say that a non-accredited turbine won't be suited to your situation. However, you really need to look at the claims made by the manufacturer/seller. Our Wind Power Facts page is very helpful in this regard.

Following the above guidelines and advice will help you end up with a turbine that meets your needs. You will benefit financially over time and you will know that you are contributing to a healthier environment where we have a much greater measure of control over our energy future.

Fascinated by wind turbines? Want to find out more?

More and more people are looking to the wind to produce electricity for their homes. However, there are so many questions to consider - what to buy? where to put it? Is it a worthwhile investment? and more...

So we are inviting you to ask your questions about wind turbines - anything that's on your mind really as long as its on topic.

We'll do our best to answer them as quickly as we can.

If we don't answer your question it will be for one of three reasons:

  • We've answered it before - and we'll point you to that answer.
  • It's outside the scope of our knowledge (although we'll do our level best to find out)

  • The question isn't relevant to the site topic

There are two key areas on this page to help you with your wind turbine question(s)

Wind turbine questions other people have asked...

See the questions other people have asked

Number of blades on a wind turbine 
I see from some of your other pages that the "swept area" - the area covered by the turbine blades - is very important. If a turbine has 6 blades as …

Using a VAWT at home 
I want to add a wind turbine to my home, it is a small lot, and I can't really go too high. Can I use a VAWT style turbine instead of a standard generator? …

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