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Wind Turbine Basics

Wind Turbines use the wind's energy to generate electricity. Here we look at wind turbines, the equipment used in a wind turbine system, how wind turbines work and assess the benefits of wind turbines.

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Wind Turbines

Wind turbines can be one of the most effective methods of generating electricity when sited in a good location. A correctly positioned wind turbine can produce excellent results, reducing the dependance on the National Grid and replacing carbon emissions that would otherwise have been generated from using conventional energy sources.

Wind turbines generate electricity and can supply buildings in parallel with grid electricity and operate as stand alone systems. Wind turbines are not well suited to medium-high density urban areas but in a windy rural location they offer excellent performance.

Components of a Wind Power System

Locating Wind Turbines

The amount of wind and the speed in which the wind hits the turbine is essential for a successful installation. Good locations for wind turbines could include:

Benefits of a Wind Power System:

How Long does installation take?

This depends on the system you require installing and the amount of cabling and roofing work required. Generally between 1-5 days from arrival to commissioning the system.

Will I require planning permission for a Wind Turbine?

Yes, typical reasons for rejection are:

How long will my system last?

The average lifetime of a wind turbine is in excess of 20 years. Different manufacturers have different warranty periods.

What about Wind Turbine maintenance?

All Wind Turbine systems require servicing and an inspection annually.

Is my site windy enough for a Wind Turbine?

If the wind speed at a site is recorded over a year, it will be seen to vary about a mean wind speed value. This is the annual mean wind speed (AMWS) and is an indication of how much wind energy is available. In the UK, AMWS could be as low as 4 m/s (9.0 mph) for an inland site to around 8 m/s (13 mph) or higher on the most exposed sites.

In general, you need an AMWS of at least 4 m/s to be able to generate a reasonable amount of energy, ideally more than 4.5 m/s.

How high should the wind turbine tower be?

Standard towers are 9, 12, 13, 15 and 18m metres high. In general, the higher the tower, the higher the average wind speed that the turbine will experience, but it may not always be the case. A site survey will be needed.

How much space do I need for a wind turbine?

Ideally, the turbine should be sited as far away as possible from buildings or trees, which may block the wind and cause turbulence. As a guide, the wind generator should be about twice the height of obstructions in front of it (for at least the prevailing wind direction).

Micro-Hydro

Micro hydro is suitable for situations where there is a combination of sufficient water flow and 'head' (the height the water drops) to drive a turbine to generate electricity. The output from the system is a product of the two, with some efficiency factors to consider.

Not very much water is needed if the water drops more than 20metres (for example a mountain stream) or very large amounts are needed if the water only drops a few feet (a large river). Please note, not all the water in a stream may be taken for hydro purposes. Typically only up to 50% is allowed and it is necessary to obtain an abstraction license from the Environment Agency.

The system requires an intake for the water, a penstock through which the water is transported to the turbine. The turbine, generator and control gear need to be housed. Hydro can be used for off-grid or grid connected applications.

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Mains/Grid Isolation and Surge Protection

Mains/AC Surge Protection Solar PV Systems

A whole house surge protector is installed to provide protection from transient overvoltages originating from the mains/grid. A whole house surge protector is installed directly inline and as close as possible to the incoming mains/grid supply meter, this allows for surge protection for all circuits and equipment including solar inverters, routers, stereos and other sensitive electrical equipment within the network. The addition of a 100Amp lockable isolator also allows for safe and convenient isolation of all electrical equipment within the network including consumer units, solar inverters, battery storage units and EV chargers from the mains/grid in one place.

Surge protectors are in compliance with the recently updated 18th edition amendment 2 of BS7671.

Mains/Grid Isolation and Surge Protection

 

Solar PV Surge Protection (DC Surge Protection)

DC Surge Protection Solar PV Systems

DC surge protection devices (SPDs) are installed between the solar panels and the solar inverter to protect both the solar inverter and the downstream electrical equipment from transient overvoltages of an atmospheric origin impacting the electrical system via the DC side of the system / the solar panels.

DC Surge protectors are in compliance with the recently updated 18th edition amendment 2 of BS7671.

Solar PV Surge Protection (DC Surge Protection)

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Articles: Further Information, Calculators & Solat Inverter Fault Codes

Lots of articles, calculators and technical information including links for further reading. Covering a range of topics related to the installation and maintenance of solar photovoltaic and electrical systems in the UK.

/Solar PV Information Articles

Engineering Recommendation G98

Grid Connections for Micro-Generators including Solar PV Systems and Elecricity Storage Systems in the UK. Under 16Amps Per Phase, grid synchronised.

How to provide power to a house using a portable generator

In this article we show you how to power your home using a portable diesel, petrol or LPG generator. We look at changeover switches, the importance of earthing, generator loadings, how to isolate non essential loads. We ask where to locate the generator when it's in operation, how best to safely isolate the grid/mains power supply and switch to a generator supply.

Ground Faults, Isolation (ISO) Faults, RISO Low Faults and Insulation Resistance Faults with Solar PV Systems

After a number of years exposed to wind, rain, snow, ice and sometimes animals; solar panel systems can start to develop faults. The most common faults we find related to exposure are ground faults, isolation (ISO) faults, RISO low faults and insulation resistance faults. In this article we take a look at what these faults are, the possible causes and what steps are taken to identify and resolve them.

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Areas Served:

We are located in Wanborough, very close to Swindon in Wiltshire, Southern England, UK. From here we service clients within a 90 minute driving radius including the towns, cities and regions below:

Swindon: Abingdon, Aldbourne, Amesbury, Andover, Banbury, Basingstoke, Bath, Berkshire, Bicester, Blunsdon, Box, Bracknell, Bradford on Avon, Bridgwater, Bristol, Buckingham, Burford, Burnham on Sea, Calne, Camberley, Cardiff, Carterton, Cheltenham, Chippenham, Chipping Norton, Chipping Sodbury, Cirencester, Corsham, Cricklade, Devizes, Didcot, Evesham, Eynsham, Faringdon, Frome, Fleet, Glastonbury, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Henley-on-Thames, Highclere, Highworth, Hook, Hungerford, Keynsham, Kingsclere, Lambourn, Lechlade, Ledbury, Ludgershall, Lyneham, Maidenhead, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Marshfield, Melksham, Minety, Newbury, Newport, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Pewsey, Purton, Ramsbury, Reading, Ross on Wye, Royal Wootton Bassett, Salisbury, Shaftesbury, Shalbourne, Slough, Southampton, Stow, Stratford upon Avon, Stroud, Swindon, Tewkesbury, Thatcham, Tidworth, Trowbridge, Wanborough, Wantage, Warminster, Weston Super Mare, Wiltshire, Winchester, Windsor, Witney, Wokingham, Worcester, Wroughton and Yate.

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