A summary of most Frequently Asked Questions and their answers. For all Frequently Asked Questions see FAQ below.
Can I have my own wind turbine?
Small wind turbines are ideal for householders, communities and small businesses to use for on-site energy generation. Your individual site specifics (such as location, wind speed and local landscape) will eventually determine the best turbine type and size for your case.
How do I find out if my site is windy enough?
Wind Maps are available (see also on download page), which tells you the average wind speed in your area. The actual wind speed at your site will be influenced by the local topography and any nearby obstructions such as trees or other buildings. Wind movement around buildings themselves is very fickle, so consult Fortis if wind turbines are fixed to buildings. A better solution is a wind turbine as free standing on a tube or guyed tower. A site with an average wind speed of 4-5 meters per second is generally sufficient enough to make installing a small wind turbine worthwhile.
How does a wind turbine make electricity?
Most wind turbines have three blades which face into the wind. The wind turns the blades round, this spins the shaft, which connects to a generator. A generator produces electrical energy from mechanical energy.
Do I need planning permission?
Small wind energy installations may require planning permission and you should always consult the local authority, preferably confirmed in writing if this is needed. It is clearly good manners to discuss your plans and aspirations neighbours. Relevant factors include environmental impact, access to the site, noise and visual effects. Overall, national planning policies support the development of small scale wind energy.
Are wind turbines noisy?
Our small wind turbines have been designed to be very quiet, for instance by having direct drive systems to avoid gear box noise and to increase efficiency. In general, the wind itself makes more noise than a wind turbine. It is most unlikely that any noise from small wind turbines will be heard at more than 30 m. The noise is in the field around 40-50 dB(A). See an overview of noises at download page.
What size turbine will I need?
To find out which wind turbine you need depends on your energy demand. Your energy demand is in kWh/yr and stated in your account of the energy supplier. On request we can calculated your AEP (Annual Energy Production) for the site. Note however, that the generation from a wind turbine and the demand in a house are not coincident. If the wind turbine is connected to your side of the utility meter, you will use all the wind power available to meet your demand. When the wind generated power is greater than your demand, the excess is exported to your local network. You are permitted to sell that excess to a supplier under terms arranged with that supplier. Export metering measurement will be needed.
How tall are small wind turbines?
Tower height varies according to wind turbine models, but generally range from 12 to 30 meters. In general, the higher the tower, the higher the average wind speed that the turbine will experience and the smoother the wind. The rotor diameter of small wind turbines ranges from 2 to 7 meters depending on the type of wind turbine.
How much space do I need for a turbine?
The surface area of the foundation is the space you need for installation. Depending of the wind turbine type the surface varies from 6 m² to 12 m².
Ideally, stand-alone turbines 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 turbine should be about twice the height of obstructions in the immediate front of it (for at least the prevailing wind direction). In general, the turbine should be above the height of nearby obstructions that are within a distance of 10 to 20 meters of the tower heights. See also our fact sheet on siting a wind turbine.
Rooftop-mounting turbines is not something we generally recommend. It is fairly difficult finding a place on a roof that is strong enough to withstand the forces and has a good wind. Local turbulent airflow around the building, which causes reduction in generated output and could damage the turbine, must be considered as well. In general, the less turbulent and varying the wind, the better the wind power generation.
What are wind turbines made of?
Our wind turbines are made of stainless steel, hot zinc dipped steel and plastics, so corrosion protection is included. The blades are made of carbon-fibre reinforced-epoxy. Check our technical details page for more information.