Wind Power For Homes: Learn How To Build A Windmill

For thousands of years, humans have been asking the question, “How to build a windmill?” Wind-powered water pumps and grain mills were used by the Persians in A.D. 500-900 and by the Chinese in A.D. 1200 for pumping water and grinding corn.

Renewable energy sources like wind energy and wind power were used to power windmills designed to generate electricity (also known as wind turbines) for hundreds of years. These were especially popular in Denmark at the end of the 19th century (1890).

With the development of the internal combustion engine, availability of coal, cheap oil and electrical grids, wind power became almost obsolete until air pollution and dire warnings of climate change brought it back into use.

What Is Wind Power?

Wind power or wind energy is the use of wind to power wind turbines and generate electricity that can either be used to power devices or stored in a battery.

In a wind turbine, two or three rotor blades are linked to the shaft of an electricity generator and the wind spins the blades, turning the generator that produces electricity.

By the end of 2018, the overall capacity of all wind turbines installed worldwide reached 597 Gigawatt. In the future, renewable wind energy could supply a large part of our electricity.

At the moment wind power supplies less than 1% of all electrical power, but scientists estimate that half of the electricity needs in the United States could actually be met by wind power.

Wind farms flourish in places where the wind is the strongest, such as in North Dakota and California. Because wind farms take up large tracts of land, they can be installed on land that is used for farming as well.

While erecting a wind farm there are a number of things to be considered, including wind speed and consistency of wind. Offshore wind farms have great potential because strong winds blow more consistently out in the ocean and the open waters prove an excellent location for wind turbines.

State incentives have encouraged small wind systems to flourish, and the impetus for renewable wind power to flourish will likely come from rebates or incentives provided to those who invest in it.

At the moment you can only make use of these incentives if you’re in California, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but more states are being added all the time.

The Advantages Of Wind Power

Wind power is one of the best sources of natural energy other than solar energy. There are a number of benefits that renewable wind energy has over fossil fuels.

  • Wind power is a free and inexhaustible natural resource

The fact that wind energy is a free, inexhaustible and renewable energy source has made it one of the best and most popular renewable energy solutions.

As the wind is going to keep blowing for all of eternity, we don’t have to worry that we’re going to run out of wind anytime soon. The same can’t be said about fossil fuels.

Electric power from wind is cheaper than power from gas and nuclear plants. The maximum cost of wind energy is due to the initial wind turbine costs and the cost of wind turbine installation.

The only other costs are maintenance and operational costs as wind turbines need to be checked and oiled regularly to maintain wind turbine efficiency.

  • Wind power is non-polluting

Unlike electricity generated by fossil fuels, wind energy does not generate any pollution or greenhouse gases whatsoever (except in the manufacture and installation of wind turbines and wind generators).

In fact, wind power helps us reduce the use of fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal, and once a wind farm is installed there are no additional greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Wind power is good for the economy

Investing in wind power could provide a major boost to the economy by creating an abundance of new, well-paying wind power jobs.

Other new enterprises tied to the adoption of wind energy are businesses that offer windmill kits for sale, such as DIY wind turbine kits, and publications on how to build a wind turbine.

The Disadvantages Of Wind Power

Although there are many benefits of wind energy, it does have some major disadvantages as well, mostly because of issues caused by wind farms.

  • Wind farms cause noise pollution

The biggest disadvantage of wind energy is the noise that wind farms create because a wind farm requires not just one wind turbine in a field but hundreds or even thousands of wind turbines making a huge amount of noise.

Commercial wind turbines make so much noise that they’re often compared to the noise that a jet plane makes. With wind energy, you may avoid environmental pollution but you’re stuck with noise pollution instead.

  • The wind is an unpredictable source of energy

Another of the other major disadvantages of wind power is the fact that wind can never be predicted. One day you’ll strong winds blowing while on other days there could be nary a gust.

Since the availability of wind energy depends on the weather which is not easy to predict, it’s not a good idea to depend solely on the wind as a source of power.

Instead, investing in wind and solar kits, such as a wind turbine solar panels hybrid system will allow you to harvest energy from both solar and wind power and use it to charge an off-grid battery system.

  • Wind turbine installation is expensive

If you get plenty of wind in your area and want to set up a wind farm on your property, you’ll find that the wind turbine prices and wind turbine installation can be pretty expensive.

Also, you have to get government and land consents to build your wind farm. A better option might be to install a domestic wind turbine or home wind turbine on your property, depending on how much space you have.

The good thing about wind power is that after the initial residential wind turbine cost, you’ll be able to cut down on your utility bill significantly and spend very little on maintenance.

If you’re looking for off-grid power solutions, wind power is a very good source of energy as long as you have a sustained wind speed of at least 6 to 9 MPH to make it viable.

If you want to learn whether your location can support a wind power system, read the book, Build Your Own Small Wind Power System.

How To Build A Windmill   

When you learn how to build a windmill you’ll be able to get off the grid and tap into an inexhaustible and free source of energy. But before you get started on building your own windmill you need to understand how does wind power work.

You must spend some time understanding the technology of wind power and what a windmill actually does. These books can help you get up to speed:

The wind is converted into electricity with the help of a windmill or wind turbine that has a number of blades attached to the shaft of an electricity generator. The wind spins the blades around and this generates electricity.

Now it’s time to find out how to build a windmill. Unless you’re an electrician and can build the motor for the windmill out of recycled materials from a scrap metal yard, you’ll have to buy the motor for the windmill.

If you want to DIY it and learn how to do it yourself, you can get started with a Wind Power Science Kit that will show you how to assemble a wind turbine complete with electric generator and adjustable rotor blades.

You can even conduct experiments to optimize the performance of your wind turbine by adjusting the angle of the blades.

Once you’ve purchased a motor for your windmill, invest in some good oil because the motor in your windmill will require regular maintenance to run efficiently.

The oil is usually not very expensive and comes in two-gallon containers for approximately $20.

When learning how to build a windmill, keep in mind that you need sufficient space to carve the blades, especially if you want to build a decent size windmill.

Many DIY hobbyists find it difficult to get all the materials together when learning how to build a windmill, so a number of DIY wind power kits or windmill kits have been patented and developed to make it easier to get all the materials you need.

For most people this is the best option for building a windmill, as it’s much easier, you’ll get a better result and end up spending less time searching for the materials to build your windmill.

The book we recommend to help you with this is 40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead: A Hands-On, Step-By-Step Sustainable-Living Guide, which provides details on how to use home wind turbine kits to build your windmill.

If you don’t like the idea of using a windmill kit and prefer building your own from scratch we recommend buying a book that shows you how to build a windmill step-by-step, like How To Build A Micro Wind Turbine.

This book is a practical manual full of pictures, plans, tables and comments to learn how to build a 100W wind turbine and 6-metre tower from scratch, for less than $250.

Wind energy is becoming one of the best off-grid power options to generate electricity in your own backyard and soon everybody will want a small windmill to help them cut down on their utility bills.

If you do know how to make windmills and enjoy the process, you could start up your own home windmill power business or sell residential windmill kits and tap into the booming wind power industry which is on track to become a $1 trillion business.

How To Choose The Best Solar Energy System For Your Off-Grid Home

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Solar energy is fast becoming one of the more promising renewable technologies in the energy industry. With a growth rate of 2% per year, solar energy systems are likely to soon become the preferred source of energy worldwide.

In our previous article, we discussed the benefits of renewable energy solutions. One of the best natural sources of energy is the sun, and solar energy solutions are one of the best green energy technologies to power your off-grid home.

One of the primary advantages of solar energy is that the sun is able to provide over 10,000 times more than the energy that our planet is able to produce, so the solar energy business is booming worldwide.

But don’t take my word for it. Check these solar energy figures and statistics and see for yourself if whether solar energy is indeed everything that it’s being made out to be.

Are Solar Energy Solutions Financially Viable?

One of the main factors that you would consider when choosing renewable energy solutions is whether it is financially viable or not. Like most renewable energy systems, solar energy has its advantages and disadvantages.

While your solar power system costs and installation costs can be quite significant initially, getting a solar energy system for your home or workplace would actually help you save money on your utility bills annually.

In fact, installing solar thermal systems would allow you to recover the total cost within 5 years of installation, with 15 years for photovoltaic panels, after which, you can enjoy the benefits of reduced costs for your energy consumption.

How Does Solar Energy Reduce The Cost Of Energy Consumption?

Studies have shown that using certain solar energy systems do reduce the total cost of energy consumption that your home or workplace might incur.

If done right, you can actually lower your annual utility bill by as much as 80%, which is very significant, especially if you are trying to find ways to save some money.

Also, some programs allow users of solar energy systems to sell back energy or electricity that they were not able to consume, to the utility provider giving you even more ways to save money.

Do Sunny Areas Have More Solar Energy Systems?

Although the ideal location to place solar energy power plants to harness sunlight would be in locations that have a hot and sunny climate, some places that don’t have a hot climate are known to have more solar panels.

Denmark, Holland and most of northern Europe claim they have more solar panels than the UK, so you don’t necessarily need a hot climate in order to enjoy the benefits of solar energy.

Solar Energy Advantages & Disadvantages

The advantages of solar energy continue to grow but there are disadvantages for those who do not understand how to use solar energy in their home.

It is important to weigh the potential of having your own solar equipment. You should consider the devices you need to power, your location, and budget.

Here are 5 questions you need to ask if you’re planning on installing a solar power system or figuring out which solar panels to install.

1. How Much Solar Energy Do You Get?

The good thing about solar energy is that it can be used anytime or as long as the sun is shining. You can get the power you need day-in and day-out.

But you do have to consider your current location. Are there a lot of clouds or does it rain or snow frequently? How much sunlight do you get per day?

Places that get at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day do well with a solar energy system. So if you live in a tropical area or desert regions you should be able to rely on solar panels.

Of course, you need to determine the angle of the sun to know which spots are most ideal for installation. Solar power is a renewable resource which means you don’t have to pay any bills or keep replacing parts to get the results you need.

The disadvantage, in terms of availability, is that you cannot harvest solar energy if there’s no sunlight, nor can you rely on solar power at night or in places that tend to be overcast or have very little sunlight for several months.

Some locations are ideal for installing solar cell panels, while those that experience very long winter months may not get the best results from solar energy and may have to consider using other types of alternative energy or renewable energy solutions.

If you live in such a location, you may have to invest in a Hybrid Wind Solar Power DIY Off-Grid Kit or you may do better with an electrical or battery source such as a Tesla Powerwall Home Energy Storage Battery to ensure 24/7 power availability.

2. How Much Area Does Your Solar Power Plant Need?

Most, if not all, solar power plants require a certain amount of land area in order to house all the solar panels, solar generator and a solar battery that these power plants need in order to properly harness and collect sunlight and solar energy.

Depending on the solar panel size, the space you require for your solar-powered generator and the solar energy output needed, each solar power plant’s land area would vary.

3. What Devices Do You Need To Power?

Today, solar energy can power anything from homes, offices and cars to small light fixtures, toys and calculators. You can rely on the sun to help you minimize utility and electric bills.

You can even see a number of vehicles now solely powered by the sun. The disadvantage is that the power may tend to fluctuate depending on the sunlight available.

Some devices may not work as well if the acquired energy from the sun is insufficient. In some cases, power may totally fail if solar energy is limited or unavailable.

If solar power is not consistent in your location, you can invest in a Tesla Powerwall Home Energy Storage Battery to ensure 24/7 power availability.

4. Can You Get Solar Panels Installed?

Even though solar panels are readily available in most hardware stores and the internet, not everyone is still capable of installing these solar photovoltaic systems properly.

Installation depends on several factors and needs careful study, such as the angle of the sun, the position and area where you need to place the solar panels and the number of hours to complete the project.

Usually, your solar panel distributor will help you with installation, but if that’s not possible, consider investing in a Hybrid Wind Solar Power DIY Off-Grid Kit that you can install yourself.

5. Where Can You Buy Solar Panels?

You may find it very expensive to buy solar panels as a first-time buyer and may have to spend more initially to get off the grid. But the costs of using solar energy do decrease over time because the sun is readily available and free.

People living in remote areas may not have ready access to a solar panel distributor from whom you can buy solar panels and you may find that the best solar panels are available online.

The professionals needed to install and maintain the system may not also be available in remote areas, and the installation fees might be more expensive. So, weigh all your options before you decide to buy solar panels.

Are there any available hardware stores that offer the needed parts for your solar energy system setup? Will ordering online be easy and convenient?

Are there agencies or professionals who can offer reliable and quality services to install and maintain the solar cell panels. Are the materials affordable and of good quality?

These are some of the questions you need to consider to get the best deals on solar energy systems online. Ordering online will also depend on your location and the mode of transportation.

If you think that setting up and maintaining your solar energy system will be difficult, it might be better to wait until the technology is more readily available in your area.

How to Choose the Best Solar Energy System For Your Off-Grid Home

As solar energy has become more common and more viable, solar energy companies have begun to develop a number of solar energy systems to choose from, depending on your needs and limitations.

Choosing a solar energy system that would serve all your needs is not easy, so here are some tips to help you choose the best solar energy system for your home.

1. Know Your Solar Energy System

The very first thing you must do is make sure you know what different solar energy systems you can choose from.

Basically, there are two different types of solar energy systems – photovoltaic (PV) panels and solar thermal systems.

  • Photovoltaic Cells Or Solar Panels

Photovoltaic cells are solar energy panels that convert solar energy into electricity that you can use to power up most of your appliances and household lighting, and should only be used for those specific uses.

Unfortunately, solar photovoltaic systems are one of the more expensive, if not the most expensive solar energy systems on the market today.

It is important to learn about different types of solar panels and how to choose the best solar panels to get the best solar panel output for your home.

For example, small solar panels like the 12V monocrystalline solar panel can power a boat, caravan, RV and any other off-grid applications.

But for converting your entire house to solar, the Renogy 300-Watt monocrystalline solar panel is one of the most efficient solar panels and is perfect for residential rooftop systems to decrease your electrical bill, or for a large off-grid system.

The monocrystalline panels will give you the most efficiency per space and have the ability to withstand extreme elements and severe weather.

  • Solar Thermal Systems

Solar thermal systems simply generate heat and are well-suited for boilers, furnaces, solar water heaters and solar pool heaters.

This type of solar energy system allows you to make heat using direct solar energy at a much lower cost as compared to conventional energy and electricity.

However, if you want to retrofit your home with one of these solar thermal systems, you’ll need to sacrifice a little bit of space in your home. The good thing about using solar thermal systems is that you’ll save up to 80% of your total energy cost per year.

2. Calculate Your Energy Costs

Once you have a better understanding and grasp of what solar energy systems are out there, and how they work, you simply need to learn how to calculate the cost of your energy consumption.

This will help you determine which type of solar energy system you should buy. Many people choose to save money by buying used solar panels instead of new ones.

When calculating the cost of your energy consumption, you need to create a list of all the devices and applications that might need energy and electricity.

Include appliances, lighting, water heating, space heating, space cooling and air conditioning. If you can, figure out ways to reduce your electricity and energy consumption too so you can reduce your overall energy requirements.

3. Maintaining Your Solar Energy System

A well-maintained solar energy system will last for 30 years if you take good care of it. You can choose to build your own solar panel or buy it from a solar panel manufacturer.

The longevity of your solar energy system will depend on the quality of the material, the use and applications. The price you pay for it does not immediately equate to quality or longevity.

Spend some time learning about the best solar companies and check if there are any differences with regards to features or benefits that will ultimately enhance the lifespan of your solar energy system. Ask for recommendations from friends or people on online forums who have used residential solar power systems.

But if spending tens of thousands of dollars on a standard solar panel system is not for you and if you want to be “energy independent” and have the fridge, oven and AC on for just a fraction of your usual monthly spend, check out this simple 3D solar array.

This disaster-proof, recession-proof, drought-proof “backyard power plant” is so simple that you don’t have to be an electrician to build it and it requires no maintenance.

Even better, it doesn’t take up a lot of space because its ingenious vertical design means that it needs only 5% of the surface used in conventional solar panel systems.

This device is the cheapest, easiest way to effortlessly make your own personal power plant and have a perpetual source of cheap green electricity for anything heading your way. And the best part: you won’t need to rely on the power grid anymore.

Do share your experience with choosing the best solar energy solutions for your off-grid home in the comments below.

Emergency Preparedness Kit: Your Lifeline When Disaster Hits

Disclosure: This blog contains affiliate links. For more information, read our disclosure.

The most important part of off-grid living and emergency preparedness is having an alternate power source with the ability to recharge batteries.

During an emergency situation or a disaster, it is very helpful to have an extra supply of survival materials. These may include, first aid kits, medicines, food and water, and even money.

It is also ideal to have enough supplies for the next seventy-two hours, equivalent to three days, while other members of the family, rescuers or emergency responders are focusing their attention to people with urgent necessities.

Whatever the nature of the emergency situation, it is best to keep an emergency kit always. The items that are present in an emergency kit are easily available.

The Significance of An Emergency Kit

An emergency kit can contain essential items used on a particular occasion and for emergency purposes.

Travellers normally carry an emergency kit that contains money, first-aid kit, flashlight and batteries, candles, waterproof matches, can opener, canned and packed food and potable water.

An emergency kit can also be prepared in homes by homeowners. It could contain the basic necessities, tools and equipment that can be used in times of emergency or calamity.

An emergency kit can be composed of a storage bag containing the basic entities. It may also contain first aid kit, essential equipment that can be used in calamities or during dark periods and communication devices. The size of the kit may vary depending on the number of items that can be stored.

An emergency kit is very important in times of calamities where people are confined in their houses for a few days or staying in an evacuation centre.

You should prepare the emergency kit for a minimum of three days. It should also be stored safely and securely. An emergency kit is significant for the survival of a person, a group of persons or a family in times of disasters.

An emergency kit is similar to a survival kit. Perhaps, the two are interchangeable terms although military operations prefer to call the items packed and stored for emergency uses as survival kits.

Meanwhile, campers use the term bug-out bags for emergency kits or survival kits. Homeowners may prefer to name the collection of items for emergency uses as an emergency kit.

An emergency kit can be customized according to the needs of the users. It may include more than just the basic necessities. However, the things that can be stored should be essential and usable.

To be prepared in times of disasters is a helpful attitude to have. Preparing the emergency kit is one of the helpful ways to overcome the challenges in a survival situation. Aside from the emergency kit, individuals may also have to make an emergency plan.

An emergency preparedness plan can be made for an individual or for the family. It helps a person or a family the proper things to do in case of an emergency. Making an emergency plan may just take less than an hour.

The occurrence of disasters has definitely soared to an alarmingly high frequency. With unexpected destruction caused by a variety of different hazards and ever-occurring emergency situations, it is highly imperative to own a number of essential tools that ensure safety.

Without these tools, tackling emergencies can prove to be quite a challenge. You may be thinking about buying extra supplies that are hard to find. But no, much of the materials found in an emergency kit are the typical home supplies.

The issue is how you can put all these common household supplies into a useful emergency kit. There are basically three things you need to consider when preparing and putting up an emergency kit. Consider a basic emergency kit, extra emergency supplies and an emergency car kit.

Also include duplicates of your house and car keys, cash bills, coins for calling payphones and a copy of your emergency preparedness plan.

Emergency Kit Basics:

Come up with a compact storage or a convenient-to-carry bag for these emergency kit supplies. Store it in places where it is easily accessible.

Since some of the supplies are perishable like water, medicine and food, make sure to maintain and keep your supplies updated.

You could opt for preserved or canned foods or even dehydrated meals such as Mountain House Classic Bucket meals.

If you have pets and animals you need to store a minimum of 30 to 90 days of stored food and water for each pet, special medications, toys, and the ability to handle pet waste if the pet cannot go outside for 90+ days.

A back up of your basic emergency kit is the extra supplies. These include:

An emergency car kit may include some of the supplies in the basic emergency kits, but with the addition of shovel or snowbrush, road map, anti-freezing agents, rope, flares and fire extinguishers.

If you have babies you might want to stock up on baby formula, medicines or prescription for family members with disabilities.

Also stock up on extra clothing, underwear and spare shoes for at least 2 weeks and a manual non-electric portable washing machine. To repair torn clothing, also pack a sewing basket and accessories. Install water-saving showerheads to save water in the long term.

Place a home fire extinguisher in every room and install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in every room on all floors, as well as an external fire suppression system.

Store enough tarp and plastic sheeting for temporary repair of roof, windows, and siding from storm damage and large-head nails and wood strips to attach them.

You could build a hardened saferoom for protection from tornadoes, extreme weather, and crime and an air filtration system capable of providing positive pressure in a safe room area, with spare filters.

Keep a 72-hrs emergency preparedness kit for 4 persons and have enough cash, gold or silver and anything you can barter on hand.

Download and print recipes for the food you store. Buy maps of the surrounding area, waterproof map cases, a compass, protractor, rulers, grid squares, alcohol-erase markers, pencils, grease pencils etc.

Alternative Energy Systems:

You might want to have a generator that has the capacity to power your electronics, freezer and refrigerator for at least 2 weeks.

Use LED lights as far as possible as they consume less battery power. If you want a diesel generator or a biofuel generator, you’ll also need to store enough fuel to power it for at least 2 weeks.

Depending on your location and what sort of renewable power sources you have access to, you can also opt for different types of renewable energy kits that are capable of running all critical devices indefinitely, such as:

Ensure you have a solar power inverter, spare parts, and the manuals for all these generators as well as computer manuals and backup discs for your laptops so you can fix them yourself.

You might also want to download Kindle books for like ARRL’s Small Antennas for Small Spaces.

All your computers and sensitive electronic equipment should be connected to Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS), and it’s a good idea to have items like spare extension cords.

To stock up on cheap, spare mobile phones, buy certified pre-owned Gazelle-certified Smartphones.  Also, get extra charging cords and spare batteries for your cell phones. Input all the numbers from your emergency preparedness contact list into each of the cell phones.

You will also require basic defensive firearms with adequate ammunition supply, spare parts and cleaning gear as well as repair manuals.

Communication Equipment:

Here’s some more communication equipment you might want to get:

First-Aid & Medical Supplies:

As far as medical preparedness goes, unless you are a trained doctor or paramedic, you should never do medical procedures that you haven’t trained for, as you can easily end up killing people if you get it wrong.

Having said that, you should definitely be prepared to deal with minor medical issues, and your first-aid and medical kit should be well-stocked with everything you could possibly require.

In case of an emergency, you don’t want yourself or your family to suffer because of the small medical essentials that you could have easily bought.

So what things should you have in your first-aid and medical kit? Here are some you might want to check off your emergency preparedness checklist.

Cooking & Kitchen Equipment:

Here’s a list of items you might want to include in your kitchen and food supplies:

Now, that you know how to put up an emergency kit, waste no time and start gathering those supplies. Your emergency kit could be your family’s only lifeline during a disaster.

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