small wind electric system turbine

Most small wind turbines manufactured today are horizontal-axis, upwind machines that have two or three blades. These blades are usually made of a composite material, such as fiberglass.


small wind turbine


The turbine's frame is the structure onto which the rotor, generator, and tail are attached. The amount of energy a turbine will produce is determined primarily by the diameter of its rotor. The diameter of the rotor defines its "swept area," or the quantity of wind intercepted by the turbine. The tail keeps the turbine facing into the wind.


The wind turbine is mounted on a tower to provide better access to stronger winds. In addition to the turbine and tower, small wind electric systems also require balance-of-system components.



Small wind turbines range in size from 400 watts to 20 kilowatts. What size wind turbine you'll need depends on your application. These are the most common applications for small wind turbines:


  • Residential electricity
  • Water pumping.

    Other applications include charging batteries for recreational vehicles and sailboats, which typically use "micro" turbines (20–500 watts).


    Most U.S. manufacturers rate their small wind turbines by the amount of power they can safely produce at a particular wind speed, usually between 24 and 36 miles per hour.


    See sizing small wind turbines for more information.



    See siting a small wind turbine for information about what to consider when determining the best place for your wind turbine.