Most U.S. manufacturers rate their turbines by the amount of power they can safely produce at a particular wind speed, usually chosen between 24 mph or 10.5 m/s and 36 mph or 16 m/s. The following formula illustrates factors that are important to the performance of a wind turbine. Notice that the wind speed, V, has an exponent of 3 applied to it. This means that even a small increase in wind speed results in a large increase in power. Read How high should your small wind turbine be for more information. That is why a taller tower will increase the productivity of any wind turbine by giving it access to higher wind speeds as shown in the Wind Speeds Increase with Height graph. The formula for how to calculate power is:

Where:

P = Power output, kilowatts

Cp = Maximum power coefficient, ranging from 0.25 to 0.45, dimension less (theoretical maximum = 0.59)

ρ = Air density, lb/ft3

A = Rotor swept area, ft2 or π D2/4 (D is the rotor diameter in ft, π = 3.1416)

V = Wind speed, mph

k = 0.000133 A constant to yield power in kilowatts. (Multiplying the above kilowatt answer by 1.340 converts it to horse- power [i.e., 1 kW = 1.340 horsepower]).

The rotor swept area, A, is important because the rotor is the part of the turbine that captures the wind energy. So, the larger the rotor, the more energy it can capture.

The air density, ρ, changes slightly with air temperature and with elevation. The ratings for wind turbines are based on standard conditions of 59° F (15° C) at sea level. A density correction should be made for higher elevations as shown in the Air Density Change with Elevation graph. A correction for temperature is typically not needed for predicting the long-term performance of a wind turbine.

Although the calculation of wind power illustrates important features about wind turbines, the best measure of wind turbine performance is annual energy output. The difference between power and energy is that power (kilowatts [kW]) is the rate at which electricity is consumed, while energy (kilowatt-hours [kWh]) is the quantity consumed. An estimate of the annual energy output from your wind turbine, kWh/year, is the best way to determine whether a particular wind turbine and tower will produce enough electricity to meet your needs.

A wind turbine manufacturer can help you estimate the energy production you can expect. They will use a calculation based on the particular wind turbine power curve, the average annual wind speed at your site, the height of the tower that you plan to use, and the frequency distribution of the wind–an estimate of the number of hours that the wind will blow at each speed during an average year. They should also adjust this calculation for the elevation of your site. Contact a wind turbine manufacturer or dealer for assistance with this calculation.

To get a preliminary estimate of the performance of a particular wind turbine, use the formula below.

Where:

AEO = Annual energy output, kWh/year

D = Rotor diameter, feet

V = Annual average wind speed, mph

The Wind Energy Payback Period Workbook from the National Renewable Energy Labs is a spreadsheet tool that can help you analyze the economics of a small wind electric system and decide whether wind energy will work for you. It asks you to provide information about how you’re going to finance the system, the characteristics of your site, and the properties of the system you’re considering. It then provides you with a simple payback estimation in years. If it takes too long to regain your capital investment—the number of years comes too close or is greater than the life of the system—wind energy will not be practical for you. Read here for more on the physics and economics of wind turbines.

Noé Palacios says

There’s something I don’t understand. I calculated the AEO on ideal conditions and it seems to me very small.

AE0=0.01328*4.27*28.09=1.65 kwh/year

The wind generator is rated 1,200 watts

Are the 1.65 kwh/year a adaily average or it’s the whole energy it will produce for the whole year?

Johnny Young says

I’d like to know the peak voltage and current levels of a peak wind turbine output rated at 24 nominal volts. I’m using a peak voltage of 38v and current of 7a at a 500w maximum output for certain 24v solar panels as a design model for my renewable energy system, powered by both solar cells and windmills. I’ve yet to discover a good ballpark peak voltage and current figure for wind turbines. Can you help?

derek dutton says

The turbine will charge the batteries and feed into the Grid. However the “Credit Capacity” amount that wind power can reduce fossil fuel produced megawatt hours is very small and due to wind fluctuations increases instability and needs more fuel. Eon Netz, major German Grid operator says 48,000 MWgs of wind, only replaces 2,000 MWgs of coal power. A Credit Capacity of 4%. Britain is better, having less turbines, around 16%. New York State Power states it gets 10% from a theoretical 30%.

Few people would like to live where Wind Turbine produced its rated power. Needing a Force 7 to 8 gale. Half of which is a 80% drop in output. Despite every effort to smother criticism of the noise. Portugal, Britain and Canadian Health Authorities have found have found ” Vibro-acoustics” producing health problems. Germany. Britain, Holland and Norway are busy building coal fired power stations now it is apparent CO2 has no effect on the climate. Hotter long before oil, coal and industry existed.

jamilu ringim says

pls, i want design a crossflex wind turbine of 1kw for building environment,how can i estimate the generator , the battery sizing, the cp, rotor height speed ratio. note that the wind speed in the area is about 4.6m/s

Andile Ngam says

Thanks for the information posted in your site… I am trying to answer an assignment question and can’t get an answer on it… Question: What determines the amount of electricity circulating in a house for a family using wind turbine, is it the capacity of turbine or the capacity of batteries used in a house? Please help