Small Wind Guidebook/Where Can I Find Installation and Maintenance Support
Where Can I Find Installation and Maintenance Support?
You must decide whether you will perform the installation and maintenance work on your small wind turbine or whether you will hire an experienced small wind installer. This decision will affect your system's cost. Many people elect to install their own turbines. Before attempting to install your wind turbine, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can I pour a proper cement foundation?
- Do I have access to a lift or a way to safely erect the tower?
- Do I know the difference between AC and DC wiring?
- Do I know enough about electricity to safely wire my turbine?
- Do I know how to safely handle and install batteries?
If you answered no to any of the above questions, you should probably hire a system integrator or installer. Contact the manufacturer for help or call your state energy office and local utility for a list of local system installers. A credible installer may be able to provide many services such as permitting, obtaining interconnection approval, etc. Find out if the installer is a licensed electrician. Ask for references and check them. You may also want to check with the Better Business Bureau.
Turbine and tower manufacturers should provide their own operations and maintenance plan; however, turbine owners should be aware that all rotating equipment will require some maintenance. Many turbines require periodic lubrication, oil changes, and replacement of wear surfaces such as brake pads. Bolts and electrical connections should be checked and tightened if necessary. The machines should be checked for corrosion and the guy wires for proper tension. In addition, you should check for and replace any worn leading edge tape on the blades, if appropriate. After 10 years, the blades or bearings may need to be replaced, but with proper installation and maintenance, the machine should last 20 years or longer.
Every turbine should include an owner's manual or operations manual to provide the consumer with scheduled and unscheduled maintenance information as well as other unique product information. Scheduled maintenance guidelines should be followed. If you do not have the expertise to maintain the machine, ask whether your installer provides a service and maintenance program.