Small Wind Guidebook/Where Can I Find Installation and Maintenance Support

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Where Can I Find Installation and Maintenance Support?

The manufacturer/dealer/installer should be able to help you install your wind system. 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?[1]
This Windward Engineering 5-kW Endurance turbine is mounted on a 32-meter tower. NREL/PIX 16391

If you answered no to any of the above questions, you should probably have your system installed by 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.

Although small wind turbines are sturdy machines, they do require annual maintenance. 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.

References

  1.  "U.S. Department of Energy. Installing and Maintaining a Small Wind Energy System"