The Wind Turbine Tower

Why do you need the wind turbine tower?

The wind turbine tower is an essential part of your residentialwind turbine generator. It would be easier to install the wind turbine on ground level however there are good reasons to install the wind turbine on an higher level above ground. First, you want to avoid turbulent winds caused by ground level obstacles such as buildings, barns and trees. (wind turbines work best with uninterrupted smooth wind blowing over the blades). Second, the wind velocity is higher as one goes to higher altitudes and higher wind velocity translates immediately to higher delivered electricity power. The power output power grow according to a power of 3 law, so as wind velocity increases by a factor of two, the output power increases by a factor of eight.

What is the cost impact?

Like everything else, the tower comes with a price tag. The cost of the mast, including shipping and installation can approach that of the turbine itself and the associated DC to AC inverter.

What is the required height and what are the available tower types?

Usually you will need a tower that is 60 feet (18 meters) to 80 feet (24 meters or even 120 feet (36 meters).
The two most popular types are the

  1. The scaffolding pole. Basically, a long strong metal pipe (mast) installed upright and supported by strong wire guys (usually a set of 4 wires from the highest point and another set of 4 wires from half height. Concrete foundation is required for the base and for the guy wires anchor points. The advantages of this type are simplicity and cost. The disadvantages are a larger periphery (real estate) is required around the mast and fencing the area is a necessary safety precaution. Another disadvantage is that maintenance is not an easy task, a crane might be needed.
  2. A lattice structure on a concrete foundation, It is more expensive but it is self supported and its footprint (the periphery land size is much smaller)

Installation and maintenance

How to install a heavy turbine on the top of the tower?
How to get there for maintenance?
A common solution is to use a tilt-up tower. In this type, the concrete base is fitted with a hinge, so the mast can be taken down for maintenance and the turbine can be installed in the horizontal position before the pole is lifted up.

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