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Publication Title | Site Analysis for Wind Generators

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S Trees 20 feet

Fencerow 20 feet

Fencerow 20 feet

Orchard 15 feet

Open pasture


Cabin 16 feet

Silo 45 feet

shop 22 feet

Tree 18 feet

Toolshed 15 feet

Garage 15 feet

House 22 feet

Site Analysis for

Wind Generators

Part 2: Your Site Mick Sagrillo

©1994 Mick Sagrillo In our last episode (HP#40), we

outlined some ways of estimating the

wind resource in your area. We also developed a method to determine the average wind speed at hub height for your proposed wind generator. The question before us now is: where on your property is the best place to put your wind generator tower?

The answer to this one is easy. Put the tower where it’s windiest! It is actually windier in some places on your property than on others. In this article, we will show you how to analyze your specific location so that you can maximize your wind resource.


The purpose of examining any potential renewable energy (RE) site is to optimize the RE resource, and therefore, the power output of the proposed RE generator. To accomplish this, you will need to gather some information about your site, such as:

• Location of vegetation and buildings

• Prevailing wind direction/directions

• System voltage (battery charging systems only) • Surface roughness or topography.

From this information, we will develop a series of rules or guidelines that will help you qualify the resource at your site.

Vegetation and Buildings

Since any site analysis requires a specific location, we’ll use our homestead as an example. Figure 1 illustrates the layout of the buildings and most trees on our property. Also noted are the compass points, and a distance scale. The numbers indicate the approximate heights of the trees and buildings.

The terrain in our area is somewhat rolling and relatively open, but spotted with buildings, overgrown fencerows, groves of trees, and the occasional woodlot (several

60 Home Power #41 • June / July 1994

400 feet

Figure 1

hundred acres). While we live in farm country with some forested areas, this site need not be rural, strictly speaking. It could very well be a small town, suburban development area, or the edge of a larger city.

Tower Height

Remember from “Tower Economics 101” (HP#37) that our arch enemy is turbulence. It robs us of our fuel, the wind, and puts unnecessary wear and tear on the wind generator. Therefore, rule #1 is: minimize turbulence as much as possible. We’ll return to turbulence later.

Another important consideration is that the wind generator must be at least 30 feet above anything within 500 feet — a minimum requirement. Let’s call this rule #2. For anything larger than about 1 kiloWatt (kW), the “30 foot” above rule must include the blades as well.

As an example, let’s assume that we will install a large wind system, say a high voltage 10 kW wind generator with a 24 foot rotor diameter. If we add the radius of the rotor (12 feet) to the 45 foot silo and the “30 foot above rule”, we find that the minimum tower height for this location is 87 feet. Since an 87 foot tower is not readily available, we’ll opt for the next closest size, 90 feet. Notice that we went up in height rather than skimp with an 80 foot tower. This is the minimum tower height for this location given a 10 kW wind generator.

We have the wind generator, system voltage, and tower height selected. Our next question is where do we put it to best utilize our wind resource.

Prevailing Winds

To answer this question, we need to know the seasonal wind patterns for this proposed site. This should be fairly obvious for your location if you have lived there for a least a year. If you are new to the area, ask your neighbors.

Fencerow 20 feet

Barn 28 feet

Image | Site Analysis for Wind Generators

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