Category Archives for Renewable Energy

Solar Energy

Residential solar energy has certainly not been a new thing, but it's not until recent years that most people started taking note of its advantages. The reasons have been varied ranging from wanting to reduce the carbon footprint in the environment and going the natural way with less pollution to reducing their electricity bills, which most people choose as the best. In some places, you're able to save as much as $300 per month in electricity bills which is quite a large amount over the long haul. If you're an aspiring solar energy homeowner and would like to know more before committing, below are some pointers to guide you.

How ​Solar Energy Works

For starters, it is worth mentioning that solar energy can be harnessed in two different ways. These could be the extraction of thermal energy which aids in processes such as cooking and water heating or it could be in electricity production. For the thermal energy, solar radiation is the key element whereas for electric energy production, light is of greater interest. Solar panels work by allowing particles of light from the sun called photons to knock off electrons from atoms which in turn generate an electric flow. Deep within solar panels are smaller units commonly called photovoltaic cells usually made of silicon. All these are linked up together such that with more exposure to the sun, more electric current can be generated from the solar panel which is then stored in a battery for later use. In home settings, inverters are used to convert the stored energy from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) which is what we normally use.

How ​Solar Energy Used Around Us

There are many ways you can use solar energy at home.

  • ​Powering Home Devices: The small devices at home that are presumed to consume almost no electricity do use a lot of it. Those phones, torches, power banks and even batteries can be charged using solar energy. However, solar energy could also power bigger things like your refrigerator. It all depends on how much energy you need at home.
  • ​Outdoor and Street Lighting: There are high chances that your street lights are powered by some form of renewable energy such as solar energy. In less urban areas, for example, it is far convenient to have street lights powered by solar energy directly. At home, people also use solar energy for powering outdoor electrical equipment such as security lights and even the electric fences.
  • ​Heating Water: Everyone cherishes a bath of warm water. When you have a large family, your electricity bill can skyrocket, especially if you are not relying on solar water heating and you have teenagers who cherish a long hot bath. With solar energy that bill becomes manageable, or even nonexistent, and your family continue to enjoy a good bath.
  • ​Solar Cooking: There are some solar cookers in the market which you can use to prepare your meals with. These cookers cook can be pretty sluggish as well, so don't be expecting to have your steak ready in the next few minutes. In fact, depending on the type of meal you're preparing, you might need hours to cook your meals properly. This could be ideal for camping events.
  • ​Supercharge Your Electric Car: If you have an electric car, you can always charge it after you're back home. This is very cost effective since the same energy you're using in your house is the same you're charging your car with.

​PROS

  • Sustainable and Renewable
  • Low Maintenance
  • No Noise Pollution
  • Environment Friendly
  • Affordable
  • Cost Efficient in the Long-Term

​CONS

  • Requires Large Physical Space
  • Energy Storage Is Expensive
  • Cost of Installation is Expensive
  • Not Easily Installable by Everyone

How Many Panels Do You Need for Your House?

The cost of installing always varies from one person to another. This is because of different factors like the size of a house, the types of panels you want to use, how much energy you use in your household among other things. Things like the installation company you choose will also affect the total cost. Let's look at these factors in detail and what they really mean

1. Your Roof's Usable Surface Area

The shape and size of your house will determine how much you pay for set up. For example, a house with a flat roof which can accommodate large panels easily may require less tinier panels which leads to a cheaper cost. Equally, a house with a small usable area; either due to the shape of the roof or other factors, may require smaller panels which will translate to a more expensive cost since it'll require more of them.

2. How Much Energy

A house that uses 300KWh per month and a house that uses 1000KWh per month will be billed according to their energy usage. The amount of energy you use will be calculated for you during installation. On the other hand, you too can get an idea of how much energy you require with a simple calculation. Just take your electrical bills for at least the past 12 months and add all of them to get the total amount of electricity you use in a year. Divide this sum by 12 to know what's the average you spend in a month. You can go even further, by dividing the figure you get from above by 30 to get your daily average.

For example, if your annual energy is 4800KWh, you'll divide this by 12 to know how much you spend in a month. Which is 400KWh per month. To calculate how much energy you use in a day, you'll divide the 400KWh by 30 days and find out that your average usage per day is 13.3 KWh (Kilowatts per hour).

3. Weather in Your Area

If you live in a cloudy region, then there won't be a lot of sunlight hitting your solar panels. This would require you to have more panels to increase the surface area needed to harness the amount of power you need for your use.

4. Types of Panels You Use

Solar panels are made differently, and that means you would have to choose one that best suits your needs. If you're installing per square foot, the basic expected wattage is 2 Watts for every square foot. This means that a house of 1500 square feet will need about 3000 Watts. Depending on the type of panel used, this may equal 12-18 panels and translate to an average of 16 panels for the house. The price per watt is averagely $5.47. So, for a 1500sq foot roof, we would be looking at $16,400. Of course, this is a very subjective figure depending on the type of panels you use and even the company you hire. Some companies charge as much as $4,000 more. So before buying, compare the rates between installers in your area. It's best to remember that the company that can pay most for advertising doesn't necessarily mean it's the best.

Can You Install Your Own Panels?

It's understandable to ask this question considering that the price from accredited installers can seem high. If you have an experienced person who's skilled enough, he/she can help you with the sizing calculations, planning, and even installation. He/she could even design for you how you want to install the panels depending on the size of your roof. However, you are still encouraged to contact an accredited solar installer for wiring and metering of your energy consumption.

Conclusion

It's necessary to make a thorough analysis as before setting up your home solar system. When you're choosing a manufacturer, inquire whether they offer replacement for batteries and bulbs. This can go a long way because if you're committing to a long-term plan, you want to know how you'll relate with them sometime down the road. If they don't offer replacement, check your options should you choose to proceed with them. Also, it's necessary to check your home's location and landscaping.

Homes in smooth terrains which are not covered by shade or affected by weather will generate more power than homes which are covered by shade. Solar energy is ideal in places that experience lots of sunny weather. This means that places which experience the occasional sunlight or extreme weather changes may need alternate options.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is one of the most developed forms of renewable energy, and it ideally revolves around the kinetic energy that is produced because of the effect of air currents. During a sunny day, heat from the sun warms up the air which gets lighter until it rises above cold air. The endless cycle between warm air rising to the top and cool air moving to the bottom is what in turn creates wind.

​How Wind Energy is Produced

Wind power is harnessed using wind turbines. These turbines are typically large motor blades attached to a generator which are placed on a long support stand. Physically, they look like household fans, but the only difference is that while the fans use electricity to propel air, the turbines generate electricity when wind blows through the fans that are connected to the turbines. The wind energy is transformed from kinetic to mechanical energy which is then converted to electricity usable in homes. Also worth noting is that there are two ways of harvesting wind power.

1. Onshore Wind Farms

This means that the turbines are installed on land on a favorable landscape for wind harvesting. The main advantage of onshore harvesting is that it's a lot cheaper since there's no complexity in installing of turbines. The main downside of onshore though, is the noise that comes with it. Turbines can get really noisy, and they have been known to cause discomfort for some people.

2. Offshore Wind Farms

This is where the turbines are located in the lake or sea to generate power to mainland. The main downside to this is the cost of setting up. The turbines are set up spanning a large area in the sea which makes it expensive to install. They'll need to be firm, to withstand the turbulent storms, to ensure that they always work properly and among other things, have a positive impact to the environment.

While the setup is costly, offshore wind turbines have better advantages. One, is the noise will be far away from homes meaning they won't affect people. Two, the death of birds and bats will be minimized. Three, since it's located in the sea, it's easier to harness since most of the landscape is flat unlike on land where there are terrains and hills, and even high-rise buildings which can reduce the amount of wind.

​​How Wind Energy is Stored

Wind, just like other renewable energy sources, supplies more energy than market demand. The main downside is that there are very few established ways to store wind energy for future use. First, is its unpredictability, especially in areas where wind is not always constant. As such, storage of the electric energy produced from wind will be paramount. This uncertainty, coupled with how it's a lot more powerful during the night than day, are some of the reasons to store power for later use. In areas where wind is constant, however, electric power generated from the turbines can be fed into the power grid directly.

In domestic cases, it's quite easy because there are lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries to store that extra power. These high-density batteries are increasingly getting advanced as the days go, making them easier to manage. Even at industrial level, companies have tried using large scale batteries to store energy, but the effects have not been so favorable. Cases of battery blow ups due to difference in voltage have been experienced. Also, batteries of this magnitude are expensive and hazardous to some extent not to mention they are not environment friendly (especially if they're disposed).

Despite that, there are some methods that industries are using to save large scale power:

1. Compressed Air Energy Storage

This is where excess power is heated and compressed to air to be stored in underground caverns or large tanks above the ground. The compressed air is burnt along with fuel to change it to mechanical energy which will then be used in generators as electrical energy when the demand for power arrives.

2. Hydrogen Fuel Generation

This works by producing hydrogen with excess power in order to burn it by combining with water through a process called electrolysis. This is a smart approach though the greatest drawback, like all the others, is the initial investment needed.

3. Pumped Hydro

This is where water is pumped upwards in order to use it downhill again. The main downside to this is the initial investment to be used and also the fact that it requires a hill or high ground where there's large amounts of wind and also a hydro power plant nearby or large water bodies. Even without water, hills and wind are almost mutually exclusive. Add the two mills needed (hydro and wind) for installation and you'll realize this is an expensive approach. This method is common in hydroelectric dams. While at the moment large scale storage of wind power is not stable, the future is filled with optimism since some companies are currently trying new ways to make it work.

Uses of Wind Energy

​1. Electricity Generation

The wind turbines have rotor blades which convert kinetic energy to mechanical energy through the rotor shaft and then to the generator. The energy is transferred as the rotor spins and the mechanical energy is converted to electrical energy in the generator. It's then transferred to the electrical company substations which step it up to a higher voltage for distribution to homes and institutions.

2. Pumping Water

Traditionally, windmills were used to pump water used for livestock and farming. Even in recent years, people still use them to pump water in communities and countries. The windmills used for pumping water are easier and more efficient than those used for electricity.

The wind propels the rotor blades which in turn move to produce motion or kinetic energy. This motion then facilitates the movement of a rod inside the well or borehole that pulls water into dedicated cylinders until the water is forced up the pipe and is ready to be fetched. Repetition of this process results in free-flowing water.

3. Transportation

Wind power has equally been crucial in transportation. Long ago when there were no turbine-powered ships, people used wind power to sail and navigate the sea. The trade winds released energy that propelled the ships and their cargo across oceans. In recent years, modern sailors have seen the benefits of using wind power too. They have installed large kites to act as propellers which save a lot of fuel in the long run.

4. Food Preparation

While in the past windmills were used to process grains like millet, in recent years they can be used to process foods in large scale for example wheat flour. Thanks to electricity and ease of installing several windmills, factories can now manufacture food in bulk in ease.

5. Sports

Several sports are propelled by wind for them to work. Sports like kite and wind surfing, sailing and kite boarding need to be in favor of the wind for you to practice. Some like kite surfing and sailing require stronger winds to enjoy the ultimate experience.

As you have noticed, you can use wind power in different ways. You can even use it to charge appliances in your home from small things like phones and laptops to bigger equipment like your lawnmower. If you have a stronger turbine which produces more power, then you can even use it for bigger things. Like solar, it's best to own a battery to store your energy for times when the wind speeds will be low.

Impacts of Wind Power to The Environment

Wind power is a clean renewable energy without effects associated with greenhouse gases such as coal. It is sustainable and friendly to environment and the effects associated don't cause any global warming. That said, the wind turbines have some negative impact on the environment.

​1. Bird and Bats Mortality

The first wind turbines that were installed cause a lot of death to birds and bats that flew around. This is because they didn't consider the rotating blades could have any negative impact to the birds. The modern wind turbines though, have put that into consideration and have predatory sensors installed to prevent the birds from getting close to them. While there are no estimated figures, it's presumed that those deaths are less than those caused by humans either by hunting and shooting.

​2. Change of Landscape 

Some people find lands with wind turbines to be beautiful while others find them another negative impact on the environment. They only see machines that are ruining the natural landscape. Turbines, especially in historical and tourist places, can be an eye sore since they're disrupting the normal view of the place. Since most wind farms are private, the places have even been set as tourist hotspots where you're taken a guided tour around. You can even find it's a camping and hiking venue where you'll enjoy some of your favorite activities. Turbines which are made of the same height and length and are aligned may have a more beautiful landscape than those which are placed spontaneously.

​3. Noise Pollution. ​​​​

It's estimated that a turbine in a 300m range will produce about 45dB which is slightly higher than the noise of a refrigerator. This means that if you're in a place closer to wind turbines, you'll be affected than someone who's 1.5km from a wind farm since at that distance the noise is barely audible. Some people reported to experience negative health effects that were caused by the turbine noise.

Engineers handled that and designed modern wind turbines to ensure that there's almost no noise made by turbines despite being close to your residence. They have sensors that measure the speed of wind so as to increase or decrease accordingly without necessarily producing a lot of noise.

4. Shadow Flicker and Reflection

This is when you're walking down the road then around you there are turbine blades rotating thereby affecting your eyes. The reflection, on the other hand, is when the blades reflect under the sun causes them to shine brightly and momentarily blind you. The changes in light intensity caused by the turbines is a bother to some people especially when the sun is too bright, and the blades are rotating fast. However, engineers easily solved this problem by choosing a better finish for turbine edges.

5. Loss of Habitat for Some Species

Since large amounts of land need to be cleared for those wind farms to be created, the previously existing animals are forced to move to a safer place. The displacement of these animals could make them highly exposed to their predators. On the flip side, the land used by wind farms could be used for other activities as well. Since over 90% is never used, it could be maximized for agriculture, for animal grazing or even just left as an open space.

6. Negative Effects for Air Traffic Control 

When the farms are set up near army bases the turbines can have negative impact since they may lose control over an aircraft due to loss of signal near the farm. This means that the wind farms have limits as to where they can be built to avoid overlap with other institutions.

Final Thoughts

While the negative impacts may make it seem like wind is not a great renewable energy, it helps to know that these are not effects of wind energy. These are the effects of the turbines which propel the wind. If technology is right, these effects are manageable and with time will improve. Some of them have already been corrected which makes us hopeful that the current problems facing the turbines will be non-existent in a few years.

Also, wind is an energy that can easily be substituted with other types of energy. For example, you may find that in your area it's sunny in some seasons and other seasons the wind is high. You can install both solar and wind systems to tap both of them when they're in high production.  This is great for the person who wishes to install the two types for maximum power harnessing.

Geothermal Energy

The history of geothermal dates back to 4th July 1904 when Prince Piero Ginori tested the first geothermal power generator in Larderello, Italy. This was a means to find new ways to generate electricity due to an increase in demand. From then on, geothermal power production became widely known, but not quite adopted.

​How Geothermal Energy Works

In geothermal power production, there are pipes dug deep into the ground so that the hot water that is trapped inside the earths crust rises up as steam to rotate turbines just with its sheer pressure. The motion from the turbines is then transferred to generators which convert it from mechanical energy to electrical energy. The electrical energy then is then transmitted to electric grids where it is distributed to end consumers who use it as electricity in homes and businesses.

If you're wondering where this hot water comes from, then you might want to know a few things about geothermal reservoirs. Simply put, they are large pools heated by magma underground from the earth's core. Temperatures in the earth's core rise above 4000°C. The liquids which rise above the surface are formed in the crust where temperatures are higher than 350°C, but because of these high temperatures, they almost always come out in gaseous state first. In fact, what we usually see as geysers and hot springs are merely cooled down forms of the superheated fluids. In essence, geothermal power production deals with harnessing the steam and converting its kinetic energy to mechanical energy and finally to electric energy.

​Geothermal Energy Generation Cost

The cost of a constructing a geothermal power plant is far higher than the cost of constructing an oil rig. Physically, geothermal power plants look more complex than oil rigs because they require a lot more apart from the turbines that will convert the kinetic energy in steam to mechanical energy and then to electrical energy. The reasons for these high costs are obvious as well. The labor required, for instance, is more expensive than the one that is required when setting up an oil rig. In addition, factors such as drilling costs also play a big role too.

However, after construction, the costs incurred are rather minimal. The cost of construction of a geothermal power plant could be as low as $3400 per kilowatt installed and for small-scale power plants, this figure could be lower at $3000. This is in comparison to other renewable energy sources like hydroelectric power which costs far more. While it is generally accepted that construction of geothermal power plants is more expensive than the construction of oil rigs, it's important to note that its costs varies from one project to another depending on the size of the plant and even the local environmental policies.

With regard to construction time, geothermal power plants also take some considerable time to build. According to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), a new geothermal project takes between 3 to 5 years to start producing electricity. Taking a stepwise strategy for development, the construction takes about 6 years. This comprises of 3 years for reconnaissance, surface exploration and test drilling and 3 years for production drilling and power plant.

Potential for Geothermal Power

Geothermal power is recognized globally and has a lesser negative impact to the environment than other renewable sources. Despite that, it's used by less than 2% of the world's population. This is because geothermal is location-specific since it can only be tapped in specific areas.

Despite its unavailability in most regions, the future potential for geothermal energy is bright. Research shows that 10,000 meters below the earth's surface, there's a high amount of heat which when tapped, can produce more than 50,000 times the energy that would be obtained from fossil fuels. This is where the Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) comes in. EGS is a technology that geologists and geothermal experts are using to drill into potential geothermal sites. The system works by pouring fluids into the rocks to induce the geothermal process when the rocks are fractured and the liquid seeps through. The resultant effect is that heat is brought to the surface and in turn produces steam which is then harnessed to produce electricity.

In Europe, for example, only about 2.5GW has been tapped, but with EGS, the power that can be produced increases to about 6,500GW. That said, the EGS hasn't been without problems. Since the beginning of its use, cases of earthquake and earth tremors and even fracturing of the rocks when the water heats up too fast have been experienced. When asked, the geothermal experts said that the quakes can be prevented by drilling at the right positions during the start of a project. Should the EGS project become mainstream there's going to be a lot more power than we actually need.

Geothermal Energy by Country

It would be unfair to talk about the potential for geothermal power without reviewing the countries that can actually make geothermal power the norm. Geysers is perhaps one of the many geothermal power plants that you'll often come across. Located in the western state of California, Geysers was perhaps the first plant to be constructed in the US, the same country which also produces the largest power (3,591MW) as of 2018. Despite this, geothermal power only contributes about 0.3% of the country's total energy. Iceland, on the other hand, is a country with a total geothermal power output of 755MW but contributes up to 30% of this energy to its national grid. This makes it one of the few countries to widely adopt this renewable source of energy.

In South East Asia, Philippines began construction of geothermal power plants in 1977, and over the years, the country now produces up to 1,868MW which is used by 27% of the country. This made it secure the third rank in the list below in terms of geothermal energy production globally. Kenya has a capacity of 676MW making it the first African country to make it on the top 10 list. The country is in 9th position in the world in terms of geothermal energy production and contributes to more than 51% of the country's electricity.

As of 2018, the countries with highest geothermal energy outputs include:

  1. USA 3591MW
  2. Indonesia 1948MW
  3. Philippines 1868MW
  4. Turkey 1200MW
  5. New Zealand 1002MW
  6. Mexico 955MW
  7. Italy 944 MW
  8. Iceland 755MW
  9. Kenya 676MW
  10. Japan 542MW

All other countries have a cumulative value of 960MW making the countries on this list stand out. Currently, the energy is used in 24 countries and another 70 are constructing geothermal power plants or are using it in small scales. As technology improves, more countries are finding new ways of exploiting their geothermal energy potentials. With proper technology and incentives from their governments. The high initial cost required to set up a geothermal power plant is what makes most countries, especially developing ones, reluctant to harnessing this renewable energy.

Types of Geothermal Power Plants

To the common person, geothermal power plants are all the same and are indistinguishable, but there are actually three types of geothermal power plants in existence today. The type of plant used for a particular region will depend on how hot the resource is and how much geothermal energy is available.

1. Dry Steam Power Plants

These are the oldest and have been in use for more than 100 years. A pipe is placed deep in the geothermal well which then facilitates the flow of hot liquids and steam upwards to rotate a turbine which then converts the mechanical energy to electrical energy. This type of geothermal power plant is suitable for wells with high liquid temperatures.

2. Flash Cycle Steam Plants

These are suitable for wells which generally have lower temperatures than those being used in dry steam plants. They are more common because there aren't so many geothermal wells that have naturally occurring high temperature steam. The liquid from the earth's crust usually rises from the well and to the surface similarly to dry steam power plants. As the pressure of the liquid reduces, it is converted to steam which then passes through the turbine to be converted to energy.

3. Binary Cycle Plants

Binary plants use two vessels with different boiling points hence the name binary. The first vessel contains the hot water from the well. The water rises up the well and flows through a heat exchanger to the vessel. The second vessel contains a fluid of lower boiling point such as butane. After it flows through, it vaporizes since it has a higher boiling point and the steam is relayed to the turbines to produce electricity. This process is not so common but has a high probability of use in future because it can be used in locations that are far from geothermal hotspots. In addition, the lower temperatures used in the process may reduce cost of production.

Uses of Geothermal Energy

There are various ways geothermal energy is used in various countries around the world. In ancient times, people near the fields used to fetch the water directly from hot springs for bathing, cooking and other chores around the house and even skinning their game – a practice which continues to date.

People also use geothermal energy for other reasons depending on the needs and their geographical location. In Iceland for example, residents have installed heat pumps and whole districts have direct heating systems to warm their houses during winter.

The government even relies on the geysers to melt the snow in the estates which makes life comfortable for its citizens. Some countries are also using geothermal to heat up greenhouses to facilitate the growth of "fragile crops" or even to ensure they grow during the extremely cold seasons. From roses grown in Kenya to citrus trees and other vegetables in Hungary, many organizations are slowly coming to the realization of the benefits of heated greenhouses for farming.

Fish farms are also using this energy to heat up their farms to protect the tropical species from winter seasons since it affects their lifespan. In Netherlands, the government has built bike roads powered with geothermal energy to avoid the risks caused by ice during cold seasons. While this can be categorized under electricity generation, it is rather unique as it is not such a common use especially in countries like the Philippines and Kenya.

Another use is for electricity generation which is actually the most mainstream use. Most countries which are harnessing geothermal energy are using it to provide electricity for their citizens. For some, it is too low, so they use in small-scale or merely for the industrial sectors. For others, like the top 10 that had been listed earlier, production is high enough to power homes and businesses and even export some of the electricity to neighboring countries.

All in all, it's safe to say geothermal has little to no negative impacts to the environment. When it's being produced, some chemical compounds like oxides of Sulphur may get released into the atmosphere which can in turn be harmful to both human beings and the environment.

However, it has less than 5% carbon footprint in comparison with the emissions from fossil fuels. In addition, there are set measures that limit the harmful effects of these toxic gases as well. For example, steam is usually filtered of the harmful gases before it is let into the turbines, making it somewhat less harmful to the environment. While it may be expensive to initially set up a geothermal energy plant, its contribution to clean energy cannot go unnoticed.

Presently, the main downside to geothermal energy generation in comparison with another renewable source of energy like solar energy is the fact that it's not available in all areas. As such, not everyone can reap the benefits of geothermal energy in their countries. However, it may not take long before developing countries that shied away from geothermal energy production come to terms with the fact that it is a far cleaner and more reliable renewable source of energy.

Hydroelectric Energy

Hydropower is perhaps the most common and widely-used source of renewable power. Because of this, hydroelectric power has been known for more than 2000 years. During that time, ancient Greeks would use water wheels to grind grains to flour – a practice that the Chinese dynasty of 150AD did as well. Though rudimentary, it paved way for the first conception of the movement of turbines thanks to the kinetic energy present in free-flowing water.

Centuries later there was no innovation in hydro power until about the 1750s when French engineer Bernard Forest de'Belidor wrote a book about hydro (L'Architecture Hydraulic), but most people still fancied using mechanical hydropower for milling and pumping. However, in 1832, Michael Faraday took it upon himself to conceptualize the modern-day hydroelectric power. It took more than 50 years for his invention to come to fruition. It took 46 years for William George Armstrong from Northumberland, England to take up Faraday's work and use hydroelectric power to light up his art gallery with the help of a single lamp.

After that successful project, countries begun constructing dams to produce large scale electricity to power the ever-increasing factories. In 1882, the first hydroelectric power station was constructed in Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. The station produced 12.5KW. In the next 2-3 years there were about 45 stations in USA and Canada and 7 years later (1889) the stations increased to more than 200 in US alone.

Most countries continued to construct stations because of increasing demand, and in 1905 China constructed a 500KW power plant. The Hoover Hydroelectric Dam in Colorado was built in 1936 producing 1,346MW which at that time had the highest capacity. The production was increased to 2,080 MW later on but was surpassed by the Grand Coulee Hyrdoelectric Dam in 1942 which had a capacity of 6,809MW.

During these years more hydroelectric stations were set up around the world and in 1984 the largest dam in the world, Itaipu, was constructed in Brazil with a power capacity of 14,000MW. In 2008, China built the Three Gorges Dam which has a capacity of 22,500MW making it the largest hydroelectric dam in the world in terms of energy capacity.

With the figures mentioned above, it is easy to see why hydroelectric power is the most widely used renewable energy. China has the largest hydroelectric production with almost half of all world power coming from the Asian country. Some countries such as Paraguay and Brazil heavily rely on hydroelectric power such that 85% of their electricity is powered by the dams. In the US, 17% of its electricity is powered by hydro energy which also covers 70% of their renewable energy.

How ​Hydroelectric Energy Is Generated

Since it relies on the kinetic energy of moving water, hydro power stations are constructed along large water bodies like falls, rivers and lakes. A dam is constructed on one side to raise the level of water then it's blocked by a gate to prevent it from rising over the top. Down below, a small entrance is created through the dam so that the water passes through it in high pressure.

A turbine is installed at this point so that as the water passes through it moves the turbines which are connected to a generator which turns the hydro energy to electrical energy. The electrical energy is then ready to be transmitted to substations and finally to our homes as electricity. Back at the dam, after the water passes through the turbines, it simply goes back to the river and flows as usual.

Reasons for Fast Growth of Hydroelectric Power

1. Demand from Rising Economies

Rising economies are heavily investing in construction projects, and despite the huge sums they keep pouring for the development of their countries, they also require cheap and reliable sources of energy. Hydroelectric power gives them just that. Even though initial costs may be high, it is usually worth the effort because such projects are usually long-term and their return on investments will bring positive results in their countries. This is true because hydropower is cheaper than the oil and gas and the because it is readily available. These are just some of the reasons why most countries go the hydroelectric power way.

2. Support from World Bank and International Funding Institutions

Since most high-profile investors are also vying for green energy production, top banks and institutions have been lending money for the development of hydroelectric power making most projects to pick up pace. More than $2 billion has been spent on such projects to ensure the projects are fully funded. This has ensured most projects, especially those that had stagnated to pick up and be completed thereby producing power and promoting the economies of those countries.

3. Multilateral Goals and Agreements

There have been several international summits and conferences to create awareness about hydroelectric energy. In these meetings, the benefits and disadvantages of hydropower have always been highlighted in contrast to other sources of energy such as nuclear energy. Since the pros surpass the cons, the agreements have concluded that hydropower is worth the shot. Some of the notable reasons highlighted include the fact that it is renewable, cheap, and widely accepted.

This means that it will never get depleted and has very little carbon emissions on top of being sustainable. It's also easier to construct compared to others like geothermal. In addition, since it is used in most countries all over the world, it is also widely accepted unlike other sources of energy such as nuclear energy which will be met with skepticism especially since disasters such as the Chernobyl accident could always happen again.

4. Trade from Developing Countries

When countries agree to trade, there is an increase in business activities which leads to increased demand for electricity especially in the manufacturing sector. The need to supply the growing industries with power has enabled them to turn to hydroelectric power as an environment-friendly source of electricity. Some countries request for international funding and others choose to build from their own pockets. Regardless, such trades are the driving factors for the increasing hydro power stations around the world.

The Future Outlook

For the most part, there's a lot of positive outlook due to untapped potential in most countries. Reports show that 71% of Europe has not yet tapped its hydroelectric power while in North America and South America, these figures stand at 75% and 79% respectively. Asia-Pacific region follows next with 82% and 95% of untapped power in both Africa and Middle East. That amounts to an average of 83% of global hydroelectric power which remains untapped. From this it's safe to say that even 60% of the energy is enough to power the whole world.

Despite this though, some countries have little growth due to having utilized a lot of their energy reserves already. A country such as Switzerland has already tapped 88% and Mexico follows with 80%. Other countries which use hydroelectric in large amounts include Norway, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Paraguay and Brazil. These countries rely on hydropower for up to 85% for their electricity.

Currently, hydroelectric power supplies almost 20% of the world's electricity needs and accounts for 70% of all renewable energy sources. North America and Europe are projected to have a slower rate than other parts of the world in future generation of hydro power. This is mainly because they have utilized more than the rest of the world. The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that by 2050 the world will be able to produce 15,000 Terawatts per hour (TWh) if current production is tripled.

Asia is poised to experience the highest growth in future with countries such as China, Brazil and India being on the leaderboard. Some countries in South East Asia are also experiencing substantial development. These countries include Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia which is the 6th largest global producer of hydroelectric energy. Indonesia has a potential to supply 0.39 million Gigawatts per hour (GWh) annually.

China produces highest amount of hydropower but utilizes 41% of its reserves. It has a capacity to produce 1.3 million GWh annually and India which is the second largest at 21% has reserves capable to produce 0.5 million GWh annually. Russia, on the other hand, has the highest power potential in the world and only utilizes 10% of its 1.5 million GWh annual potential. Sadly, Africa is projected to experience a slow growth in hydro power generation and the larger source of its electricity will still come from oil and natural gas in coming years.

Challenges Facing Hydroelectric Power Generation

It is apparent that hydro energy is important in many societies around the world, and it carries a lot of benefits with it. A good example is the Three Gorges Dam in Yangtze river, Hubei province in China. The power plant stretches over a 2.4Km piece of land and produces 84.7 TWh annually, but it was initially created to control floods that destroyed property worth $24 billion.

The production of electricity was thus a bonus point in addition to favorably changing the climate of the region. However, the Chinese dam wasn’t without problems. Millions of people had to relocate and lots of properties destroyed. Other challenges that hydroelectric stations face (and affect future growth) include:

1. Potential Shortage in Technical Skills

So many power plants are being developed all over the world. Places like SE Asia which are constructing many at a go are experiencing shortage of skilled people to work with while the demand for more stations is increasing.

2. Long Decision-Making Is Needed to Receive Permission

There are a lot of regulatory bodies and authorities that determine how the power plants will be constructed. Getting that permission to build takes a lot of time since it's not until a firm gets access that it can move along and build a power plant.

3. Expensive to Install and High Risk

There are uncertainties in building a hydroelectric station and for these large-scale projects the cost is too daunting since most of the costs are upfront. After it's built the cost of operation and maintenance is decreased. The high risks associated are due to the fact the return investments are not clearly outlined until after construction which makes investors wary.

4. Lack of Investment

This is another challenge that firms wishing to build power plants have to face and one that affects the future of hydro. Some regions, especially in Africa, have low receptivity to investors which hinders the growth of this renewable source. Other ways this happens is when funds run low mid-level and no investors are willing to pitch in.

5. Difficulty to Manage Social and Environmental Effects

A case like the millions of people who were displaced in China when Three Gorges Dam was being constructed is among the many challenges that faces regions around dams. People will be forced to relocate, and the nearby forests will have to be cut down to create space for construction.  Also, the fact that animals get displaced from their habitat is something environmentalists have questioned. Equally, there is also the risk of floods which can come about when a dam gives in.

6. Potential Impact of Climate Change

Different regions face climatic issues in different ways. For example, despite having the highest power production, the Three Gorges Dam is sometimes outperformed by the Itaipu dam between Brazil and Paraguay. This is because there are some seasons where the lower water levels result in a low power output whereas Itaipu boasts a constant water supply. Drought and unclean water are other issues faced by residents near hydroelectric power plants and they threaten the future growth of hydro energy.

The issues outlined above can be solved by proper planning and with improved innovations. With the highly positive outlook in most regions in the world, then it's no doubt that these issues will have to be solved before moving forward. But despite the challenges, hydroelectric energy is projected to grow by 3-4% yearly till year 2050. This is a sign that the benefits of the energy far surpass the challenges facing geothermal energy, and that is why hydropower continues to dominate as the most preferred renewable source of energy.

Facts You Dont Know About Renewable Energy

Renewable energy has been around for thousands of years. Your smartphone that's currently plugged-in to the power outlet is likely to be drawing power from a renewable source of energy. However, this has become so mainstream that we no longer take a time to just think about the true potential of renewable energy. We've been rather sluggish in embracing renewable energy as our main source of energy rather than as backup, but that has changed. In recent years, a lot of awareness has been made on how important renewable energy is. If you're thinking Tesla and Powerwall, then you know what we're getting at. The sad fact is that we only get to hear about what big corporations are doing regarding renewable energy, but the truth is that there is a world of infinite possibilities if we were to switch to renewable energy. Well, today, let's change that narrative a bit and look at 10 things that are not so common about renewable energy.

1. Solar-Powered Airplanes

In 2016, two Swiss scientists/pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg successfully landed a Solar Impulse 2 aircraft in Abu Dhabi after flying around the world for slightly over 500 days. The aircraft flew over 42,000 Km while being powered by about 17,000 solar cells located on its wings. The batteries, which make up about 25% of the aircraft's weight, charged up during the day to produce the much-needed energy for flight.

The plane flew at a speed of around 100 Km/h and could even go faster than that when the sun was much brighter. The pilots used to fly to attitudes of about 29,000 ft during the day and dropped down to about 5,000 ft during the night to preserve energy. The two pilots used to alternate the flights regularly to allow the other to rest. Borschberg flew the aircraft non-stop from Japan to Hawaii making it the longest journey in history without a layover.

Even though the aircraft experienced some technical problems and challenges due to weather, it still managed to make two world records. After the successful landing in Abu Dhabi, UN Secretary general Ban Ki-Moon said, "This is a historic day for Captain Piccard and the Solar Impulse team, but it is also a historic day for humanity. You may be ending your around the world flight today, but the journey to a more sustaining world is just beginning.

The Solar Impulse team is helping us to pilot to that future."  In the end, it successfully finished its route making it the first aircraft to fly using solar energy.

2. The World's Largest Wind Turbine Can Power Over 8,000 Homes with Electricity for a Year 

MHI Vestas is a Danish company that specializes in offshore turbines. It was able to produce 9.5 MW of energy that can power 8,300 homes in the UK where it is located. This will help to reduce maintenance and operation costs as it will be able to achieve the same power output with lesser turbines. Its wind farm has about 90 turbines located close to the Irish Sea and is able to power about 600,000 homes with the same intensity as coal powered electricity.

Europe is currently the world's largest consumer of wind energy as EU companies are constantly developing bigger and more powerful wind turbines. GE Renewable Energy has already set plans for the world's largest offshore wind turbine which is 260 meters tall, with a 107 meters long blade and a capacity of 12 MW.

The GE chairman and CEO John Flannery said, "We want to lead in the technologies that are driving in the global energy transition. Offshore wind is one of those technologies and we will bring the full resources of GE to make the program a success for our customers." He also said one turbine could produce about 67 GWh per year and this is enough to power over 16,000 households.

3. There Exists a Solar-Paneled Road in France

In December 2016, the French government unveiled a 1 Km road covered by solar panels to provide electricity for street lights and a population of about 5,000 citizens living in the small village of Tourouvre-au-Perche. The trial road called Wattway cost about $5.2 million to construct. Wattway was expected to produce 767 KWh per day and was estimated to produce 280 MW of energy annually, but it managed to produce about 410 KWh per day which is still phenomenal.

There are also other countries that have been experimenting with solar roads including the Netherlands and China. Constructing solar roads in a country like UK would be extremely expensive due its unfavorable weather conditions most of the time.

When asked about the solar roads, Marc Jedzilcka, the Vice President for Network for Energy Transition, said, "It's no doubt a technical advance, but in order to produce renewables there are other priorities that need consideration apart from a gadget that is very expensive." 

While the solar project in France didn't reach its goals, it has exceeded expectations in other countries. Netherlands is a good example. A solar paneled-bike path in the country generated 70KWh per sqm after one year. This is enough to power 3 houses.  The solar sidewalk in Budapest is equally a marvel as it helps to charge electric cars and when it's not doing that, it helps to power the nearby offices.

It is worth noting that the Wattway solar panels are covered with a resin coated with silicon so they can withstand the heavy traffic from vehicles and occasional bad weather.

4. World's Resource Base for Geothermal Energy Is Larger Than the Resource Base for Coal, Oil, Gas and Uranium Combined

Below the earth's crust is a layer of magma where heat is always produced from decay of naturally radioactive materials such as potassium and uranium. The heat within about 10 Km of the earth's surface has more than 50,000 times more energy than all the natural gas resources in the world.

The world's largest producer of geothermal power is the USA, but some of the countries with largest national distribution of geothermal include Kenya at (51.0%), Iceland (30%), Philippines (27.0%), El Salvador (25%) and New Zealand at (14.5%). With such figures, one would only wonder why geothermal energy is not mainstream.

5. Sweden Burns Their Garbage to Energy They Use to Warm Up Homes and Provide Heat

The country is usually relatively clean with most of its garbage either recycled or burnt instead of getting dumped. This in turn, creates diligent citizens who are mindful about proper garbage disposal.

The garbage is thereafter burnt in the waste-to-energy plants and later used to provide heat for the 1.2 million residents in apartments and another 600,000 households. This saves the people costs on running their own boilers or furnaces. Apart from electricity and heat, Sweden has a system of recycling organic foods and waste to produce biogas which fuels more than 200 buses in the cities as well as garbage trucks and even private vehicles. They have digital sensors that can highlight green bags which carry organic waste and send them to the nearest biogas plant.

Sweden isn't the only country that handles their own waste. Other developed countries like Japan and China also burn their trash and while the method doesn't promote clean energy, it's able to prevent toxins and harmful gases that pollute the air when thrown to a dump site. Garbage dump sites are hazardous as they carry diseases to the poor people who go to scavenge for food. Evidently, this initiative brings more good than bad.

6. China Is the World's Leading Country in Electricity Production Through Renewable Energy

In a report released by the Global Commission on the GeoPolitics of Energy Transformation, the group chairman Olafur Grimsson says, "No country has put itself in a better position to become the world's renewable superpower than China." 

The report says that China is now the world's largest producer, exporter and installer of electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels. Mr. Grimsson, who is the former President of Iceland, says "The renewables revolution enhances the global leadership of China, reduces the influence of fossil fuels and brings energy independence to countries around the world. This transformation brings enormous power shifts."

China plans to spend $360 billion in renewable energy by 2020. Although it is the world's greatest producer of renewable power especially in hydro, wind and solar, its needs are still so high that it can only supply for about 30% of all demand from renewable. That's why China is still a large consumer of coal and natural gas. Thus, the rest of demand can be supplied by the coal power plants.

7. Researchers in Australia Generate Hydrogen Energy from Paint

Hydrogen is usually considered as a clean energy that reduces the amount of pollution and toxins from greenhouse gases. At the same time, its produce is expensive and requires large amounts of energy hence not widely used. However, some Australians recently found a way by using sunlight and water vapor.

The process is done by painting some chemicals onto roofs and certain surfaces. The chemical compounds absorb moisture from the air and the solar energy thereafter splitting the water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen which can thereafter be used as fuel.

The paint is not commercially available for another 5 years but the fact that its applicable to bricks, roofs, fences and any surfaces that trap air makes it efficient once it's in public. It could also be used in places that are far away from water and still produce fuel.

8. One Hour of Sunlight Can Supply Enough Electricity for A Year

All the electricity humans use in a year is about 410 quintillion joules while the sun produces about 430 quintillion joules per hour. With the proper abilities to harness that kind of energy, the earth would never have a shortage of power for everyday consumption.

The greatest challenge scientists are facing right now is to create the best energy storage to capture all that heat to be used for the less sunny days. Also, another issue is that the solar panels used in homes can only convert up to 14% of the light energy into electrical energy.

While there have been some new ones which can now trap 20% of solar, they won't be in the mainstream market for another couple of years. This means that while one day it's possible to capture all the energy from the sun, it's going to take quite some time, a lot of funds and inspirations for it to be a reality.

9. Modern Roofs Could Incorporate Solar Panels

In last quarter of 2016, Elon Musk announced his solar panel roofing in which consumers would not need to bother with the typical solar panels. He stated that the roofs are sleek and beautiful making it hard to even know that they are solar-powered homes. Elon went ahead and claimed that he and another Tesla executive had already installed the roofs in their homes.

The roofs, which are made of quartz glass are projected to be hard enough to withstand any damage. Tesla is so confident about this to an extent that the Tesla Solar Roofing issues their clients with an infinite warranty once they purchase the tiles from them. While the project has been slow to kickstart, some of the first people in their waiting list have already experienced the beauty and efficiency of clean renewable energy.

While the prices are not cheap – a little less than $44,000 for a 2,000 square foot. House – the roofs look better than those with traditionally installed solar panels.  Elon said that the project may take longer to fully be available for mass market because they want to ensure the roofs can be durable enough to last for at least 30 years.

After installation of the roof, you can additionally purchase a solar battery to store the charge during cold/cloudy seasons or when you have too much excess power. However, to reduce such situations, before installation Tesla asks for your recent electricity bills to know exactly how many tiles your home needs.

One thing is for sure though. Getting a 100% solar panel covered roof would be overkill. This is because it would not only be expensive, but also wasteful since you wouldn't have any use for that excess power at home. In addition, since the Tesla tiles are super hard and durable, it's very hard to cut the tiles into uniform sizes. The tiles, which can be found on the edges of the roof, can be smaller than those found in the middle. Eventually, whether you have 30% or 50% solar tiles, no one can tell a difference because they are all made of one material.

10. Cochin International Airport in Kerala, India is The First Fully Solar-Powered Airport in The World

If you thought that flying planes was the end of it, think again. V.J. Kurian pioneered the Cochin Airport project in 2013 due to the high electricity bills they were being slapped with occasionally. Kurian, who is the managing director said, "We started with the 100 KW pilot project. We found we could produce about 400 KW of power. Then we thought, why don't we scale it up? Why don't we make the whole airport completely solar powered?"

Cochin, the busiest airport in Kerala, and the seventh busiest airport in India, can generate 29.5 MW of solar power, and it has plans of scaling this up to 40 MW later. The airport also handles over 10 million passengers every year and was even awarded the Champions of Earth Award for Entrepreneurial Vision by The United Nations in 2018. Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of United Nations Environment Program talking with Kurian commented that, "Previous Champion Laureates range from World Leaders to inspiring scientists - all visionaries who drive the world closer to its aspiration of environmental sustainability and a life of dignity for all."

Beneath the solar panels the Cochin Airport has planted crops to grow which, in 2018 alone, produced about 60 tons of vegetables and sold. This is an incredible feat for a project that begun only as a small-scale experiment.

All in all, a lot has been achieved through renewable energy. Great feats are being accomplished every day and it is now more of a reality that renewable energy is the future. It's time we all actively maximized these resources for the improvement of our own personal lives and that of our planet, Earth.

As you may have noticed, there are so many reasons why all countries and organizations are advocating for us to use renewable energy. First, it's because it is renewable. This means that earth is constantly able to produce and replenish herself without much struggle. Second, it is clean energy meaning that it does not produce greenhouse gases. With this, the ozone layer will be saved, and mankind will have a new appreciation for a cleaner, pollution-free Earth as this will reduce global warming.

Top 10 Wind Power Generators for Home Use

Among the trending movies on Netflix nowadays is “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.” It is a story about a boy who helped save his family and his whole village from famine by building a wind turbine. This is a wake-up call about the importance of taking advantage of the renewable sources of energy around us.

Wind power has been used for thousands of years now and in the modern world, it still plays a vital role in supplying at least 11% of electricity in the US. You can add more to it if you start generating electric supply for your home from wind energy through the use of readily-available wind turbines. Check out this buying guide and reviews of the 10 best wind power generators for home use today.

Best Wind Turbine Generators for Your Home

Automaxx offers a 600w, mid-level power turbine that is perfect for off-grid use. Off-grid simply means that you don’t depend on the local electric cooperative for the electrification of your property and will solely use renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or hybrid.

This is an easy-to-install wind turbine that has triple fiberglass blades and a 4.3 ft. rotor which is coated with weather-resistant paint and will not rust or corrode. The whole system is lightweight at 31lbs. The minimum cut-in speed of this windmill is 4.5mph and will reach its full capacity at 6.7mph.

It has an automatic braking system through its digital MPPT Charge Controller that is included in the package. This also prevents overcharging of batteries while generating the maximum power output.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​Centerpiece (generator)
  • ​Tailpiece
  • ​Digital MPPT Charge Controller
  • ​Triple Blades
  • ​Nose cone
  • ​Manual brake switch
  • ​Hex bolts
  • ​Hex key
  • ​Nuts
  • ​Washers
  • ​Unilateral open wrench
  • ​Operational installation manual

​PROS

  • ​Fiberglass blades
  • ​Digital MPPT is included in the package
  • ​Lightweight
  • ​1-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​Unspecified wind speed limit

Bottom line :

If you are looking for an entry-to-mid-level wind generator that will automatically control output and prevent power surges in your battery, you are looking at the right product. This is perfect for first time users who want to eliminate too much guesswork and complicated setups for wind speed and output measurements.

If you are among those who are easily impressed by materials and design, Missouri Freedom II is here to satisfy that. It is built with durable components, like the 11-blade turbine which is made with Raptor generation carbon fiber. The blades will stand strong even at 125mph wind speed.

Its permanent magnet generator can quickly turn up a 2000-watt maximum output, isn’t that powerful? This is attributed to the rare earth magnet rotor inside the generator. The rotor also contains twice as much copper than any other competitor’s rotors which translates to more power.

Freedom II is also an improved make and technology from the Missouri brand. They designed this model with a self-tightening cam-lock washer that stabilizes the hub to avoid any blade accidents. There have been reports of this occurrence in the earlier models.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​11-blade turbine
  • ​Freedom PMG Rotor
  • ​Turbine Tail
  • ​Mounting Bracket
  • ​Hub-spacer
  • ​Bolts, Nuts and Hex Key
  • ​Operation Manual

​PROS

  • ​Works even on low wind speed (6MPH)
  • ​Copper-coiled rotor
  • ​Durable blade turbines
  • ​Newly-improved product

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included
  • ​Warranty coverage is not specified
  • ​Vibration and noise problems
  • ​The unit is twice as heavy as other brands

​Bottom line:

This product seems like it is indeed built to last. It will not rust nor corrode. It can withstand even the strongest winds at 125MPH and has been improved based on previous design flaws. If only it would run on a wind speed slower than 6MPH, it would have beaten its other competitors to the core.

Some locations may not have robust wind speeds all year round. If you feel like you will not be able to generate as much electricity through a wind turbine alone, it might be best to combine it with solar energy. That’s exactly how ECO LLC 800w Wind-Solar Generator came to be.

This wind-solar generator kit is a combination of a 140W Poly Solar Panel with an optimum power voltage of 18V, 400W Wind Turbine Generator with a battery voltage of DC12V/24V and a 1000W 12V to 110V Off-Grid Inverter. All of these will let you enjoy continuous electricity supply, rain or shine. The service life of this product is up to 15 year.

The wind generator kit has a triple blade turbine made with carbon fiber composite. Its start-up wind speed is as low as 5.5mph and the optimum output starts at 10.5mph. The solar energy is harnessed through three (3) pieces of solar panels. Both setups are connected to a waterproof wind and solar hybrid controller.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​400W 12V/24V Wind Turbine Generator
  • ​20A 12V/24V Hybrid Charge Controller
  • ​140W 12V Poly Solar Panel
  • ​24cm(9.5") Cable with MC4 Connectors
  • ​1000W 12V-110V Pure Sine Wave Off

​PROS

  • ​Wind and solar hybrid
  • ​For residential, industrial and commercial use
  • ​Comes in a complete set
  • ​Works even on low wind speed (5.5MPH)
  • ​1-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included

Bottom line:

The reliability will never be an issue rain or shine if you have resources that will work for you 24/7 like this hybrid wind and solar setup. It is nice that it comes as a complete set. The wind turbine appears a little flimsy which might be the reason why it is best compensated by solar energy. Overall, it is worth giving a shot.

If you are new to the alternative energy resources game, the setup can be overwhelming and intimidating. Looking at a product like Tumo-Int  Generator Kit would make you feel at ease because it is straightforward and comes with a digital controller.

This turbine generator is lightweight and minimalistic in design. Its triple blades can generate 1000w of power at 12.5mph wind speed. It has a 5.5mph minimum cut-in speed. However, its maximum wind tolerance is only 78mph which may not be suitable at extremely windy locations. Since it is designed to be low-noise and low-vibration, it is perfect for those with a smaller perimeter or backyard.

The MPPT Controller that comes with this wind generator detects and shows the real-time voltage generated by the turbines. It also tracks maximum voltage to allow the system to provide the maximum output or charge to the battery without compromising safety.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​3-blade turbine
  • ​Controller
  • ​Nose Cone
  • ​Bolts and Screws
  • ​Operation Manual

​PROS

  • ​Controller is included
  • ​Low cut-in speed requirement
  • ​Low noise
  • ​Low maintenance
  • ​1-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included
  • ​Might not survive winds stronger than 78mph

​Bottom line:

You can measure the efficiency of your wind turbines real-time through the digital MPPT controller that comes with this generator kit. The turbines will also efficiently run even on the lowest wind speeds. The only downside of this wind turbine kit is the ability to survive strong winds. The blades and the rotor might be too delicate for harsh weather conditions like a hurricane.

This wind generator turbine from Aleko is one of their latest models. Aleko is a known manufacturer of home and office improvement supplies. The WG410 model comes with a 6-piece glass-fiber reinforced blades that can start producing wind energy at a wind speed of 5mph. The main body is made with die cast aluminum and is fully-sealed, salt corrosion-resistant, and is IP65 qualified.

This product is perfect for home use, but is also suitable for mobile and tiny homes, caravans, boats, sheds and cabins. It is lightweight and can be mounted on high poles. It can generate as much as 400w of electricity which can be classified as an entry level output. A wind speed of 12.5 mph can produce 240w. Comparing it with other devices, this requires a more robust wind speed to attain the maximum output.

It is also equipped with a wind charge controller and strong magnets for optimum power supply. It can be used stand-alone or connected with a hybrid wind-solar setup.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​6-blade turbine
  • ​Integrated Wind Charge Controller
  • ​Nose Cone
  • ​Bolts and Screws
  • ​Operation Manual

​PROS

  • ​Integrated controller
  • ​Low noise
  • ​Low maintenance
  • ​1-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included
  • ​Might not survive winds stronger than 78mph

Bottom line:

For most buyers, affordability is paramount especially when trying out something new. Aleko WG410 Wind Generator Turbine will appeal to the market who are trying out something but do not want to spend so much yet. It is ready for wind-solar power setup, it is definitely low-maintenance and easy to set up. It doesn’t cost much, but it doesn’t give much as well.

This wind turbine generator kit generates 400w wind energy through its 3-piece fan blade that starts producing energy at 5.5mph. The blades are made with carbon fiber composite and can overcome extreme weather conditions. It is also equipped with permanent magnet generators that are built to last and supply the maximum wind energy output possible.

The wind turbine’s power is complemented with the energy generation efficiency of the 6-panel 160w Poly Solar Panel. The solar setup is meant to complement the wind turbine and generate solar power during the day time while the windmill makes wind power 24/7, whenever the wind speed reaches the ideal startup for the turbine. It also comes with a 1500w sine wave inverter that connects the whole system to your home appliances. It offers over temperature, overload and AC output short circuit protection.

The whole setup can be used with the on-grid, off-grid system. It comes with a waterproof IP-65 junction box for advanced dust and water protection and guarantees a long service life. Aside from home use, the setup will also work on boats, greenhouse, sheds and industrial applications because it is salt-corrosion and humidity resistant.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​6pcs 160W Poly Solar Panel
  • ​1pcs 400W Wind Turbine Generator
  • ​1pc 1500 Watts Off Grid Pure Sine Wave Inverter(110V/220V)
  • ​4pcs Y MC4 Solar Panel Connector
  • ​1pcs 20A turbine hybrid controller (which can connect to solar panel & wind generator, and it auto work with 12V/24V)
  • ​1pcs 24cm(9.5") cable with MC4 connectors (which for connect the solar panel and controller)(please cut it into 2pcs when connecting)

​PROS

  • ​Integrated controller
  • ​Low noise
  • ​Low maintenance
  • ​1-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included
  • ​Might not survive winds stronger than 78mph

Bottom line:

If you are looking for a system that will completely and independently rely on renewable sources of energy, wind and solar setup must be the right one for you. This can also be an excellent on-grid back up if you are not ready to fully convert. It is on the high price point, but with all the positive attributes, Eco-Worthy might be worth your money.

7. VEVOR Wind Turbine 400W 12V Wind Generator

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VEVOR Wind Turbine is a small and simple wind turbine that is perfect for small off-grid installations. It is lightweight, low-noise, low-vibration and it makes it an attractive off-grid power source for small homes, sheds, garages and even marine applications. It has three carbon fiber composite blades that only needs 5.5mph of air to startup. A constant wind speed of 8mph and faster is necessary to maximize this wind turbine.

Its permanent magnet generator guarantees stability and supports efficient output of 400w. It is also integrated with an automatic braking system that will ensure that sudden high wind speeds will not affect the generator. It is also ready for hook-up with various accessories such as a digital multimeter and hybrid installations.  

What’s in the Box?

  • ​3-Blade Wind Turbine
  • ​Wind Controller
  • ​Nose Cone
  • ​Screws and Nuts
  • ​Instruction Manual

​PROS

  • ​Small but efficient
  • ​Integrated controller against wind surge
  • ​Low noise and vibration
  • ​Low maintenance
  • ​1-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included
  • ​Might not survive winds stronger than 78mph

Bottom line:

If you are all about trying out what wind energy might bring you without spending too much, then VEVOR Wind Turbine is definitely a decent choice. There is not much to expect from it, but it meets the expectations on built quality. You must take into consideration the constant wind speed in your area before buying this product.

The whole wind-solar generator from A-Wonderful produces 500w of energy output by combining the power of a triple-blade 400W wind turbine and a 100w foldable solar panel. This impressive combination is made for 12V batteries but can also be connected with other panels and wired in series to charge a  24/48V battery.

The compact body is made with carbon steel and is protected by epoxy zinc-rich primer and polyurethane anti-corrosion treatment. The patented, permanent magnet rotor generator guarantees stability and regulates torque resistance whenever necessary.

The minimum cut-in speed for this wind turbine is 4.4MPH which is at par with other wind turbines. The rated wind speed is at 29MPH which is higher than the other brands’ requirements for the similar expected output. The good thing about this is that it has a high maximum wind speed tolerance of 111MPH. The brand offers an impressive warranty coverage of 5 years on materials and workmanship.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​400W 3-Blade Wind Turbine
  • ​Integrated Permanent Magnet Generator
  • ​100W Foldable Solar Panel
  • ​Nose Cone
  • ​Screws and Nuts
  • ​Instruction Manual

​PROS

  • ​Portable wind-solar setup
  • ​Integrated controller against wind surge
  • ​Low noise and vibration turbine
  • ​Low maintenance
  • ​Strong wind threshold at 111mph
  • ​5-year warranty of materials and workmanship

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included

Bottom line:

It is easy to consider using a wind plus solar setup if you will look at the A-wonderful 500w Wind-Solar installation. It covers everything that is necessary for a hybrid installation. The only downside that we see is the rated wind speed requirement which seems to be higher than its competitors. If you live in a consistently windy area, this setup is truly worth the price.

This wind turbine generator kit is compact and lightweight. It is made with high-quality aluminum and stainless steel fittings, and these materials make it durable. The blade is built using premium and high-strength plastic with 30% carbon fiber and anti-UV material. It is also coated with a special material to prevent oxidation and corrosion. The whole unit is water- and sand- resistant making it marine-use ready.

The generator has a microprocessor control that regulates the current and voltage. It has a built-in magnetic circuit design to make the starting torque low and an integrated braking system to prevent strain and damage to the gears when the wind is too strong.

It can generate 400w of electricity at 26MPH wind speed. It has a minimum cut-in speed of 5.5MPH comparable to other wind turbines in the 3-blade category. It is quiet, low maintenance and has a wide range of use for home, office, commercial and industrial applications. The service life of this product under regular use is up to 15 years.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​3-blade Wind Turbine
  • ​Controller 12V/24v (For wind only)
  • ​Nose cone
  • ​Instruction manual
  • ​Screws and nuts

​PROS

  • ​Small but powerful
  • ​Durable materials
  • ​Integrated controller against wind surge
  • ​Low noise and vibration turbine
  • ​1-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included

Bottom line:

Happybuy Wind Turbine may seem small but performs really well. The manufacturer specializes in these products and their wind generators are built to last long. This product is also affordable. The only downside is that it does not seem like it is hybrid-ready. The wind turbine itself is an excellent equipment and it might be a great addition to a solar setup.

Compact wind turbines seem to be a trend in wind generators. Npower 400w wind turbine will effectively work on generating electricity 24/7 even if you have low wind speeds in your area. It has a black triple-blade turbine that is marine-coated to prevent rust and to make it versatile for land and marine use.

It is built to run on the minimum wind speed of 5.6MPH and the maximum wattage will be attained at 28MPH. It can withstand winds as strong as 100MPH and is weather-resistant, so if you are in an area with a lot of thunderstorms, you don’t have to worry.

It is equipped with a Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) Smart Controller that automatically cuts off charging on your 12V battery once it is full. It can also be used with 12V or 24V systems.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​3-blade Wind Turbine
  • ​MPPT Controller
  • ​Instruction manual
  • ​Screws and nuts

​PROS

  • ​Small but powerful
  • ​Durable materials
  • ​MPPT Controller
  • ​Strong wind threshold at 111mph
  • ​1-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included

Bottom line:

NPower may be a new player in the wind generator production. In light of that, they have impressively designed a compact yet reliable wind turbine with an automatic controller. This is beneficial for the service life of both the turbine and your battery. It would have been better if the controller and the whole system were hook-up or hybrid ready.

The Verdict:

Best Wind Power Generator for Home Use – Wind Only

Missouri 11-Blade Freedom II  Wind Turbine 2000w

As we have mentioned, this is an improved product after reports of flaws in the shaft's stability and durability. The company seems to have learned from those mistakes and kept the best features from the previous model, and reinforced everything else. It generates a lot of power and can withstand even the harshest weather.

Best Wind Power Generator for Home Use – Wind and Solar

A-Wonderful 400W Wind Turbine and 100W Solar Panels with Controllers

First and foremost, the warranty coverage is impressive at 5 years. The wind turbine is well-built and the portability of the foldable solar panel will undoubtedly be appealing to buyers with space constraints. The set also comes with everything that you need for easy setup.

Top 5 Windmill Generator Kits 2019

With all the technological advancements that the world is experiencing, we have become dependent on every little thing that brings us comfort and convenience. Obviously, we can no longer live without electricity.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of the total electric power supply in the US is generated from petroleum. It took millions of years before these petroleum sources came to be. Oil is a non-renewable source of energy and endless explorations is a sign that petroleum sources might not be enough for the demand in the near future. Good thing, we can generate electricity by harnessing the power of renewable energy sources - one of which is wind.

Wind energy has been used by ancient Egyptians for sailing, Chinese and Dutch for agriculture and Americans started using windmills for electricity since the 1800s. Technology helped us make this energy source accessible that we can install windmill generator kits in our homes. That guarantees years of savings on electricity costs and saving the environment too. We’ve shortlisted the best turbine kits to help you get started.

Best Wind Turbine Kits for Your Home

This DIY wind turbine kit offers an easy-to-install package at an affordable price. It is made with weather-resistant material Polypropylene and Glass Fiber. That makes Windmill Wind Turbine a choice for land and marine application.

This home wind turbine was also made in consideration of possible wind surges and voltage surge. It is equipped with an integrated automatic braking system and manual braking switch that will prevent overcharging of the battery.

It has a low cut-in wind speed that will allow the turbines to rotate even at a minimum wind speed of 6.7mph. This means that your turbines can still generate electricity even when the wind speed is low or inconsistent. This is also compatible with solar panel systems and can be easily connected as an alternate energy source.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​Center piece and tail with the generator
  • ​Built-in Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)
  • ​Triple blade turbine
  • ​Manual Brake Switch
  • ​Voltmeter Display Box
  • ​Bolts, Nuts and Hex Key
  • ​Operation Manual

​PROS

  • ​Protection from a sudden wind gust
  • ​Surge protection
  • ​Weather resistant
  • ​1-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included
  • ​Cut-in wind speed must be between 12-14mph

Bottom line:

If you are looking for an entry-level residential wind turbine that is easy to set up, protect your battery from power surges and has its automatic brake system against sudden wind gust, this wind generator kit should be your top consideration. However, manage your expectations especially on its minimum cut-in wind speed. Unfortunately, it starts working at 12-14mph and not as advertised at 6.7mph.

Missouri Freedom II is a wind turbine on a mission to harness wind energy even from the lowest wind speed. This all-metal wind turbine is hot dipped galvanized and will not need any rust-proofing. Its hub is also zinc plated. The blades are also made with Raptor Generation carbon fiber and the whole system can last you up to 50 years of regular use.

An 11-blade turbine might sound unusual for a wind generator, but it works well on the Missouri Freedom II. The slim blades seem to be the secret for the turbine to run even on a low wind speed of 6mph – a video footage on Youtube actually shows an anemometer measuring this. An actual test of the turbine’s output shows it can generate approximately 1000 watts with 30mph wind speed. The maximum output of this wind generator is 2000 watts.

In 2018, an improved version of the Freedom II Permanent Magnet Generator (PMG) came out. It is designed with a self-tightening cam-lock washer that prevents the blades from spinning on the shaft. The Missouri Freedom II 2000-Watt Wind Turbine is built to charge 12, 24 and 48 battery banks, depending on the variant you are purchasing.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​11-blade turbine
  • ​Freedom PMG Rotor
  • ​Turbine Tail
  • ​Mounting Bracket
  • ​Hub-spacer
  • ​Bolts, Nuts and Hex Key
  • ​Operation Manual

​PROS

  • ​Works even on low wind speed (6MPH)
  • ​Durable blade turbines
  • ​Newly-improved product

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included
  • ​Warranty coverage is not specified
  • ​Vibration and noise problems

Bottom line:

From the most robust winds of 125mph and the lowest speeds of 6mph, Freedom II is committed to free you from high electricity costs. The product manufacturer, with its new improvements for the 2018 release learned from the Freedom’s previous flaws. Incorporating a self-tightening cam lock washer will assure the buyers that earlier problems with the blades damaging the shaft will never happen again.

A good wind turbine generator should not be too heavy that it might topple nor too light that it feels flimsy. That’s precisely how Ista Breeze i-2000 was designed. Its metal body housing is made with aluminum and rotor blades are made glass fiber reinforced plastic that makes it durable yet light. The whole unit only weighs 25kgs.

The Ista Breeze i-2000 can easily generate 2000 watts of electricity at 12-14mph wind speed. It is also surprisingly quiet at 40dB despite its power and can run on low, medium and high wind speeds. If you are one of those who are worried about twisting cables, when using a wind turbine, this product assures the users it won’t happen. The power transmission goes through a slip ring that prevents wire problems.

This wind turbine has a maximized efficiency as it rotates to the direction of the wind to generate more power. Despite these capabilities, this wind generator is designed to be low maintenance.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​3-blade turbine
  • ​Turbine Tail
  • ​Operation Manual

​PROS

  • ​Low noise
  • ​Low maintenance
  • ​2-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included
  • ​Some users still find the turbine too heavy
  • ​Unspecified minimum cut-in speed

Bottom line:

The Ista Breeze i-2000 is on the mid-range price point compared to the wind generator kits available in the market. The aesthetic appeal of this product also makes it appealing. Like any other wind turbines for home, it is essential to know the minimum cut-in speed of the equipment for it to work in your area efficiently.

Tumo-Int is a manufacturer of a wide range of wind turbines for home and industrial use. They offer a variety of products from 400W to 5000W energy production yield. The 1000w model was designed to work even on the lowest wind speeds with a startup of 5.6mph.

The triple blade turbine is durably made using Nylon Fiberglass material that can withstand wind speeds of up to 90mph. It also self-adjusts to the direction of the wind to capture maximum output possible. Another set of positives for this product is that it’s low-noise, low-vibration and low-maintenance.

Tumo-Int 1000w is paired with a Maximum Power Point Tracking Controller. This enables the users to remotely detect and control the generated voltage of the wind turbine.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​3-blade turbine
  • ​Controller
  • ​Nose Cone
  • ​Bolts and Screws
  • ​Operation Manual

​PROS

  • ​Controller is included
  • ​Low cut-in speed requirement
  • ​Low noise
  • ​Low maintenance
  • ​1-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included

Bottom line:

If you are in the lookout for a wind generator kit that will provide you the power to remotely view control its efficiency without too many accessories to set up, this product is the right one for you. Likewise, this is very easy to install and with the correct pole height, locations and cable connections, users can surely maximize the efficiency of the Tumo-Int 1000w.

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind can be seasonal and time-bound and there is no perfect way to maximize both than to go hybrid. Solar power can be harnessed during day time and summer while the wind blows at its highest speed at night and during rainy and winter seasons. GOW Wind Generator aims to be easily used together with a solar power setup.

This wind generator has a 3-blade and a 5-blade variant. The blades are built with carbon reinforced plastics. The wind generator's minimum cut-in speed is at 3.5mph which is really impressive. The maximum wind speed, however, is a low down at 45mph. GOWE 500w is suitable for land and marine use.

It comes with a hybrid controller that features voltage regulation and automatic voltage detection. It also prevents overcharge, deep discharge, wind turbine auto-brake and reverse current protection.

What’s in the Box?

  • ​3-blade or 5-blade Turbine
  • ​Controller
  • ​Bolts and Screws
  • ​Operation Manual

​PROS

  • ​Controller is included
  • ​Low cut-in speed requirement
  • ​Land and marine use
  • ​1-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​No mounting pole included
  • ​May not stand strong wind speed beyond 45mph

Bottom line:

A reliable hybrid-ready wind generator is a rare find. GOWE 500w Wind Generator looks really promising despite its low output compared with the earlier products. The capabilities of the controller that comes with it is also a plus factor. The only downside we see is the maximum cut-out speed that the blades can tolerate which may not go over 45mph. 

How Does a Home Wind Generator Kit Work?

A home wind generator is a piece of power-generating equipment that harnesses wind energy. It has a set of blades that rotate according to the wind speed. It usually has a small computer box inside that controls the blades to maximize the generated energy based on wind direction. There are smaller gears inside the box and these gears convert wind to kinetic energy. Energy then passes through a generator which will turn it into electricity.    

Factors to Consider Before Setting Up a Home Wind Turbine

1.    Grid Connection

This is on top of the list because this is the most critical factor to consider. If your electrical connection is grid-connected, you are currently dependent to local power cooperatives or producers all your electrical connections are designed for this type of connection.

Switching to wind energy will require you to go off-grid and you will be solely relying on wind to provide you electricity. But there are other options like a hybrid connection which combines wind and solar energy to produce electricity and generate and store electricity from whichever source is available. Wind is best relied on during rainy season and winter. While solar is there 3 out of 4 seasons of the year.

You may still stay grid-connected while enjoying wind power but this will entail a lot of money for the electrical modifications. You can look forward to making wind energy the primary source of electricity and your grid connection as the secondary one.

Consulting your electric cooperative can help you better assess your decision to switch or combine wind generator kits to your current source. They can also provide you estimates on the rewiring and electrical components necessary. Lastly, they can guide you in applying for tax credits once you decide to pursue using wind turbines.

2.    Wind Velocity and Speed

There are a lot of wind generator kits that can start up on wind speeds as little as 3mph. But let’s be honest, that’s not potent enough to actually fill a battery and support your electricity needs especially if you will solely rely on wind energy.

As a rule of thumb, it is advisable to consistently test the wind speed in your area at least a year before deciding to purchase a wind turbine for your home. You need to make sure that you will constantly have 18mph wind speed to optimize the use of your generator kit.

3.    The height of the Wind Turbine

The height of the mounting pole will affect the consistency of wind that will pass through the wind turbines. Any type of obstruction will affect wind speed and prohibit efficiency. Experts say that the height of the mounting pole should be twice as high as any nearest obstruction like trees, buildings, etc.

4.    Space and Zoning

Another significant consideration is the space that you have in your yard or perimeter. Wind speed varies on every location and if your house is in a vast space, there is a higher chance of you getting as much wind power as you need. It is vital to identify the best part of your property that will be exposed to the strongest wind possible.

However, space is not all there is to consider when deciding where to place your wind turbine. You also have to do your homework checking your Homeowners Association’s rules and regulations on zoning. More importantly, review local laws and that might be prohibiting wind turbine installation in your area.

5.    Noise and Vibration Issues

Although every wind generator kit would promise you that theirs is a “low noise” turbine, it will still boil down to the actual noise when its running and when gusty winds pass through it. Aside from reviewing the decibel rating of these wind turbines, check out some videos of actual running noise and decide if it is something you can live with.

Likewise, there are brands which market their turbines as suitable for roof mounting. But technically speaking, this is not structurally safe for your home. The vibrations these turbines can create can compromise the strength durability of your roof, ceiling and even the walls of your home.

Benefits of Having a Wind Turbine Generator at Home

1.    Save the Environment

You might probably know that 1/3 of the electric consumption in the US and possibly the world is powered by petroleum-derived electricity. Wind energy is instantly available and renewable. It just needs a little work and a little investment for it to be harnessed. But that investment can actually last you for a minimum of 15 years up to 50 years if the components are properly maintained and used under normal conditions.

Shying away from petroleum use can prevent digging oil drilling in land and in the sea that disturbs the natural habitat of animals and pollutes the sea and the air. Using wind turbines will not require gas or coal and will not be harmful to the environment.

2.    Save on Electricity Cost

You must be wondering if the investment for a wind generator kit and its installation would actually be worth it when you sum up all the savings that the manufacturers promise you. Your local electric cooperative will be able to help you with this comparison. Switching will not only let you save on electricity cost for a year or so. This will go on as long as your wind turbine stands and rotates.

3.   Enjoy Tax Credits

Aside from savings on electricity cost, another benefit of switching to wind turbines is the tax credit you can enjoy for using an alternative source of energy. Same perks apply to those who use solar. As for the computation of tax credits, your local tax office can provide you with the tax bracket depending on your dependence on an alternative source of electricity.

Final thoughts:

No doubt turning in to wind energy can be most beneficial for the consumers considering the savings on electricity and the tax credits you can enjoy from it. The decision to entirely or partially switch will rely on the factors that we have presented like the wind speed, zoning restrictions and the type of connection that you have. It will take a lot of research and comparison, but we are hoping that this article was able to help you jumpstart that decision-making process by presenting the best windmill generator kits and how each one can make choosing wind power a breeze!

Best Portable Generators

Ideally, power generators are built and designed to supplement the electricity requirement for homes during emergency power outages. These power interruptions are usually caused by natural calamities, or inadequate supply. These are rare occurrence in the United States though. Likewise, emergencies may not be the only reason why you should invest in a portable generator. You might be one of those people who see the outdoors as an extension of their homes. Whether it’s in your huge backyard, your farm, or an outdoor adventure - a portable generator will certainly ensure you enjoy the outdoors with convenience and without any interruptions.

But how will you know which particular model to get? The wide variety of options may be confusing for first-time buyers, even more so for those who need replacements. This buying guide will help you decide, by giving you insights on how to compute your wattage requirements. By the end of this article, we guarantee that you will arrive at a sound decision, and are ready to click “Add to Cart.”

​​Model Name

​​Running Watts

​​Fuel Type

​​Fuel Capacity

​​Warranty

​​9500w

​​Gas

​​6.6-gallon tank

​​3 years

​​8300w

​​Gas

​​6.6-gallon tank

​​2 years

​​7500w

Gas/Propane

​​6.6-gallon tank with gauge, Propane not included

​​3 years

Gas: 7500

​Propane: 6750

Gas/Propane

​​6-gallon tank, Propane not included

​​3 years

​​3500w

​​Gas

​​4-gallon tank

​​1 year

​​3600w

​​Gas

​​4-gallon tank

​​3 years

​​3500w

​​Gas

​​3.8-gallon tank

​​3 years

​​1700w

​​Gas

​​1-gallon tank

​​2 years

​​1800w

​​​Gas

​​1.3-gallon tank

​​3 years

​​1800w

​​Gas

​​0.95-gallon tank

​​3 years

10000 Watts and Above Portable Generators

portable-generators

Plug in your most important appliances such as your air conditioner, refrigerator or room heater with a heavy duty and powerful portable generator like the Westinghouse WGen9500. With its large gas tank capacity of 6.6lbs, it can supply up to 17.5 hours of electricity. With over a thousand reviews on Amazon, this portable generator is packed with power and enticing features.

This generator can be used straight out of the box. Just fill the gas tank and you may start it using a push button, via recoil starting or through a remote that’s included in the package. You can conveniently remote start it at a distance of 109 yards. It is easy to track whenever you need to refill the gas with its built-in gauge. You will never be disappointed with its 9500 watts running watts and 12500 peak watts that lets you power even the most energy-consuming appliances at home.

Its control panel shows various connection ports such as two (2) 5V DC USB ports, main breaker,  data center, two (2) 120V AC 20-A 5-20R GFCI outlets, 120/240V AC 30A L14-30R outlet and 120/240V AC 50A L14-50R outlet. All outlets have built-in covers for safety and protection of the users.

Westinghouse WGen9500 is powered by a 457cc heavy-duty Westinghouse 4-stroke OHV engine. It is housed in a cast iron sleeve. It has a low noise operation level at 73db which is equivalent to the sound of a toilet flushing. The required oil capacity for this generator is 1.1 qt. and SAE 10W30 is the recommended oil.

It can easily be transported from one area to another with its foam grip handle and two wheels.  It is easy to use, easy to maintain, has a 3-year warranty and lifetime technical support.

​PROS

  • ​​High-power generator
  • ​​An impressive running time of 17.5 hours
  • ​​No installation required
  • ​Easy to transport
  • ​3-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​User reports of Start Button malfunction
  • ​Operates louder than other portable generators

Bottom line:

Like a job applicant with impressive credentials, the Westinghouse WGen9500 stands out as a heavy-duty, high-power generator qualified for long running hours. It can pretty much last throughout day time and perfect for electricity backups for those who need their air conditioners/heaters and refrigerators running for hours.

best-portable-generator

Imagine you’re in the middle of a power outage caused by a hurricane and you ran out of gas for your generator. Even your emergency power back-up will surely need a back-up. That’s what dual fuel generators are for. WEN DF1100T was designed with these shortages in mind. Simply choose between gasoline or LPG to power your generator and switch the power key on the control panel.

The generator is equipped with a 457cc 4-stroke OHV engine which has 8300 running watts and 11000 starting watts as output on gasoline. While using Propane gives it 7500 running and 9500 surge watts. It can hold up to 6.6 gallons of gas and LPG tanks can be easily connected using the 47-inch LPG hose provided in the kit.

The control panel has four (4) 120V GFCI outlets (5-20R), a 120V 30A twist lock outlet (L5-30R), a 120V/240V 50A outlet (NEMA 14-50R) and a 12V DC cigarette-lighter-style plug. There will be no guesswork or transformers needed because you can plug in any appliances with 120/240V voltage requirement.

The half-load run time of this generator with 6.6 gallons of gasoline can run up to 5 hours, while 3 hours on a 20-gallon LPG tank. It is equipped with two wheels and an easy to carry handle for quick transfer and storage. This powerful generator can be used at home, hospitals, construction sites and outdoor sports tournaments. It is also covered with a 2-year warranty.

​PROS

  • ​​High-power generator
  • ​​Dual fuel (Gasoline and Propane) generator
  • ​​No installation required
  • ​Easy to transport
  • ​2-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​User reports of clanking noise
  • ​Operates louder than other portable generators

Bottom line:

Being offered options is good. One of the best ones come with this generator. Since we’ll never really know if Gasoline will always be accessible whether it’s for home use or outdoors, Propane is the most suitable back-up since we have it readily available at home.

7500 Watts Porta​ble Generators

portable-generators-for-sale

With the popularity of dual fuel generators, powerhouse brand Westinghouse also came up with their very own with WGen7500DF Portable Generator. It offers 7500 running watts and 9500 peak watts that will let you use your water heater, clothes dryer and other high electricity consuming appliances.

Easily switch between gasoline and propane. This generator is hook-up ready to LPG at it already comes with the hose and the gauge. You just need to purchase a propane tank. If you prefer gasoline, it has a 6.6-gallon tank. It impressively runs for 16 hours even at full tank load. You can also switch between the fuel sources even while the generator is running. There are two ways to power on the unit, through its Push Start Electric Button or the Remote Start Key Fob that can activate the unit even if you are 109 yards away.

All switches and buttons are located in a control panel which has the fuel selector switch, one-touch push-button start, engine shut off, 5V DC USB ports, Data Center, battery charging port, two (2) 120V AC 20A 4-20R GFCI outlets, 120/240V AC 30A L14-30R out and 20A circuit breakers. All outlets are covered to prevent damage and accidents.

Worried about your generator and the oil when it’s running too long? Not anymore with its Automatic Low Oil Shut Off feature. This generator requires minimum supervision. Its powerful 420cc 4-stroke  OHV air-cooled engine is also low maintenance and fuel efficient.

​PROS

  • ​​High-power generator
  • ​​An impressive running time of 16 hours
  • ​​Dual fuel
  • ​Fuel efficient
  • ​3-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​User reports of an oil leak
  • ​Operates louder than other portable generators

Bottom line:

Still on the high-power classification for generators, the Westinghouse WGen7500DF is the perfect duel fuel generator for those who are banking on a good brand name, added convenience of a remote key and the fuel options. It is most suitable for those who are looking for a low maintenance generator that comes with extended warranty coverage as well.

honda-portable-generators

Generators may not be a supplemental or temporary source or electricity, for some users it may be the only source for a specific period. That’s why it is essential to find one with reliable running time and fuel efficiency. Champion 7500W Portable Generator gives up to 8 hours of power supply with 6-gallon gasoline and 5.5 hours using propane. This generator is versatile and can be switched between two power sources whenever you need it.

It is equipped with a 4-stroke 439cc single cylinder engine which features an Intelligauge that will help you keep track of maintenance reminders and monitor voltage, hertz and run-time hours. The generator is stable and does not have any clanking problems, thanks to the durable 1.5-inch tubular steel frame that protects it.

Champion 7500w Dual Fuel Generator’s power output is impressive on both fuel sources. Gasoline has 7500 running watts and 9375 starting watts. On propane, you can generate 6750 running watts and 8400 starting watts. You will also never have to worry about power overload because of its Volt Guard, a built-in surge protector.    

The control panel of this generator lets you plug in two (2) 120V GFCI 5-20R. It also has 20A and 30A circuit breakers, an ON and OFF switch, a 120V L5-30R outlet, 120/240V L14-30R outlet and the Intelligauge. You’ll never fall short because buying confidence because of its 3-year warranty and free lifetime technical support.

​PROS

  • ​High-power generator
  • ​Dual fuel
  • ​ No installation required
  • ​Durable frame
  • ​3-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​High-price point
  • ​User reports of an oil leak
  • ​Operates louder than other portable generators

Bottom line:

This generator runs straight out of the box. The dual fuel option is a pleaser, but with its higher price point, it should definitely showcase better features than its competitors in the same power output. The only downside is that it does not have a transfer switch outlet and USB ports like other generators.

3500 Watts to 4400 Watts Portable Generators​

portable-generator-reviews

Any generator in the 3500 to 4000w are considered mid-range portable generators. DuroMax is among the trusted brands of portable generators and the XP4400E Portable generator is one of the most purchased models from their generator lines. It can perfectly supply and fully power a small home.

This 7.0HP generator has a running output of 3500w and 4400w maximum output. It is gas-powered and can run up to 8 hours at 50% load with a 4-gallon gasoline supply. The tank is also all-steel and is equipped with an EZ-read gauge so you will up to date with your consumption and if you need to stock up on gasoline.

The power panel gives access to the engine shutoff switch, volt meter, circuit breaker, two (2) 120-Volt outlets and one (1) 120-Volt/240-Volt twist-lock outlet. The generator frame is built using heavy-duty steel with four-point fully isolated motor mounts and ultra quiet muffler which reduce engine noise and prevent clanking.

DuroMax XP4400E is not just a wise investment for your home, it is also easy to bring around with its front carry handle and wheel kit. It is also only 120 pounds and will be easy to load in your vehicle should you wish to use it to power your RVs or as a back=up power supply during campings.

​PROS

  • ​​Heavy-duty steel frame for smooth operation
  • ​​No installation required
  • ​​Durable frame

​CONS

  • ​High-price point
  • ​Operates louder than other portable generators

Bottom line:

This 4400w portable generator from Duromax will surely be a great addition to any home, job site and outdoor events. It promises smooth and quiet operation and it is built with high-quality materials to meet that. It is just a little pricey compared with other known brands with a similar output.

portable-natural-gas-generator

For those who love the outdoors, a recreational van is both a luxury and a privilege. And there is no better way to maximize the features of your van without occupying too much space than having a compact and portable generator that will never disappoint in terms of power. The Westinghouse WGen3600v is a mid-range portable generator perfect for tiny homes and RVs.

Keep your essential appliances running for up to 18 hours with just 4 gallons per full tank of the WGen3600v. With its 3600 running watts and 4650 peak watts, you will never feel the difference between direct electricity and the alternative power this generator offers.

It can liven up your outdoor adventure with its TT-30R 30A 120V outlet that instantly powers your RV or camper even without special adapters. The power panel has an ON and OFF switch, a 30A Circuit Breaker button, a 30A Circuit Breaker Button, a 120V AC 30A L5-30R Outlet and two (2) 120V AC 20A 5-20R Outlet. All outlets have rubber covers for your safety and protection. The 212cc Westinghouse 4-stroke OHV engine is housed in long last cast iron sleeve that will not rust or corrode. The engine will also automatically shut down in case it reaches its low oil limit.

The generator comes with oil, oil funnel, a tool kit, and a User’s Manual upon purchase. You are also backed by a 3-year limited warranty and a Nationwide Customer Service and Support Network.

​PROS

  • ​​RV-ready generator
  • ​​Heavy-duty steel frame for smooth operation
  • ​​No installation required
  • ​Durable frame
  • ​3-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​Manual recoil start

Bottom line:

The mere fact this is specially-designed to be RV-ready means there’s a demand for it and tiny homes would greatly appreciate the versatility and portability of this generator. The only downside is the manual recoil way to start it. It would be awesome if the manufacturer can adjust the price a bit to accommodate a push to start mechanism.

quiet-portable-generator

Starting a generator during cold months can be challenging and noisy. Imagine if you still have to power it on manually? Thanks to the technology and excellent features of the Champion 3500w Portable Generator, you can now say goodbye to the hard start. The 196cc Champion engine features an electric start with a 3-way ignition switch and a built-in Cold Start Technology.

This generator is also RV ready and appliances inside your van like a refrigerator and air conditioner will have continuous power with its 4000 starting watts and 3500 running watts. Have a worry-free overnight outdoor fun with its 12 hours run time with full 3.8-gallon tank gasoline. You can sleep soundly with its rated 68db noise level which is as quiet as a regular air conditioner.

Conveniently turn it on or off even when you are 80 feet away with a remote key fob. You may also start and stop it with a press of a button and when all electronic options don’t work, you can still use its manual recoil mechanism.

Monitor the voltage and get reminded of the maintenance schedules with the Intelligauge voltmeter and digital display. You can also avoid power surges that may damage your appliances with its built-in Volt Guard. Easily transfer your generator from your house, to your shed or to your RV with its wheel kit and comfortable carry handle. This generator is covered by the standard 3-year warranty and a free lifetime technical support from Champion.

​PROS

  • ​Wireless remote to power on
  • ​RV-ready
  • ​No installation required
  • ​Durable frame
  • ​3-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​High-price point versus generators with the same output

Bottom line:

This generator proves to be a reliable, convenient and durable option among the portable generators with a 3500w output. It is also RV-ready and wirelessly starts using a remote. The most bankable feature is the Cold Start Technology making it more appealing to those who love the great outdoors even during cold months. The only downside is that it is around 25% more expensive than its competitors. 

1800 Watts to 2200 Watts Portable Generators

small-portable-generator

You don’t have to spoil the fun in your camping because you will have to carry a big, bulky and heavy generator. If you are looking for a true blue definition of portability, Briggs & Stratton 30651 P2200 Portable Generator might be the perfect one for you. It is only 54.6lbs. and can be carried by a single person and more comfortably by two since handles are built side by side.

It can provide power to your household during emergency power outages caused by typhoons and other natural calamities for up to 8 hours at 25% load with just a 1-gallon tank of gasoline. Its 111cc OHV engine runs efficiently and quietly and it produces a 1700 running watts and 2200 starting watts.  It guarantees less than 3% total harmonic distortion which means there will be minimal to zero surges that may harm your laptops, personal computers, television and gaming consoles.

It has two (2) 120V Household Outlets, one (1) 12V-5A, DC Outlet with USB Adapter and one (1) Parallel Port all conveniently placed in one control panel. It starts using manual recoil mechanism, but you don’t have to worry about being bothered by noise because it operates at 57db or even quieter than your normal speaking voice.

It has a dedicated parallel connector port that lets you connect two units of Briggs & Stratton PowerSmart Series Generator and provide twice as much power for your household needs. This portable generator is covered by a 2-year warranty from the manufacturer.

​PROS

  • ​No installation required
  • ​Portable and easy to carry
  • ​Low noise
  • ​2-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​Manual recoil start
  • ​High-price point versus generators with the same output

Bottom line:

You will never go wrong with a smaller generator especially if you are most likely to use it outside than inside your home for your outdoor activities and job site needs. It is quiet, has protection against electrical surge and is durable. However, it may be small, but some buyers might find it significant in term of prices. It is priced as much as generators with 30% more power output.

Usually, portable generators with an output ranging from 1800w to 3600w as meant to run all the essential appliances at home. Meaning, it can supply electricity to your electric stove, refrigerator and can charge your mobile devices at the very least. Westinghouse WH220iXLT is a compact generator that can provide power to your home essentials for at least 13 hours on a 1.3-gallon gas tank.

This 43-lb. portable generator has an output of 1800 rated watts and 2200 peak watts. It works as quiet as your refrigerator and it is smart enough to give Low Oil and Overload alerts. Its control panel features two (2) 120V AC 20A 5-20R outlets, circuit breaker, low oil, overload and output ready indicator lights, circuit breaker, choke, a 12V outlet with cover and engine shut off. It can be started using manual recoil which is also located at the control panel. Expect fuel efficiency with the built-in Efficiency Mode for this portable generator.

You can bank on more power if you connect two Westinghouse WG2200iXLTs using a Westinghouse Inverter Parallel Cord with its parallel capability. Combining two WG2200iXLT means more savings and fuel efficiency because it provides twice as much power with only ¼ of the gasoline required for the same output from a single generator. This portable generator is backed by a 3-year warranty with a lifetime technical support from Westinghouse.

​PROS

  • ​​Can be connected to a similar generator for more power supply
  • ​​No installation required
  • ​​Portable and easy to carry
  • ​Low noise
  • ​3-year warranty

​CONS

  • ​Manual recoil start
  • ​High-price point versus generators with the same output

Bottom line:

This generator is compact but not lacking in features. It has an impressive control panel that features efficiency mode and light indicators for overload and low oil and this is something that the other generators don’t have. The parallel connectivity feature is also a practical fuel efficiency feature. It is however priced as much as bigger generators.

How to Find the Best Portable Generator for Your Need?

1. Identify your Power Requirement

Generators are most commonly used as electricity back-up. It is something that is meant to supply power to your most needed appliances. During winter, you might need a room heater and a water heater. If you have an infant, you will most likely need a refrigerator to keep baby essentials like breast milk fresh. With these in mind, it is necessary to identify the daily power requirement of these appliances and sum it all up to arrive at your power requirement. Check out this guide for your quick reference:

Appliance

Approximate Watts

​​Dishwasher

​​1200-1500

​​Refrigerator, 16 cu.ft.

​1200

​​Microwave

​​1000

​​Window Aircon, 1HP

​​1000

​​LCD TV

​​150

​CFL Bulb, 60W

​18

​​Room Heater

​​1500

​​Electric Water Heater

​​4500

​​Stand Fan

​​200-300

2. Manner of Usage

How do you intend to use your power generator? Will you use it during emergency power outages? Do you love hosting outdoor parties? Do you regularly go camping? Do you need power for your recreational vehicle? All of these can affect the way you will choose a generator. For example, not all generators are RV-ready. Likewise, not all at light enough to be brought during campings.

If you live in California, it is also vital to purchase a CARB compliant generator. CARB stands for California Air Resource Board, a regulatory body in the State of California that ensures and maintain healthy air quality by setting rules and regulations on emissions from motor vehicles, generators, lawn mowers, etc. You would have probably noticed that there are generators in the market that explicitly say “Not for sale in California.”

3. Type of Fuel and Fuel Efficiency

The two most common fuel types for portable generators are gasoline and propane or LPG. Most generators have only one source and that is gasoline, but lately, dual fuel generators are becoming the rising stars for power back-up. You can expect more extended running hours using gas-powered generators and propane is around 25% shorter in running time.

Having a dual fuel generator is like providing back-ups for a back-up power source although this type of generators is usually higher-priced.

4. Noise Level

This is also a huge factor to consider. How close is your nearest neighbor? If the distance is too tight, you can never get a generator that emits noise louder than an average person’s speaking voice which is 60db. Anything louder that will be as loud as a blender or a vacuum cleaner which can be annoying for most people. If you can choose one with the noise level between 30 to 55db, then you don’t have to spend on long cables just to keep your generator farther from where you and your neighbors might be disturbed by it.

5. Budget

With these reviews of the portable generators, you might probably saw the price differences. Sometimes, these generators have the same rated watts, but the other is twice the price. Check on the features that you really need and those that you can do without.

Factors that cause the price to spike up are a wireless/remote start, cold start technology and parallel capability. You may opt to get a higher priced one especially if the warranty coverage is longer and the features are better to make your life easier during power outages.

How to Prolong the Life of Your Portable Generator

1. Always Read the Operator’s Manual

This is the first rule of thumb. If you don’t read the manual before operating any machine or equipment, chances are you will likely not be able to resolve any problems that might arise immediately and will still resort to it later on. So it is a smart move actually to refer to it from the onset.

Your operators manual will provide all the do’s and don’ts on your generator. It will also show you common error codes and how to resolve each one. It is not just a troubleshooting guide, it is what you need to keep your generator in tip-top condition.

2. Store Your Generator in a Covered and Dry Place

It can be your garage or your shed, what’s important is that it is not accessible to children, it will not get wet and will not be exposed to direct sunlight. But it should be easily accessible to you when the need arises.

There are also types of generator storage:

3. Short-term Storage (Less than a month)

If you are using your generator this often, all you have to do is clean the unit especially around the frame and the control panel. And keep it in a dedicated area where you can immediately get it.

4. Long-term Storage (Between 2 to 3 months)

Storing your generator for a period of 2 to 3 months will require a more thorough storage preparation especially if your unit still has gasoline on its tank. You may either empty the tank by letting the generator turned on until its all used up or use a gasoline stabilizer that can keep your fuel fresh, longer.

5. Change Your Generator Oil Regularly

Just like a car’s engine, your generator’s engine needs periodic oil replacement. New generators are equipped with “low oil” indicators to alert users that it needs to be topped up. Some generators automatically shut off when oil reaches the minimum level.

It is advisable to check the oil level before every use of your generator, a dipstick is built-in on the oil tank and must always be refilled up to the full marker. Refer to the Operation Manual for the recommended type of oil for your generator.

6. Subject the Essential Parts to Regular Inspection

A periodic inspection on the vital parts of your generator will make sure that these faulty parts will not affect the total performance of your equipment. Among the components that usually wear off and need to be replaced over a period of time are the following:

  • Carburetor
  • Air filter
  • Fuel filter
  • Spark plug

It is the perfect portable generator for every household. It is not underpowered and it is not too much either. It can provide electricity even to the most energy-consuming appliances like the refrigerator and air conditioners. It can also offer an impressive running time of 16 hours, depending on the load. You will never have to worry when you run out of fuel as well since you can easily take your LPG tank out and hook your generator up and your appliances will be up and running again.

If you live in California, it might be helpful to know that this product is CARB compliant will not cause air pollution. The best feature of this dual fuel generator is “on the fly” fuel change or the capability to switch from one fuel source to another while the generator is running.

You can enjoy all of these features of less than a thousand dollars and have the buying confidence as it is covered by a 3-year Manufacturer’s Warranty and Lifetime Technical Support Nationwide. With Westinghouse WGen7500DF you will have access to back-up electricity, for your home and wherever you may need it.