Niall McMahon

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Starting in Small Wind


Some recommended reading. Updated 2022. Since this note was originally put together, the small wind industry suffered a major reversal and many companies no longer exist.

Begin with Paul Gipe's Wind Works. Paul Gipe, a respected wind worker, journalist and writer, has several good published titles. If you are looking for an introduction to small wind, his Wind Energy Basics will be a sound first investment. (Wind Works has been down for a while now, unfortunately. As of November 2022, Paul Gipe is in the process of rebuilding it.)

Hugh Piggott, of the self-build school of small wind, has been designing and making wind turbines on a Scottish peninsula since the 1970s. His practical advice is good and his workshops, held in many places, are useful and popular. You can find some of his writing at his website. His Windpower Workshop is also a book worth having.

Mick Sagrillo is another small wind veteran. You'll find numerous articles and interviews of his online. Of note, his notes about the importance of tower height for small wind turbines.

Correct siting, i.e. where there's enough wind, is key. It's not enough to believe that your site is windy, you need to know it.

Mick Sagrillo's published titles include Homebrew Wind Power: A Hands-on Guide to Harnessing the Wind.

You must understand the wind turbine; in a given wind, how much power will it actually produce? Is it safe? How much will it cost you to install it? Does it meet the international design standards for small wind turbines?

Respected small wind turbine manufacturers include(d), among others, Ampair (UK, now defunct), Proven (now SD Wind Energy) (UK/IRL), Bergey Windpower (USA), Southwest Windpower (USA, now Britwind), Evance Wind (UK) and Gaia Wind (UK, now Ryse Energy).

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