Wind turbine systems will also contain the following electrical components:
- Turbine isolator switch – used in order to allow for the safe maintenance of the turbine. The turbine isolator is also used to prevent the turbine’s mechanics from failing in high winds.
- Circuit isolator – positioned between the various other components of the system in order to allow for safe maintenance of the wind turbine and the electrical system of your property.
- Control box – used to control all the main functions of the wind turbine, such as the braking system (used to prevent the blades from spinning and becoming damaged in storms). Many control boxes also have an LCD display which allows you to monitor the turbine’s current operation and performance.
- Cabling – used to connect the various parts of the wind turbine system. Cabling between the turbine and inverter isoften placed underground, except in the case of roof-mounted turbines.
- Generation meters – For Feed-in Tariff purposes, it is necessary to measure the rate at which the turbine system exports energy to the local electricity distribution network. The export meters must be MCS-certified in order for the system to be eligible for FiTs.
- Batteries (in the case of off-grid systems) – used to store the electricity generated.
Your installer should include all of these components in the initial installation quote, so there is usually no need to buy them yourself.
Wind Turbine Inverters
The inverter is a key component of any wind turbine system. Inverters are units which convert the direct current (DC) power produced by wind turbines into alternating current (AC) which can be used to power appliances in homes and business, or exported to the electricity grid.
The specifications – and therefore the cost – of the inverter will vary depending on the size and power output of the wind turbine system. Inverters for small roof-mounted turbines can cost just a few hundred pounds. For other domestic pole-mounted systems (of up to 5-6 kW), you can typically expect to pay around £1,000 for an inverter. Larger and higher quality inverters can cost significantly more. Some larger turbines, such as the 10kW Xzeres 442SR come with inverters included.
Wind turbine installation companies should include the cost of the inverter and all other components in the initial quote.
Inverters tend to have a shorter life expectancy than the wind turbines themselves: manufacturers typically offer parts and service warranties of between 5 and 10 years.
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