What Does "1 KW Wind Turbine" Mean?

There are a number of wind turbines on the market that are rated as “1 KW,” but what does this mean when it comes to wind turbines? Well, first of all KW stands for kilowatt or one thousand watts. Watts are a measure of power or “energy output over time.” But what does “1 kilowatt wind turbine” mean? Does it mean that you will get 1 kilowatt of power all the time? No!

If the wind is not blowing, you will get zero power from any turbine, no matter what the kilowatt rating. The 1 kilowatt rating is based on a specific wind speed. Usually turbines are rated at a wind velocity where the conversion efficiency is highest. For instance, a turbine converts energy inefficiently at 8 miles per hour, but will be much more efficient at say 20 miles per hour. So, the kilowatt rating of a turbine usually corresponds to a wind speed of 20 miles per hour or more. These kind of wind numbers are higher than most operators will experience at their property.

For instance, there is a turbine called the Windspire that is rated as a 1 kilowatt wind turbine. If you read the specs on the turbine it says that it guarantees 1900 kilowatt hours of energy per year with an average wind speed of 12 miles per hour.

If you do the math, the turbine produces 5.2 kilowatt hours per day in an average 12 mile per hour wind. So, the turbine is not putting out 1 kilowatt at your 12 mile per hour expected average wind velocity. At 12 miles per hour, the turbine is only putting out about .22 kilowatts, or about a fifth of its rating of 1 kilowatt.

So, what does 1 KW Turbine mean? This means the turbine will put out 1 kilowatt of power at a specific wind velocity, usually greater than 20 miles per hour.

Mary J. Gibson

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