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Wind-powered battery-charging systems can be cost-effective if the average wind speed is nine miles per hour or more at the location of the wind generator. If you are using wind in combination with photovoltaic power, it may be cost-effective if good wind is available only during part of the year. When the wind speed doubles, the power delivered is eight times as great. Most wind generators are designed to deliver maximum power at a wind speed of 30 mph. At 15 mph, they will deliver about 1/8 their rated power. A wind generator should be mounted at least 20 feet higher than any obstruction within 300 feet to avoid turbulence. The power output of a wind generator will decrease roughly 3% for every 1000 feet of elevation. If you measure wind speed at ground level, you can expect about 1.5 times the wind speed 30 feet up, which equates to about three times the power. At 120 feet above the ground, wind speed will be twice what is measured at ground level and power output will be more than twice the output at 30 feet, and about 6 times the output at ground level.

Measuring Wind Speed

If you do not have a wind gauge, you can get a rough idea of wind speed from the table below.

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