divide power into (3) categories, Hydro, Solar & Wind,
and Ill tell you how well, or not well, that they
work here, in North Idaho. Before we go any further, its
worth noting that with ALL power, the primary issue, in
terms of making that power, is how much do you make in
the middle of winter. Creeks freeze, the sun is lower
on the horizon, so its generally harder to make
power, when you need it most, in the middle of winter.
Its the same for any location in the northern hemisphere,
at a higher latitude, as we are in.
Hydroelectric Power is power you make through using flowing
water from a spring, creek or river.
While we have a lot of water here, there arent
a lot of places that will make reliable, legitimate hydro
Some do exist though, and here is what it takes; elevation
drop, and water flow. Generally, its REALLY hard
to get both at the same time.
If a creek is coming down a real steep hillside, whatever
water is behind/above it gets to empty out quickly, leaving
the creek to run dry sometime in early summer. If the
creek is on shallower ground, it may flow slower, and
longer, but it doesnt have a lot of drop in elevation.
As a rule, smaller properties have a much harder time
figuring out how to make any hydro work, the larger the
parcel, the better chance you have at making legitimate
hydro electric power. I dont think Ive seen
more than a couple of properties that are using it year
round, as once winter sets in higher in the mountains,
the spigot of water tends to shut off, just when you need
IF you can get some hydro, its the best thing in
the world, no question, runs 24/7, free power. NOT easy,
Solar Power works well in North Idaho, especially if
you buy Thin Film Panels. Ensure that you buy a LOT more
than you think youll need, as when the sun is real
low in the sky in December (when you need the power the
most) youll be happy for every watt you get. In
summer, youll overproduce, but thats fine.
If you think youll need 20 panels, buy 40, youll
be really happy you did.
Here is an article I wrote about our solar installation,
I did all of the work, excepting the hookups that required
a certified Electrician. (Link to Article on Solar Install)
In North Idaho, unless you are in the Palouse, near the
Washington Border, we really dont get that much
wind. For example, I have a 50 foot tower with a 3KW Jacobs
Wind Electric Windmill on it, and it makes a lot of power-when
it storms. If theres a good storm coming through,
my mill works great, but if the wind is getting up to
12 or 15 MPH, Ill make almost no power.
ALL Windmills work the same. They all have what is called
a power curve, this is a description of where
the power gets made. For example, a typical windmill will
have what is called a cut in speed, which
means that it will START making power at that speed, typically
12-14 MPH. Then, there is what is called the rated
speed which means that the mill will make its
Rated Power at, typically between 22 &
ALL of the real power in any windmill gets made at the
very top of the power curve.
So; lets say that your mill (rated at 25 MPH, for
full power) is getting 14 MPH of wind, its making
no real power.
the wind comes up to 20 MPH, its now making 23%
of its rated power.
Now, wind is doing 22 MPH, pretty close to its
.and its making 46% of its
rated power output.
At 25 MPH, its making 100% of its rated output.
Bottom line, you need strong, solid winds to make a windmill
pay for itself.
.wintertime/cold weather wind is MUCH
more effective at making power than warm winds in summer.
Colder air is denser air, provides more lift, spins the
blades faster, and better.
Buy a windmill if we find you a nice spot on a hilltop
or something with a south/southwesterly view, and expect
to make good power in winter, when its a good snowstorm,
and in spring, when its blustery outside. Our winds
here are primarily S/SW, not west or North.
Heres a link to
the install of our windmill, enjoy!
For any questions or for more information
please email firstname.lastname@example.org