You likely know all about using solar power for RVs, but wind turbine generators might not be a familiar concept.
Creating energy using windmills certainly isn’t a new idea. But when it comes to using them for your rig, it might seem unthinkable.
Join us as we spin around the ins and outs of wind turbine generators to discover if they can be right for you.
What Are Wind Turbine Generators?
When you think of wind turbine generators, you might envision a giant windmill. It’s a common sight along many highways these days. When you see a hilltop full of them, it’s almost mesmerizing.
Now imagine one of those structures, only much smaller. You can install these micro windmills on the top of your RV to create electricity.
While wind turbine generators aren’t as popular as solar panels, they do provide an alternative form of power. If you enjoy boondocking, this is especially important. The more ways you can generate electricity without plugging into an outlet, the better!
However, you’ll want to consider a few things before making the jump to using wind power for your rig.
Can You Power Your RV With a Wind Turbine Generator?
If you have a small RV with low power needs, it’s possible a wind turbine generator could work for you. One thing you’ll want to have in combination with these generators is a battery bank to store the energy produced. That way, you’ll be able to use electricity when you need it, not just when the blades are spinning.
Overall, these units produce a small amount of power. For example, 11-mile-per-hour winds will generate about 40 watts. That’s enough to charge your phone and laptop and have a few LED lights on.
Of course, the windier your surroundings are, the more energy the turbines will create. Some better-quality generators can produce around 500 Watts of energy throughout the day. That’s enough to power most of your onboard electronics, including a TV, small fridge, and laptop.
And unlike solar power, wind turbine generators can fill your battery bank on windy nights. But we think these units have a ways to go before they can compete with the traditional alternative energy producers.
Speaking of wind: How to Park Your RV in Heavy Winds
The Disadvantages of Wind Turbine Generators
We discovered a few reasons why wind turbine generators might not be the answer to all your RV power needs. They’re still helpful energy creators but with some limitations.
Unless you camp in locations with consistent wind speeds of 20 miles per hour or more, these units may fall short of meeting your needs. However, if you travel in a small motorhome or van, they might be sufficient to power everything on board.
Another complaint about these mobile wind turbines is the noise and vibration they create. Some models are loud enough for nearby neighbors to hear. No one wants to camp within earshot of a rig with loud accessories, especially at night!
Many RV owners with solar panels have them installed permanently on the roof. Doing so allows you the freedom to pack up and travel with them securely in place. But with wind turbine generators, there’s no way of safely driving with them on top of your rig. So you’ll be setting them up and breaking them down every time you move.
And lastly, if you don’t have a charge controller or monitoring system, it’s possible to overcharge the house batteries. These devices act as safety mechanisms to keep the wind turbine generators from trying to overstuff the battery bank.
Can You Use Solar Panels Along With Wind Turbine Generators?
Yes, you can use them together. However, not all wind turbine generators can successfully pair with solar power systems. As with most other accessories for your rig, do your research so you don’t waste money.
Pre-assembled hybrid kits offer an easy-to-install system combining wind turbines and solar panels. But if you’re already using the sun to generate energy, make sure you get a compatible wind power generator. We’ll go into more detail about finding the right unit below.
Not sure what you need? Get Accurate RV Solar Power Calculations With This Tool.
How To Choose a Wind Turbine Generator for Your RV
You have a few things to consider when getting a wind turbine generator for your rig. First, figure out how you’ll mount it to your roof. You don’t want to invest money into something you can’t safely place on your RV.
And since you can’t permanently install the unit, you’ll want a lightweight generator. Imagine lugging a piece of heavy equipment up and down the ladder. Sounds unsafe and not very practical. Models weighing 20 pounds or less are easier to move around, so keep that in mind when making your decision.
Next, look for a wind turbine generator that produces at least 400 Watts. This’ll give you adequate power for most of your basic electricity needs.
Also, models that can begin generating energy when wind speeds are five miles per hour or less are ideal. If the turbines don’t spin in lower gusts, you won’t have much power to use throughout the day.
Best Wind Turbine Generators for Your RV
So, you’re ready to drop some cash on a wind turbine generator for your rig. Now it’s time to figure out which one will be ideal for your living situation. We did some legwork for you to find three of the best models on the market.
Nature’s Generator Gold WE System
This 1800-Watt generator system comes with a wind turbine and one 100-Watt solar panel. The hybrid functionality allows you to charge the unit from two alternative energy sources. And if you need to, you can also plug the unit into a standard AC power outlet. You might appreciate this feature on a cloudy, windless day when camping.
The Nature’s Generator Gold system has three 120-Volt AC plugs, two USB ports, and one 12-Volt DC outlet. This unit costs around $1,500 and offers a one-year standard warranty.
Price check: Nature’s Generator Gold WE System
Rutland 1200 Wind Turbine With Hybrid MPPT Charge Controller
The Rutland 1200 Wind Turbine Generator has a 500-Watt rating and is very quiet when operating. It has a low wind speed start-up, so you can create power on most days. And the hybrid charge controller also allows you to add a solar panel to generate additional energy.
With a weight of 17 pounds, it’s easy enough for most people to carry up and down a ladder. And the company offers various mounting options so you can pick the one that’s right for your situation. The price for this model runs about $1,900.
Price check: Rutland 1200 Wind Turbine
Dyna Living 500 Watt
If you thought all wind turbine generators were out of your price range, we bring you the Dyna Living model. You won’t have to break the bank with a cost of under $200 for this unit.
This 500-Watt generator comes with a charge controller and is also easy to install. It begins creating energy at low wind speeds and can withstand up to 111-mile-per-hour gusts.
It’s nice to know you don’t have to spend a fortune trying out a new energy generation method. This might be the right model for you if you have a van or small camper.
Price check: Dyna Living 500 Watt
Are Wind Turbine Generators Worth It?
We think wind turbine generators still need some work before being a solid form of alternative energy for your RV. However, they could be perfect if you don’t consume large amounts of electricity and enjoy off-grid camping.
They can’t really compare to solar panels in terms of overall power generation, but we have high hopes for them. Future models could easily include better features to make them more efficient. We’ll just have to wait to see which way the winds blow!
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