Basics: Configurations

Wind turbines are built in two different configurations with either a horizontal or vertical axis.

Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine (HAWT)

The most common horizontal axis wind turbine design is configured with 3 blades fixed to rotor on a horizontal axis assembly which itself rotates about a vertical yaw axis on the turbine tower.  Tower recommendations for micro turbines are typically a minimum height of 30 feet, where higher is better, with no obstructions within 300 feet of the tower for laminar air flow.

     

Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT)

There are many different vertical axis wind turbine designs including the Darrieus, Gyromill and Gorlov turbines.  Attractive features include a more simple design and the ability to take wind from any direction.  In spite of a substantial amount of research, vertical axis wind turbines have failed to become widely accepted.  They are hard to start, hard to stop and have lower efficiency than horizontal axis turbines.