With energy prices spiraling out of control, it’s more relevant than ever to consider the possibility of generating your own electricity.
When it comes to home-generated renewable energy sources, solar power seems to get all the attention. However, have you ever considered installing a wind turbine at home?
Home wind turbines are a great way to take advantage of a natural resource and reduce your carbon footprint.
But how much does a home wind turbine cost? And are there any drawbacks to owning one?
The installed cost of a small wind turbine can be anywhere between $300 and $75,000!
With such a huge variance in price, how do you know which one to choose, and is it worth the investment?
In this article, I’ll explain the reasons behind the difference in price of wind turbines, and answer all your questions about them!
A wind turbine is a device that converts the kinetic energy of the wind into electrical energy.
Wind farms made up of larger wind turbines are providing an increasing share of our global energy supply, and you can now buy small wind turbines to generate electricity for your home.
Most wind turbines have three blades that rotate around a horizontal axis. The rotating blades turn a generator, which produces electricity.
The amount of electricity that a wind turbine can generate depends on numerous factors, including:
Wind turbines can be used to power your entire home or just offset a portion of your electric bill.
There are two main types of home wind turbines:
There are two main costs associated with owning a wind turbine:
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimates the upfront cost of a wind turbine to range between $2,000 and $5,000 per kilowatt of power capacity.
So, assuming that you want the turbine to supply 100% of your electricity, you might need a 15 kW turbine (depending on your house size and energy consumption), which would cost approximately between $30,000 and $75,000.
The ongoing cost of maintenance is relatively low, averaging around $200-$300 per year.
In terms of return on investment, wind turbines typically take between five and 15 years to pay for themselves. You can shorten this timeframe if you live in an area with high wind speeds and/or receive government incentives for installing a renewable energy system.
The first step in choosing a suitable wind turbine is calculating your energy usage. This will give you a good idea of how much power you need to generate and what size turbine you should look to buy.
To calculate your energy usage, simply add up all the kWh (kilowatt-hours) from each appliance and device in your home. You can find this information on the appliance’s energy label or in the owner’s manual.
Alternatively, go back through your old energy bills to get a good grip on past usage.
Your capacity factor measures how much wind energy you can realistically expect to generate at your location.
To calculate your capacity factor, you need to know the average wind speed in your area. Once you have that information, simply plug it into this formula:
Capacity Factor = (Average Wind Speed) / (Rated Wind Speed)
Alternatively, you can use the U.S. average capacity factor of 17%, as per the Department of Energy’s 2018 stats.
Using this average of 17%, you can calculate an estimate of your annual electricity production using this formula:
Kilowatt-hours per year = 8,760 (number of hours per year) x power rating (kW) x capacity factor
So, a 15 kW turbine will produce roughly 22,338 kWh per year, for example (8,760 x 15 x 0.17).
There are two things to keep in mind when deciding on the perfect location for your wind turbine, and these are wind and distance:
The installation process for wind turbines can vary, depending on the size and type of turbine you choose.
Smaller, lighter turbines can be installed by a qualified electrician or skilled DIYer, while larger ones will require a professional team.
As a general rule of thumb, you should expect to pay between $500 and $2,000 for installation.
Also, before forking out for a new wind turbine and installation, it’s a good idea to check with your local planner that you don’t need any special federal permissions. You usually don’t, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check.
As with any mechanical system, wind turbines require regular maintenance to ensure they continue running smoothly.
The good news is that the homeowner can do the vast majority of this maintenance, such as:
Of course, more complicated repairs should always be left to a professional. Electricity is not to be messed with by the unqualified!
I’ve mainly concentrated this article on a wind turbine large enough to power an entire house.
However, there are other types of home wind turbine systems, including:
Most wind turbines require wind speeds of around five mph to turn.
Most home turbines can operate in wind speeds of up to 35 mph.
This depends on various factors. However, my research would suggest that most home turbines are expected to last around 20 years, and the battery stores for around 10 years.
Geared turbines are usually less expensive and more reliable than direct-drive units.
According to USA Today, farmers can earn between $3,000 and $7,000 per turbine.
This depends on the size of the turbine. See the ’Calculate Your Capacity Factor’ section above for more details.
Now that you know all about home turbines, you can decide if this renewable energy source is right for you.
If you’re interested in saving money on your electric bill and doing your part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a home turbine may be the perfect solution.
Just be sure to research and compare different models and wind turbine manufacturers before purchasing.
Do you already have a small wind turbine on your roof? Or maybe even a large tower residential wind turbine system in your yard?
Are you happy with the wind turbine power savings? Drop me a line and let me know.