Residential Wind Turbines Guide
Small wind energy is non-polluting, renewable, and can save money under the right circumstances. The most important factor is not necessarily living in an area that is windy. However, if you would like to produce electricity yourself and go off-grid, you should consider getting a home wind turbine installed, even if you aren’t in a noticeably windy location.
The best situation for wind turbines are on rural properties that are at least one acre. That is what the Guide to Small Electric Systems from the U.S. Department of Energy recommends. It helps to live in a rural area, because you will most likely run into problems with local homeowners associations and zoning regulations if you live within a residential neighborhood. In addition, it is more likely that you will locate high average wind speeds within wide open spaces that are not near windbreaks like trees and buildings. If you live far outside of city limits it is more likely that the conditions will be right for having home wind power.
Renewable energy experts frequently recommend having hybrid solar and wind energy systems installed for off-grid living. Solar and wind energy have a tendency to be most available during various times. Therefore, your system will be much more dependable and reliable. For individuals using both, your lifestyle can still be maintained even after the sun has gone down.
If you are just interested in being able to produce residential wind power on your own, it can make a great deal of sense to have a grid-connected system. Whenever more power is produced by your wind turbine than your house needs, the power will go into the local utility grid. Whenever you need more power than the amount you are generating, you can draw power on the grid’s power. They are less expensive as well, since if you aren’t responsible for generating all of your electricity, it will allow you to install a less expensive, smaller system. Finally, if you produce more electricity than you use on a consistent basis, the utility company might give you cash back.
How this works exactly with your utility company will depend on what your state regulations are. A majority of U.S. states use net metering regulations. These help to make grid connections a great deal for homeowners. Basically, when you are using electricity from your utility company, the meter runs forward, but it runs backward when you add excess electricity to the grid.
The total costs for installing a wind turbine can run from $10,000 to $50,000, and varies depending on the system. However, your actual out-of-pocket expenses will be much less than half of this due to federal and local tax credits, utility rebates and incentives. The American Wind Energy Association provides a broad range of various home wind turbine payback periods – ranging from 6 to 30 years. Your savings are going to depend on several different factors. Individual renewable energy incentives are among the easiest factors that can be calculated. Small wind turbines in the United States qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit currently. It is scheduled to last through the year 2016.Our energy efficient financing information page is an excellent place to start.
Another one of the key factors in calculating how fast your wind turbine can pay for itself is to determine how gusty your property really is. The wind guide from the Department of Energy recommends an average minimum wind speed of 10 mph for having a grid-connected turbine installed. Rough information on local wind conditions can be fond by checking out wind resource maps, like those that are provided by Wind Powering American, or you can get average wind speed data from a nearby airport.
Additional Information Homeowners Need To Know
If you are considering wind energy, what other information do you need to know? If you are considering using wind turbines, it is important that they be used safely. You also need for them to be capable of producing lots of electricity.
When it comes to small wind turbines, the following is a short list of things that are important to know.
Tower Height. You really do need to have a tall tower. So you will need to have no restrictions and space, since height substantially increases average wind speeds. For a residential-sized small turbine, it should be 80-100 feet tall at least. You may see some wind turbines that are mounted on short towers. They might produce some electricity, but most likely not enough for your needs. You will need to be able to generate enough power in order for the financial aspects of wind to work out.
Roof Mounting. A wind turbine should never be placed on the roof. That issue comes up frequently, since the tower is one of the major expenses of the turbine, and people are searching for ways of saving some money. If you’d like your wind turbine to be productive, it needs to be high over the roof line in order to generate enough electricity. You would have to have a tall tower installed on your roof , which isn’t the safest place for installing large machinery. It is not economical, unwise and unsafe. You would be a lot better off to select an alternative energy efficiency method.
Certification. Avoid getting seduced by any new wind turbine designs that may sound amazing but don’t have any test data backing them up. Instead search for an established manufacturer that has a proven track record along with certified test results showing the amount of electricity it can produce.
Safety. Whether you are installing a wind turbine on your own or hiring a certified installer to do the job, you need to ensure that your turbine can be operated and serviced safely. That means it must be possible for the tower to be lowered to the ground safely. You should consider getting a tilt-down tower instead of one requiring you to work on a wind turbine that is 100 feet up in the air.
Insurance. Make sure that you get insurance. For liability insurance, there isn’t anything special that you need to do- it should be another items that you listed on a homeowners insurance policy. Your wind turbine also needs to be insured against damages, since extreme weather conditions have become increasingly common with climate change. That is why it is so critical to have good insurance.