Becoming environmentally friendly has never been a bigger issue, as climate change worsens and we continue to find animal species extinct. You may already be doing your part by recycling or cutting down the use of plastic, but there is more you can do to ensure your home is as green as possible. Many US citizens are choosing to install small wind turbines to create greener power for their homes.
A small wind turbine is like a small generator, using the energy created by the wind to provide emission-free, clean power for small businesses, farms and homes. This isn’t just good for the environment; it can also cut down the cost of energy bills. Even if your home only spans one acre of land, a small turbine may still be suitable. If you are looking to wind power your home, here is everything you need to know.
Below we look at some of the most common questions asked about installing a wind turbine on your land.
Are Batteries Needed?
You can purchase two different types of wind turbine. One is known as on-grid, which as stated in the name, is connected to the power grid. This means if the wind blows enough, power is used from the turbine. If there is no wind, electricity is sourced from the grid. The second option is off-grid, which uses a battery or generator to remain active. Some of the smaller wind turbines use photovoltaic technology
How Do I Determine Wind Strength?
Determining the wind strength in your area is done by taking wind measurements. You don’t need to know how to do this, though, as an experienced manufacturer will be able to determine if your land is suitable for a wind turbine through inspection. If you are unsure, speak to a manufacturer regarding wind measurements. You can check online for a general idea of wind speed in your are
How Do I Maintain My Turbine?
Wind turbines should last 20 years+ with good maintenance. Your turbine should be inspected annually, and this is usually done by the manufacturer or installer of the turbine. Physical inspections are needed to ensure your turbine is working as it should and is efficient as possible. Some wind turbines can be connected to an application on your computer, where you can monitor the health and efficiency of your turbine and notice any subtle changes which may indicate a problem with it.
What is Rated Capacity and How Does This Compare to Real Performance?
All wind turbines will have a rated capacity, so you can have a rough idea of how much energy is generated in a year, if the average winds are at a given speed. Real performance will depend on the wind speed in your area and the size of the turbine. We have generated some questions further down the page which can guide you when asking how a manufacturer has formed its rated capacity. If this has been done with real-life testing, its real performance should match closely with its rated capacity.
How Much Does a Small Wind Turbine Cost?
This depends on the manufacturer, size of home, height and any other installation expenses that may need to be accounted for. On average, it costs $30,000 to install a wind turbine that can power a home, but this price could dip or fall. Luckily, the government offers tax incentives and other financial opportunities for those looking to save money on installing a wind turbine; these can be found further down the page.
What Type of Land and Wind Are Needed?
Most turbine manufacturers will recommend areas where wind speed is at a minimum of 12mph. There are zoning restrictions on certain states and lands, so check this out on your local government website before application. The wind needs to be unobstructed, meaning built-up urban areas may not be sufficient for wind turbine usage, even if wind speed is suitable. If you’re unsure on whether your area is suitable, speak to a manufacturer who will be able to provide you with more information or come out and inspect your home.
How Tall Is A Wind Turbine?
Wind turbines differ in height, but the average small wind turbine sits at 80 feet.
What If There Is No Wind?
If your wind turbine is connected to the grid, electricity will continue to be provided to the house via the grid, meaning you don’t need to do anything. If any electricity is created in this time by the turbine, it will be sent back into the grid and used by nearby houses. If your turbine is off-grid, it will often be powered by solar panels too for more consistent power if the wind stops.
How Long Until I Make My Money Back?
Of course, wind turbines are a long-term investment and the time taken to get your money back will depend on turbine size, wind speed and how much electricity you use. Wind turbine owners can look at making their money back anywhere between 6-30 years.
What Size Turbine Do I Need?
If you are powering your home, a small wind turbine should give you enough power to meet the needs of your family. The size depends on a few things, such as energy use, wind speed and where the turbine will be placed. Turbines work best when they are higher from the ground. For a home, the average turbine will need to generate between 2-10 kW, which can span anywhere between 12-25 foot in diameter.
If you want to install a small window turbine, there are a few basic steps to follow:
- Consider the weather in your chosen area and whether you get enough wind for a small wind turbine to be economical and worthwhile.
- Check the electricity usage of your home or business.
- Look at your local government website to see the zoning laws for small wind turbine installations to determine if you can install one on your land.
- Once you have all the above information, you can choose a wind turbine that suits the electricity needs of your home. Be sure to purchase a certified small wind turbine
What to Ask a Wind Turbine Manufacturer
If you want the best wind turbine for your land, there are a few great questions you should put forward to any manufacturer. As you are investing in this clean energy, you want the best wind turbine possible for the best price. Below we have compiled a few questions to ask your wind turbine manufacturer before making a decision.
Grants and Incentives
The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) offers some tax incentives for wind turbine projects across the US. If you are a small business, such as a farm, or work from home, you may be eligible for the PTC (Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit) or ITC (Business Energy Investment Tax Credit). The PTC is related to how much energy is made via your wind turbine over a decade. The ITC is related to the total cost of the turbine. This is for any business owners looking to begin construction before the end of December 2020 and may be subject to change after this date.
For those who don’t own a business and are looking to improve their home, all residential taxpayers are eligible for the federal residential renewable energy ITC. This depends on the size of the turbine and when construction is set to begin. Funding a wind turbine project is possible but it can depend on what the government and other federal agencies are offering at the time. For the most up-to-date information and opportunities, check out the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy factsheet.