You Can Power Your Home With Wind, but Is It Worth It?
Everything seems to be more expensive these days, and one of the most troubling bills to hit your bank account is home energy costs. From gas to electricity, the cost of keeping our lives lit, warm, and connected isn’t going to drop anytime soon, so it’s no surprise that people are increasingly turning to renewable energy to overcome budget shortfalls (and, by the way, to make the world a little more sustainable).
The most obvious choice for your home is solar, in part because there are many government programs offering tax credits and a growing number of contractors offering installation. But not every roof is perfect for solar power, and not everyone likes the idea of screwing huge panels onto their roof, making repairs more difficult and more likely to leak. If that’s you, there’s another option: wind power.
You have probably seen images of huge fields of wind turbines standing in the middle of nowhere, peacefully rotating and generating electricity. If you don’t really like solar energy – or you need a rainy day option to keep the juices flowing when the sun isn’t shining – you could theoretically install a wind power system in your home. May be. Here’s an overview of what to consider.
How to know if wind power can work for you
Before you get too excited about this option for providing that sweet free electricity, consider whether you can actually install a turbine on your property. Some considerations include:
- Location. Wind turbines for home use don’t have to be the tall monsters you see in the middle of nowhere, but they require some serious space. Generally speaking, your wind turbine should be at least 30 feet taller than any nearby structures (including your home) or geographic features within 300 feet of its location because these structures will interfere with the wind. You will also need to choose a wind-friendly location, so you will need to survey your property to determine if you have a suitable location for one of these, keeping in mind that smaller turbines can also be installed on your roof.
- Zoning and permits. The next thing to do is to contact your local government and/or homeowners association (HOA) to see if you are allowed to install a wind turbine or if you need to go through a permit process. Turbines can be noisy and people often make aesthetic claims about them, so it’s worth checking out.
- Wind speeds. It may seem obvious that wind speed in your home is critical, but it’s more complicated than you might think. All wind turbines have a so -called turn-on speed, which is the minimum wind speed that will generate power through the turbine. Typically these speeds are 6 to 9 miles per hour (mph) , which isn’t exactly hurricane force, but if you don’t usually get a consistent wind speed, at least that, you won’t get much return. Your turbine investment. There is also the rated speed of the turbine at which the turbine produces maximum power – if your winds rarely reach this strength, your turbine will run, but you will not get maximum power. Wind turbines also have a ” shutdown ” speed to protect them during storms – as soon as the wind exceeds the maximum allowable level, the turbine will shut down.
- Power needs. To figure out how much initial investment your wind farm will require, you first need to know how much power you need from it. If your goal is to power your entire home, you need to know how much power it takes. On average , American homes use about 886 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month , which is 886,000 watts. That’s a lot of watts, given that many small home wind turbines are rated at 3,000 watts or less, meaning you may need to install multiple turbines to meet your electricity needs.
- Birds. Yes, wind turbines kill a lot of birds (including bats) every year . Painting the blades black can help, but if your area has a lot of birds, be prepared to spend some time picking up dead birds and consider if you want to be responsible for the carnage.
Okay, you’ve done your research and you know you can install a wind turbine on your property. Another question to be answered is: should you?
Is it worth it to install a wind turbine?
Whether installing a wind turbine is the smart move for you depends on what you need to get out of it and whether you can achieve those goals. If you have the ability and space to install a turbine (or more), consider that the average cost to install a wind turbine that meets a home’s electricity needs is around $12,000 after government incentives , and the return on investment (ROI) for that installations can be as long as 15 years .
Even if you manage the installation, if the wind speed rarely exceeds the average turn-on speed of 6-9 mph, you will never generate any power, and if the wind speed does not reach the rated speed of the turbine, you will win. also not getting the most out of them, which will adjust your ROI calculations and how much power you can expect to generate from your turbines. The US government maintains a nationwide wind speed database , which may be useful, but is not exhaustive. You can also purchase a wind meter and take measurements over several weeks or months to get an idea of what wind speeds you can expect.
So what’s the point? A wind turbine (or several) might be a good idea if you want to supplement your home’s power supply or want a good backup power source for emergencies, or if you intend to stay on site for the foreseeable future so you can earn a return on your investment . Wind turbines are not the best choice to rely on completely (unless you are experiencing high winds on your property), and if you are planning to sell your property in the future, studies have shown that turbines have absolutely no effect on the value of your property. – so you don’t get more money for your house just because you have turbines pumping it with juice. This means that the only ROI you will get is savings on energy costs in the long run, which is a complex calculation.