If you live in a windy area, consider how a small home wind turbine can convert that wind into electricity to power your home. This fantastic renewable addition to your energy needs is cost-effective and produces electricity without pollution.
The initial cost is a factor in adding a green energy source, but you will recoup the investment within a few years.
As you consider the merits of installing a small wind turbine, keep reading to learn how they work and how much traditional energy you can expect to replace with green energy.
Table of Contents
- How Does a Small Wind Turbine Convert Wind to Electricity?
- What Is the Average Cost of a Small Home Wind Turbine?
- Using a Small Wind Turbine as a Primary Power Source
- Requirements to Install a Small Wind Turbine
- Benefits of Installing a Small Wind Turbine
- What You Need For an Operational Small Turbine
- Conducting a Wind Assessment for a Small Wind Turbine
How Does a Small Wind Turbine Convert Wind to Electricity?
A small wind turbine is an upright structure with two to three blades that turn as the wind hits them, capturing the energy. The energy travels to an inverter, where it converts to mechanical power. This power operates a generator that produces power for a home.
A domestic turbine works the same way commercial wind turbines do, only on a smaller scale. A small wind turbine can create green energy to power your home by capturing the natural moving energy of wind.
Here’s how a small wind turbine works step-by-step:
- The turbine sits on top of a tall pole securely anchored in the ground
- The turbine’s blades spin in response to the wind
- The tail keeps the turbine in the correct wind path
- As the blades turn, the wind energy feeds into the generator
- The generator makes direct current (DC) electricity
- The attached inverter changes the DC energy into alternating current (AC) energy
- The AC energy feeds into the home to power various systems
What Is the Average Cost of a Small Home Wind Turbine?
The average cost of a small wind turbine ranges from $3,000-$5,500 for each kilowatt of power it produces, according to The American Wind Energy Association. Some factors that influence the cost are the height, the size of the system, and accessory equipment.
Knowing the average cost will help you choose the proper renewable energy selection by looking at home wind turbine options. Many homeowners want to generate their own green energy to reduce their dependence on traditional sources.
In general, the size of your small wind turbine directly correlates to the cost—the larger the size, the higher the price.
Using a Small Wind Turbine as a Primary Power Source
If you plan to use your turbine as your primary power supply, you can plan to spend up to $75,000 on installation. However, there are federal and state incentives to reduce the cost in some cases.
Small wind turbines will cost more per kilowatt than commercial turbines. For a fifty kilowatt unit, you can expect to pay approximately $50,000.
However, you can recoup that cost in electricity savings over time. The windier your location, the more energy your turbine will produce and the faster you regain the initial investment.
Requirements to Install a Small Wind Turbine
All energy projects require the proper permitting and zoning approval before installation.
Some considerations as you investigate whether a wind turbine suits your home and electricity needs include:
- Locate any wind energy municipal ordinances – this is the part of the project where you determine the proper placement of the turbine and obtain the permit if required.
- Locate a certified wind turbine installer who is a licensed electrician – when properly installed, a small wind turbine can last up to twenty years.
- Ensure annual maintenance – evaluate the turbine for corrosion on the wires, tightness of bolts, and secure electrical connections. Replace missing or worn leading edge tape on the turbine blades, check the bearings, and replace any worn blades.
Benefits of Installing a Small Wind Turbine
The benefits of home wind turbines are clear. They are an excellent choice when you care about using green energy over fossil fuel energy. Once you’ve made the initial investment in the turbine, the energy it makes is free.
Consider the following benefits:
- A small wind turbine can reduce your electricity bill by as much as fifty percent
- The additional electricity can sustain you through a power outage
- The energy is completely clean and renewable
- Wind turbines reduce your dependence on municipal energy sources
- You’ll never worry about diminished supply since the wind will always be here
What You Need For an Operational Small Turbine
While it would be nice to think that every home could have a small wind turbine, some key factors must be present for it to produce electricity. The US Department of Energy has a checklist to evaluate whether your home location is suitable.
Here are some of the prerequisites for installing a successful small home wind turbine, including:
- A consistent wind around where you live – the best places for wind are around mountains, fields or plains, and near the coastline.
- Your home location allows for tall structures in your yard – while you can purchase a small home wind turbine that stands nine feet tall, the average wind turbine is sixty feet (18 m) tall with over twenty-two-foot (6.7 m) blades.
- An average wind speed of 9-10 mph to produce electricity – one apparent problem with a small wind turbine is there must be no obstructions within one acre to hinder the wind (think tall trees and thick forestations).
- You must be able to connect with your electric company – the electricity provider must work with you to supplement the electricity you need once you have used the energy produced from the wind turbine.
- Knowledge of your household’s annual electricity usage – the average home uses almost 10,000 kW of electricity per year. A wind speed of fourteen miles (22 km) per hour might produce six hundred kilowatts of electricity annually, which can supplement the energy but not replace your primary source.
Conducting a Wind Assessment for a Small Wind Turbine
To determine if a small turbine suits you, you must conduct a wind assessment because wind speeds can vary significantly in an area as small as one mile (1.61 km).
One way to evaluate your home’s location for a small wind turbine is to consult the Department of Energy’s wind resource map. This resource is broken down by state to show the wind patterns in each area of the state.
A small home wind turbine installer is another resource to learn whether your location is adequate for a turbine. The installer will assess multiple components to determine suitability.
Here is what they consider for wind patterns:
- Existing small home wind turbines in the area
- Airport wind speeds to provide wind data
- Temporary installation of a home wind speed measurement system
- Vegetation assessments to show wind damage and patterns
Many homeowners are looking to replace some or all of their energy usage with renewable energy. Wind power is one of the most inexpensive sources, making a small wind turbine an ideal choice for reducing the reliance on fossil fuel energy.
If the wind patterns in your area allow for installing a small turbine, you can have an ongoing green energy source.