Thursday, June 19, 2008

Is Wind Power Within Your Budget?

What would it cost me to add wind power and live off the grid... or close to it?

I know there are people using a combination of personal wind turbines and solar panels to power their house. What would it take (money wise) to set someone up with a wind turbine?

So this is what I learned in my search one evening.

There are some things to take into consideration before installing a windturbine in your back yard or on the roof of your house.

First you need to be in a location that catches a decent amount of wind throughout the year. If you are in a valley surrounded by hills and/or mountains you probably would not benefit from installing a wind turbine. You can also get help from https://www.windpowermaps.org to see what the wind energy potential is in your area.

Second, you need to see if this is even possible in the town you live in. If you live in a busy suburb with zoning laws in place, you probably would not be allowed to install any kind of wind turbine. (Even if you have several acres). You still have to check with local town for ordinances regarding the installation of a tower and a possible noisy windmill.
I would think that you may also want to let your neighbors know. As they could help or hinder your project. Companies that sell residential turbines do know this and have information on how to go about making the plans and present them to the local zoning board.

So now you are in a location with plenty of wind and have proper permits from the zoning board to start your wind powered electric generator.

Per the American Wind Energy Association, residential or small wind turbines produce up to 100 kilowatts of power. Anything over 100 kilowatts gets into commercial applications.
From what I have found, windpower can cost upward of $1400 depending on which brand and how much power you are trying to pull from the system. This may and may not include the tower and other accessories you need to install it.
One helpful site in my search was: https://www.awea.org/smallwind - this is the American Wind Energy Association web site.

The companies I chose to list I found very interesting in that they sell very new technology wind turbine systems for the home owner. I do not promote them specifically.

HelixWind Turbine sells complete systems starting about $8600. http://www.helixwind.com/en/
They claim to use a blade that makes less noise and is not as invasive as traditional wind turbines.

E2D WindMaster on: http://www.freetricity.com sells systems from $1400 and up. They claim to have the only wind turbine in the U.S. that is homeowner association friendly.

Another company I want to mention is PACWIND. They sell Vertical axis wind turbines which they claim are "completely silent" and "completely stable". I could not find any pricing on their site: http://www.pacwind.net/index.html

Overall the cost is a little more than I would pay on my budget. The payback period ranges anywhere from 3 to 10 years, depending on your monthly electric costs. Of course as energy costs rise the payback period gets reduced.

I expected to find very expensive units out there. With that I mean $10,000 and up. I guess there ARE wind turbines for a wide range of budgets.

So are there cheaper wind turbines out there?
Well I did find some out there for under $140????
Check out my next post for more on this find.

3 comments:

  1. In some areas with the average wind speed of about 10 mph and gust up to 30 mph could a 2kW residential wind tubine make as much energy as a 10kW but cheaper? If the 2kW had the same size propeller as the 10kW and the gear ratio of 5 times greater then that of the 10Kw. Would this 2kW system work and if so how much saving would there be?

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  2. That is an interesting theory and one that should work, but I would have to leave that to the experts out there. New technology these days allows manufacturers to get a wider range of wattage and efficiencies out of their turbines. Of course the savings would still depend on how much you end up spending on the system and how much you currently pay for your electricity.

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  3. I'd be careful about this company, the claims they make about their product are not supported by any independent testing and they seem to have many dissatisfied customers.

    http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?t=43994

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