Saturday, October 6, 2012

The economics of installing residential wind turbine

Wind power is together with solar energy the most popular renewable energy source in the world and wind turbines are quickly becoming a very common option to deliver electricity for many households all over the world. Through this article I will mention the most important reasons that decide the economics of installing wind turbines in certain area.

Area where you live in should have the average wind speeds above 10 mph to get any significant output from wind turbine. The increase in wind speed increases the output from wind turbine, and the more power you produce from wind turbine the less power you will need from the local utility, so if you happen to achieve extra output you can always sell it to the local utility.

Also when people think about buying residential wind turbine they want to know how much money will they save. It is very hard to give an exact number of how much money will you save over time but you should know that installing wind turbine usually decreases your electricity bill by 50 to 90 percent. In order to calculate the exact amount of money you will save by installing residential wind turbine you should include factors like the price of wind turbine, the amount of electricity you use, the average wind speed at your site, the cost of electricity in your area, etc, so the money savings will vary from case to case.

The next stop is the size of wind turbine. What size do you need to satisfy the electricity needs of your household? The average household will use approximately 9,400 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which is about 780 kWh per month, so the wind turbine of lets say 15 kW should make significant contribution to your electricity needs.

Residential wind turbine, being relatively large device is not really the ideal solution for urban areas because it requires at least one acre of land, and there are also an 80 to 120-foot tower usually supplied along with the wind turbine that do not exactly fit in urban-like design.

Two basic factors behind the whole economics of installing a wind turbine are the average wind speed in your area, and the cost of electricity in your area. The commonly accepted rule is that in order to make your wind system economically viable you should have at least a 10 mph average wind speed and be paying at least 10 cents/kWh for electricity. The U.S. department of energy will provide you with data about the average wind speed in your area so you do not need to measure it yourself.

It is very difficult to determine the average price of a residential wind turbine, and the factor that mostly determines the price of wind turbine is its size. So expect wide range of prices from $6,000 to $22,000 for installed system.

Money savings should be coming within about six to 15 years, and since wind turbines are designed to last up to 20 years you will be for at least five years getting your electricity virtually free.

Self installing wind power systems can significantly decrease the total costs but in order to do so you need to have advanced technological skills.