Depending on your property type and location, residential wind turbines may be a viable option to help you reduce both your carbon footprint and your energy bills. In this article we take a look at the various aspects surrounding the use of wind turbines in a domestic setting.
How do they work?
Residential wind turbines work in exactly the same way as much larger turbines, only they generate significantly less power. As the wind blows, the blades of a wind turbine will start to spin which in turn will start to rotate a generator within the turbine to produce electricity.
This electricity can then be fed into a home’s electricity supply, stored in batteries for later use or even be fed into the grid if this is an option in your area.
For more information on this subject, please take a look at our in-depth article on how wind turbines work.
The benefits of domestic wind turbines
Domestic wind turbines have numerous benefits, some of which are explained below:
- Reduce Your Energy Bills – Generating your own electricity from the wind means you can feed this into your home’s electricity supply, helping to reduce the amount of energy you consume from your supplier and thus helping to reduce your bills.
- Reduce Your Carbon Footprint – For those who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint, the installation of a residential wind turbine can be an effective way to accomplish this as it uses renewable wind energy to help power your home.
- Get Paid For Excess Electricity – In some countries there are schemes where you can connect your domestic renewable energy system to the grid so that you can sell any of the excess electricity that you produce. This can bring in extra income for your household.
- Grants & Incentives – Some countries and regions provide grants and incentives for home-owners who are looking to install domestic renewable energy systems. This can benefit you by reducing the initial funds that you will require for the installation.
Is a wind turbine right for you?
Whether or not a wind turbine is right for you depends on numerous factors. You should consider the following factors when determining if such a system is right for your needs:
- Pay Back – Will the system pay for itself within an acceptable period? You should also take into account any ongoing costs such as maintenance fees in this calculation.
- Location – Is your local environment suitable for a wind turbine? Is there a good, regular flow of wind that will benefit your system?
- Neighbours – Do you have neighbours who are likely to object to the addition of a wind turbine to your home? This could prove to be a headache further down the line that you can do without.
Reputable installers should be able to provide calculations for the pay back of your system and information as to whether your location is suitable for a wind turbine installation. It’s always recommended that you also do your own calculations and research into this to avoid any surprises further down the line. You could even install an anemometer (wind gauge) and monitor this for several months to determine the average wind speed for your location.
Choosing the right wind turbine for your home
Residential wind turbines often come in two different forms; roof-mounted and mast-mounted and which design you choose will depend on your property type. For smaller properties in built-up areas, a roof-mounted turbine is often going to be the more sensible choice. For larger properties with large gardens and grounds, a mast-mounted turbine is often preferred as it can be placed away from the property itself.
Choosing the right wind turbine capacity can be daunting for the best of us. It’s often hard to estimate how much power we will need our turbines to generate to truly make a difference. You should always try to estimate your power requirements but reputable installers will also be able to perform calculations after a site survey and recommend a suitable turbine.
Installing a residential wind turbine
Installing any electrical equipment is always best left to the professionals. Some home-owners may choose to install their own systems but we always recommend the use of reputable, local installers who have the necessary skills and certifications.
Where should it be installed?
As with any domestic renewable energy device, a home wind turbine should be installed in the area that will provide the highest efficiency for the system. This is often on a rooftop or high up on a mast to help reduce the impact that surrounding buildings/trees often have on localised wind speeds. A reputable installer should be able to provide guidance on this matter.
Whether or not you will require planning permission depends on where you live and the type of system you plan to install. We recommend that you always check with your local authority to see if you will need to obtain planning permission for the installation of your system. Again, a reputable installer may be able to provide guidance on this but you should always check yourself.
Grants and incentives
To help boost renewable energy production, some governments have introduced grants and incentives that are aimed to reduce the financial burden associated with installing a renewable energy system. This can help to save a significant amount of money and as a result, it’s always recommended to check with your local authority to see if there are any applicable schemes in your area.
Generating income from your excess electricity
If your system is likely to produce significant volumes of electricity then you might want to look into the possibility of selling any excess electricity back to the grid. Some countries have schemes where you can connect your home wind power system to the grid so that you can feed in any excess electricity you produce whilst generating income. This does depend on your country and your system has to be installed in a specific manner so always check with your local authority and installer for full details.
If you would like more information on residential wind turbines then the below resources may be of interest to you: