Energy from wind turbines can save money on electric bills if they’re properly installed and maintained. It’s important to buy the proper turbine for your property and needs in order to maximize savings.
Residential wind turbines are similar to those found on large commercial wind farms, except scaled to residential or agricultural areas. The single turbines produce less than 100 KW of electricity, which is still enough to power a standard home, provide backup power in case of grid failure, or to supplement electricity use in the home and cut utility costs.
A strong, fairly constant wind is essential for the turbines to generate electricity. Other considerations that can affect your decision to install a turbine include size of your property, your municipality’s zoning rules on tall structures, and the potentially high investment cost of installation.
Wind turbines can produce an adequate amount of energy to offset their costs at average wind speeds of 10 MPH or higher. Lower annual average wind speeds will still provide energy, just not very much compared to the costs of installing a turbine.
The amount of electricity generated by a turbine can change by the hour as wind speeds change. The wind speed will dramatically effect the energy generating potential of your turbine. For example, doubling of wind velocity will increase electricity generation 8 times. Conversely, electricity generation drops 25% with just a 10% decrease in wind velocity.
Due to the variance in wind velocity and energy generation involved in your wind power system, there will be times when you generate more electricity than your home can use, and vice versa. It may be possible to enter into an agreement with your electric utility called net metering or net billing, in which your home meter runs both directions. When the skies are calm, you are charged to take electricity from the grid, and when a storm blows through, the utility buys excess electricity from your turbine.
To maximize the efficiency of your wind power system, make sure the turbine is not obstructed by tall trees, silos, or hills, which can slow the speed of the wind reaching your windmill. Wind velocity is maximized at the tops of hills or the shores of lakes and oceans, so if your property can utilize these types of spaces, your energy generation will increase.
While your neighbors may applaud your initiative in installing renewable energy in your backyard, it’s still important to inform them of your plans before a 100 foot tower is installed on your property. Wind turbines do make noise, so a safe distance of 250 yards should be maintained between your turbine and the homes of your neighbors.
Turbines come in two main types: horizontal and vertical axis turbines. Horizontal axis models are the most common, consisting of a turbine and a tail to steer the structure in the direction of the wind. Vertical axis models can generate energy no matter which direction the wind is blowing, but their structures require more space.
There are many economic and environmental reasons why a wind turbine is a good investment, but in order to fully reap the benefits of the technology, it’s essential to consider the many factors that effect output and efficiency. Such considerations ensure you get the best returns to your investment.