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Wind power for homes: Is it right for you?

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Wind power for homes: Is it right for you?

Wind — you can’t see it, but you can feel it and you can definitely use it to power your home. With a movement to electrify everything, wind power presents an eco-friendly alternative for a backup or main energy source. In fact, wind turbines are one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable home energy. Harnessing wind energy produces zero emissions and pollutants, all while lowering (or in some cases, eradicating) your electricity bill.


As Americans move away from fossil fuels toward more renewable energy, let’s look into whether wind-powered energy is right for you. Remember to check your home insurance coverage to make sure your residential wind turbine is insured using this guide!


Jump to the infographic for a quick breakdown of whether or not wind power is right for you.

What is the best wind turbine for home use?

Not every house or property meets the right criteria for wind-powered energy. For most homeowners in areas with adequate wind conditions, wind power is a viable partial or backup energy source. 

 Here are some instances where wind power for the home may make sense:

  • Urban and suburban homeowners in windy locations can get supplemental benefits from wind power by attaching smaller turbines to a roof or garage.
  • Homeowners in rural areas with enough space are ideal candidates to use larger wind turbines as a main source of energy.

 It is important to note that large turbines can lower the value of your home (due to their visibility), but endless energy from large turbines can lower home insurance costs.

How do wind turbines work?

We commonly refer to the machines that generate wind-powered energy as wind turbines, but these can be just one component of a wind-electric system. Wind turbinestake energy from the wind and turn it into electricity. Before installing your own residential turbine, let’s dive into how they work. Here’s an overview of the process:

  • Step 1: Wind passes around the turbine’s blades. Uneven pressure created by the shape of the blades generates the characteristic spin of the turbine. 
  • Step 2: The spinning blades drive a rotor, which spins much faster than the blades. 
  • Step 3: The fast motion of the rotor is what drives a generator and creates electricity that can power your home. 

 

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Other major components include a tower and balance of systems parts. If you are considering more than just a small rooftop turbine for your home, it is important to learn more about the components ofwind electric systemsand their functions. 

 

How residential turbines can power your home

Wind power for the home is nothing new. Harnessing wind goes all the way back to 5,000 BCE, when it powered everything from pumping water to grinding grain. Since then, it has been industrialized to generate electricity. Modern residential wind turbines now operate similarly to industrial turbines.

With wind as one of the fastest growing renewable energies, eco-minded homeowners are looking to this invisible powerhouse to electrify their homes. Let’s discuss some common questions homeowners have when deciding whether to invest in wind energy.

How much wind power is needed for your home?

The typical American household consumes somewhere between 877-911 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month. A single wind turbine rated between 5 to 15 kilowatts (kW) can fulfill this need, provided you have the necessary wind speed in your area. Use a wind map to check annual average wind speeds in your area.

Small wind turbines can lower your energy bill by as much as 90%. Use this energy calculator to determine the energy use of some of your home appliances. Using a small wind turbine to offset the energy of a few home appliances can help meet your energy goals.

How much do residential turbines cost?

The cost of a residential wind turbine depends on a variety of factors like size, kilowatt capacity, location, installation, zoning and permitting. Small rooftop turbines may cost up to $7,000, while free-standing 100 kW turbines can cost around $80,000.

Determining your energy goals and conditions specific to your home will help narrow down the cost. Homeowners interested in smaller wind projects can save by purchasing a wind kit at a home center and self-installing.

Although upfront installation costs for a residential wind system are significant, the investment pays for itself in a few years, and maintenance costs are quite small. Additionally, financial incentive is available in the form of investment tax credits. States and local governments also offer residential property assessed clean energy (PACE) models as a means to finance renewable energy home improvements. Check if to see if PACE programs are active in your state here.

Pros of residential wind power

Wind is an environmentally friendly source of energy that can provide a cost-effective power alternative for homeowners who live in hard-to-reach areas.

 

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Eco-friendly

Unlike fossil fuels, wind is fully renewable. It doesn’t need millions of years to replenish and it is in ready supply. Also, wind does not burn to create energy. As such, wind releases no pollutants like smoke and emits no greenhouse gases.

 

Cost-effective

Aside from upfront purchasing and installation costs, wind-powered energy systems are cost-effective. Wind is a free resource and turbines cost little to maintain. Eventually, the turbine will pay for the initial investment and can even generate income by selling power back to the grid. 

 

Convenient

For homeowners who are not connected to a grid, wind power is a convenient and reliable form of energy. It helps avoid the costly extension of power lines and gain energy independence.

Cons of residential wind power

Although wind power has its advantages, there are some disadvantages like inconsistency, high upfront investment and visual/noise pollution.

 

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Inconsistent

Although wind is naturally occurring and renewable, it is not always a consistent resource for energy. Wind is subject to variance in air pressure and can change its flow and speed day to day. Some solutions to wind’s inconsistency are to store excess energy in batteries or use a hybrid wind and solar energy system.

 

Initial sticker shock

High upfront costs can understandably cause sticker shock for the average homeowner. On average, small wind systems cost about $8,300 per kilowatt. If this is within your budget, a wind turbine is still one of the most budget-friendly types of renewable energy.

 

Noise and visual pollution

Wind power doesn’t actually produce any pollutants, but some consider the large devices to produce noise and visual pollution. Noise from the turbine can be inconvenient, but technology has made turbines quieter. Some homeowners find the sight of wind turbines unappealing, which could impact your property value during the selling process.

 

Wind power is a renewable energy alternative for the home that is paving the way for the future. With U.S. initiatives increasing wind power capacity to produce 20% of the national electricity demand by 2030, movement toward making wind mainstream is well underway. If you live in an area with adequate wind and have the funds to invest, it can offer many long-term benefits.

Wind is eco-friendly, cost-effective and convenient for those in rural areas. Urban and suburban dwellers can also use wind power as a backup energy option for their homes. While wind power does have disadvantages, most are solvable with advancing technology and financing. Explore other renewable options today to lay the foundation for a sustainable tomorrow.

Check out our infographic below for all you need to know about wind power for the home.

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