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What Should I Consider When Buying a Home Wind Turbine?

Ken Black
Ken Black

A home wind turbine is a device that generates electricity much like the commercial versions do, only on a smaller scale. The turbine is designed to provide electricity only for one residence, which can help lower the electrical bills for that residence significantly. Though there are a number of factors to consider when choosing a home wind turbine, the most important points include the average wind speed in the area, and the size of the unit.

Even a home wind turbine can be a significant piece of equipment. The towers go up to an average of 100 feet, but could be significantly taller than that. This is one reason why many municipalities will require a lot size of at least an acre or more for a home wind turbine, if one is allowed at all. For most people, the lot size requirement makes it infeasible to put up a tower. People in this situation do have another option, however.

A wind turbine.
A wind turbine.

Some wind turbines are installed without towers. A home wind turbine, for instance, can be connected to the top of a house, or mounted on a pole off the side of the home, and still be used to catch wind. While most municipalities will allow this, it does pose some distinct disadvantages. Many times, due to the obstruction of nearby buildings and trees, this type of home wind turbine will not be able to take full advantage of the area's average wind speed. While this may be a choice in wide open areas, using a tower in such areas is usually the preferred option, if it is not prohibited from a legal or zoning standpoint.

In most cases, those contemplating purchasing a home wind turbine should expect to spend at least $10,000 US Dollars. Those with significant towers will likely cost at least twice that amount. Some of the smaller versions that can be installed on rooftops could be a little less. In most cases, if buying a small wind turbine for residential use, the purchase price will also likely include delivery, installation and hookup. Once that is completed, the system is ready to begin generating power for the home.

For those areas where there is a significant amount of wind, the systems can be quite cost effective. A home wind turbine has the potential to reduce electricity bills but as much as 90% in really good months, though the most realistic assumption that should be made is that it may cut electricity bills in half. In order to even reach a 50% reduction, an average wind speed of at least 10 miles per hour (16 kilometers per hour) is needed. Those who have rooftop models may need at least 12 to 15 mph (19 to 24 kph) in order for the system to truly be worth the expense of putting it in.

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    • A wind turbine.
      By: Gbuglok
      A wind turbine.