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Wind Turbine for your home - Worth it?
Wind energy, a renewable energy source, has a great potential to solve the environmental concerns that we are facing today. Being a pollution-free source of energy and used correctly, a typical home turbine could prevent about 2 tons of harmful pollutants from entering the atmosphere as well as reduce your energy cost drastically.
Residential wind turbines tap wind power and turn it into an electric generator. These turbines are installed on a tower or high place.
A wind turbine that’s installed at home is hooked up to a power meter, and then power energy can be drawn from the turbine first and then if needed/unavailable from the normal electricity provider. Typically with home turbines whenever the wind blows 10 miles an hour, the turbine should produce enough energy to satisfy the average housing energy demand and based on other factors sometimes produce more so the rest of it can be exported back to the electrical grids and help to supply your neighbour’s energy needs. In this situation, your power meter runs in reverse and credits you for supplying electricity.
Home Wind Turbine Size
Before buying the wind turbine for your home, you should calculate how much energy would be needed for your whole home. A typical house uses about 9400 KWH of electricity a year. That means you would be needed about 780 KW hours a month. So, depending upon the wind speed of your area, you would be needing a wind turbine in between the 5-15 KW range.
The Initial Cost of Wind Turbine and return on it
The initial cost for buying a home wind turbine is in the range of ~£4,900-£21,000. While it might be a lot of money at once, it is important to remember that your electricity bill will be drastically reduced over a long period of time once the wind turbine is up and running and If you keep your energy consumption lower on the windiest days, you can earn money by selling extra power back to the electricity companies.
The Height of Home Turbine
Though the proper height for a home wind turbine is usually quoted as about thirty feet, in many cases, placing your wind turbine in a higher location, will be beneficial. The higher you go the more wind pressure increases and in return running your turbine faster and generating more energy.
How much you can save?
For example, the rate for one KW of electricity is £0.10 per hour and the turbine generates 650 KW hours per month which mean your turbine is saving £65 a month on energy bills.
Estimating Annual Energy Output
An estimate of the annual energy output from a wind turbine (in kilowatt-hours per year) is the best way to determine whether it and the tower will produce enough electricity to meet your needs.
A professional installer can help you estimate the energy production you can expect. The manufacturer will use a calculation based on these factors:
- Particular wind turbine power curve
- Average annual wind speed at your site
- Height of the tower that you plan to use
- Frequency distribution of the wind -- that is, an estimate of the number of hours that the wind will blow at each speed during an average year
The installer should also adjust this calculation for the elevation of your site.
Grid-Connected Small Wind Electric Systems
Small wind energy systems can be connected to the electricity distribution system. These are called grid-connected systems. A grid-connected wind turbine can reduce your consumption of utility-supplied electricity for lighting, appliances, electric heating and cooling, and vehicle charging. If the turbine cannot deliver the amount of energy you need, the utility makes up the difference. When the wind system produces more electricity than your household requires, the excess is credited and used to offset future use of utility-supplied power.Modern grid-connected wind turbines will operate only when the utility grid is available. They can also operate during power outages when configured to work in tandem with storage to form a home microgrid to provide back-up power.
Grid-connected systems can be practical if the following conditions exist:
- You live in an area with average annual wind speed of at least 9 miles per hour (4 meters per second)
- Utility-supplied electricity is expensive in your area (about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour)
- The utility's requirements for connecting your system to its grid are not prohibitively expensive, and there is sufficient capacity to integrate your system
Your utility can provide you with a list of requirements for connecting your system to the grid. For more information, see grid-connected home energy systems.
Wind Power in Isolated Grid Systems
Wind power can be used in isolated off-grid systems, or microgrid systems, not connected to an electric distribution grid. In these applications, small wind electric systems can be used in combination with other components -- including a small solar electric system -- to create hybrid power systems. Hybrid power systems can provide reliable off-grid power for homes, farms, or even entire communities (a co-housing project, for example) that are far from the nearest utility lines.
An off-grid, hybrid electric system may be practical for you if the items below describe your situation:
- You live in an area with an average annual wind speed of at least 9 miles per hour (4.0 meters per second)
- A grid connection is not available or can only be made through an expensive extension. The cost of running a power line to a remote site to connect with the utility grid can be prohibitive
- You would like to gain energy independence from the utility
- You would like to generate clean power
Legal aspects including Permissions for Wind Turbines
Planning regulations for the installation of wind turbines differ in each part of the United Kingdom. While it is not always necessary to obtain planning permission for wind turbine installations, it is a good idea to notify your local planning officer before deciding to install. It is also advisable to speak to your neighbours about your plans, and, as has already been mentioned, it is sensible to inform your mortgage and home insurance providers.
In England, wind turbines require planning permission, unless they fall under the following categories, in which case their installation may be classed as ‘permitted development’, for which planning permission is not required.
For all wind turbines, the following criteria must be met:
- There must be no other wind turbine or air source heat pump on the property
- The bottom of the turbine’s blades must be at least 5m from the ground
- The turbine site must not be in a Conservation Area, World Heritage site, or in the grounds of a listed building
For Building-mounted turbines, the following criteria must be met:
- The property must be detached
- The top of the turbine’s blades must be no more than 3m above the top of the property, or 15m above the ground
- The turbines must be located at least 5m from the edge of the property
For pole-mounted turbines:
- The top of the turbine must be no more than 11.1m above the ground
- The turbine must be at least 1.1 times of its own height away from the edge of the landowner’s land
*Full government planning guidance for renewable technologies in England can be accessed here: Planning Guidance for Renewable Technologies in England