Domestic Wind Turbines – Off Grid and Grid-tied
If your home is located in an exposed area with a good supply of wind, maybe you could consider installing your own wind turbine to generate the electricity you need to run your home. Once you’ve paid the initial outlay for set up, installation and service of your turbine, you should find you’re saving on your household bills while doing your bit for a greener more sustainable future.
Before deciding whether a home wind turbine is right for you it’s important to consider a few vital points. The first is whether your house is situated in a suitable location. If you live in a valley surrounded by trees and large buildings, you’re unlikely to get enough wind to make a domestic turbine worth your while. Wind turbines on open, flat or elevated sites are obviously best.
Domestic wind turbines are structures that can be large and produce some noise. It’s important to explore whether your plans to install a turbine will face opposition from neighbours and local authorities before you commit to the project. Where you position the turbine can help to reduce any noise disturbance you and your neighbours might experience.
The size of the initial outlay for your domestic wind turbine will depend on the size of the turbine you plan on erecting. Smaller 1kW turbines that attached to you roof will costs around £2000 in the UK. The next step up is a 2.5kW turbine mounted on a pole and will set you back around £16,000. For a 6kW pole turbine you can expect to pay around £23,000.
As long as they’re well maintained and installed professionally, a wind turbine should last for 20 years or more. You will need to factor in maintenance costs of around £200 each year to keep the turbine functioning and safe. DC-AC inverters that change the DC current put out by a turbine into the AC current you need to power your house sometimes burn out, so you should include £2000 in your budget to replace your inverter should it give up the ghost.
Off grid or grid-tied?
Off grid means supplying your home without a connection to the grid, allowing you to be completely independent in your electricity supply. Grid-tied wind power systems will be connected to the grid.
Off grid systems require additional equipment and therefore can cost more to set up. You will need a battery storage system to ensure your supply is maintained whatever the weather.
Grid-tied systems are connected to the grid and will therefore always provide a supply of power to you home by falling back on the grid when required. Any used energy you produce will be feed back into the grid and can be paid back to you as feed in tariffs.
Wind energy is free, green and renewable. The future of wind power is not just about offshore wind and towering turbines; if you have a suitable site, agreement from neighbours and the money to buy, install and maintain a turbine, perhaps producing your own energy with a micro system could be the way for you.
James Andreson is a Freelance Writer working with Wind Power Offshore.