How Practical Is a Backyard Wind Turbine?

By Ygrene on April 11, 2017

The utilization of wind power is growing at an increasing rate in the U.S. Many homeowners are beginning to wonder if installing a home wind turbine is a practical investment. Across the globe, wind turbines are becoming increasingly popular and make up a large percentage of many nation’s energy sources. We invite you to discover how residential wind turbines have become practical, their benefits, the different types, and the ideal conditions for one.

Evolution of The Wind Turbine For Residential Applications

Power companies in places like Germany and Denmark use wind turbines on an industrial scale. Wind power is likewise catching on in the United States and China, with energy firms rushing to invest in wind farms as the demands for sustainable energy increase.

Solar panel technology was initially started at an industrial level. Through economies of scale and improvements in manufacturing, solar panels became affordable and small enough for residential applications. The same is happening to wind power.

Residential wind turbine power is slightly more complicated than solar. It is a practical energy option, but only in the right conditions. As solar power systems, wind turbines can take advantage of net metering. This means a home wind turbine can connect to the traditional power grid and provide energy for a home – with any excess power fed back to the grid.

When the wind is not blowing, the home can get its electricity from the grid. A net metering setup is usually the most practical option for turbine-powered properties because the wind never blows continuously (no matter where you live).

A smaller subset of home wind turbines is rooftop turbines. These are better suited for suburbs and cities because of their size and ease of installation. Usually, these systems charge batteries, which provide power to the home. These smaller units are generally not strong enough to supply a home’s entire electricity needs. Instead, these systems are meant to be supplementary power sources to help lower reliance on traditional electricity. The net result means additional savings in your utility bills.

What Are the Advantages of Residential Wind Turbines?

Both net metering and off-grid wind power have several significant advantages. First off, wind power is environmentally friendly; it causes absolutely no pollution. Secondly, wind energy is essentially free. Putting maintenance and installation costs aside, homeowners will enjoy renewable energy for decades to come. Home wind turbines of any size, from compact to large, can significantly lower home electricity bills. Technology is developing quickly – especially for home wind turbine applications – making wind power more accessible to the average homeowner.

Clean energy and unique financing options offered through property-assessed (PACE) programs make home wind turbines of all sizes more accessible. PACE enables homeowners to finance their wind power upgrades through a special tax levied on their property. Over time, homeowners repay the amount financed as a line item on their annual tax bill. Ygrene is a great partner that offers PACE programs and can help you increase your renewable energy utilization.

How Can Home Wind Turbines Save Money?

Home wind turbines are eligible for green energy tax credits, reducing your installation costs within the first year. Any form of moving object requires maintenance, and home wind turbines are no exception. Handy homeowners can maintain small home wind turbines, but larger models are at the top of tall towers and require professional maintenance. It is essential to double-check warranties before you sign on with an installation company because any fault could be costly. Inspections and annual oiling and tightening maintenance should never be skipped and figured in as part of the ongoing cost of having home wind turbines.

Are There Any Major Disadvantages?

The biggest drawback of wind power is that it is not consistent. Even if an installer chooses the best location, the wind will not continuously blow at the same speed. This is why home wind turbines are either supplemental energy sources or are connected to the primary power grid in a net metering arrangement, especially in a residential setting. The other drawbacks are harder to foresee. Wind turbines can be noisy, which is not a common problem in rural areas, but this may be an issue in residential areas. Noise from home wind turbines is generally the main complaint by residents near large utility-owned wind farms.

Smaller wind turbines, including rooftop models, may still be subject to zoning restrictions. Rules vary by city, so it is important to research local ordinances before deciding whether wind power is a viable option.

How big does a backyard turbine need to be? It depends. A general guideline is that the turbine needs to be 30 feet higher than any object, including trees, within a 300-foot radius. Depending on wind patterns and landscapes, that could be between 60 and 120 feet high. Farms have the ideal terrain for residential turbines, while people with less than an acre of land might not have enough space for anything but a rooftop model.

Ideal Conditions for a Residential Wind Turbines

Less than one percent of all small (residential or private) wind turbines are in cities. This is because of zoning restrictions, a lack of steady wind, and sufficient space. According to the Wind Energy Foundation, a turbine’s rotor should be at least 18 feet in diameter to provide power for an average home. In addition, the wind cannot be blocked by trees, taller buildings, or other obstructions. Rural properties are the best setting for large wind turbines that are large enough to provide all the power for a home.

There are smaller home wind turbines that are efficient enough to be installed on roofs across suburban areas and metropolitan cities. The smaller home wind turbines are ideal for supplemental power like charging batteries or as a secondary source that helps offset some of your home's energy consumption. If you are still unsure how to install one, some companies specialize in these installations and can maximize their benefits.

Wind Power is Best When Used in Combination With Other Power Sources

Small, quiet home wind turbines are the ideal option for most homeowners. People who want to benefit from wind power will still need another power source. One option is to combine wind with another type of renewable energy like solar. Utilizing both rooftop solar panels and a home wind turbine can significantly save energy. Furthermore, both of these improvements may qualify for PACE financing so that homeowners can get solar and wind installed for little-to-no upfront cost and use the money they save on their energy bills to pay for both of the upgrades over time.

Wind power can be a good idea under the right circumstances. Homeowners need to find a suitable home wind turbine for their specific situation. Remember that wind is a supplementary source of power for most homes that will not provide all the electricity they need but can certainly help lower power bills.

Which Home Wind Turbine Models Are the Most Practical Option For Most Homeowners?

Smaller wind turbines, designed to fit on a roof or garage, are the best option for most homeowners, especially those in suburban and urban areas.These units are not intended to provide 100 percent of a home’s power; they are not big enough. However, they are relatively inexpensive and can significantly decrease electricity bills. These rooftop home wind turbines may still be subject to zoning restrictions, but some manufacturers have solved the problem of noise pollution.

One Swedish-made option is “completely silent,” reports Treehugger, and a 30-foot mini-tower turbine can barely be heard beyond 40 feet. These small turbines can provide 25 to 50 percent of a home’s power, depending on the setup. With initial costs and installation, it should take only a few years to recover the upgrade cost with the money saved on energy bills.

Check Ygrene Availability Near Me