You’ve heard about harnessing solar energy to power your home. But wind power? Residential wind turbines are a great option for harvesting clean, renewable energy from the wind.
A residential wind turbine is constructed with a turbine installed atop a tall tower or a turbine mounted to a rooftop. As the wind passes through the turbine, energy is generated and in turn is converted into electricity for use in your home. The stronger the wind, the faster the turbine will spin and thus generate more electricity. Typically in urban and suburban locations, the home will use both the power generated from the wind turbine and power from the local utility company. When the wind is strong, the amount of power purchased from the utility decreases, whereas during low winds, power will come primarily from the local utility. In a rural location, installing a wind turbine could cut the high costs of running power lines to your property. Depending on where you live and the wind speeds on your site, the savings on your electricity bill could be significant. In addition to providing you with savings on your energy bill, there is a 30% federal tax credit available through 2016 and local rebates.
Various factors should be considered when thinking about installing a wind turbine in your backyard:
- The height of the tower and size of the turbine is dependant on the size of the system. Small systems = less energy collected and produced
- Check to make sure your local zoning and land use codes allow wind turbines and what the restrictions will be.
- Minimal wind speeds are required to produce energy. Check average annual wind speeds on your site or have them tested over an extended period of time.
- Adequate space on your site is required to accommodate the tower as well as for good exposure to wind.
The American Wind Energy Association has a great website with additional resources for learning about harnessing wind energy.
The U.S. Department of Energy has a helpful guide for learning more about small wind turbine systems.