We all want to save money with renewable energy sources, and take care of the environment while we’re at it. Solar panels and residential wind turbines are popular ways to do it, but all of these innovations and upgrades to our homes require time, maintenance, and most importantly – money. So, are home wind turbines worth the cost?
A home wind turbine can be a practical and a profitable energy solution – under the right circumstances. If your home doesn’t meet the necessary requirements for producing energy this way, then installing a home wind turbine is a waste of money. It all depends on your location and your circumstances. There are many situations where a wind turbine is definitely worth the cost.
Many things that need to be taken into account when we’re discussing home innovation, especially home innovation that depends largely on your geographical positioning. We’ll be covering the pros and cons of wind turbines, what are the requirements your home needs to fulfill in order for the turbines to be useful, and are they worth the cost. Let’s begin.
The Wind Turbine Solution
Although a lot of sources guarantee that installing this is a great move for the long term, as you’ll be saving money on utility bills, a lot of people still justifiably wonder whether installing these methods of producing clean energy is financially responsible.
Installing a home wind turbine can turn out to be a great move if you’re living in a windy area, or it can be money poured down the drain if you aren’t. Factors that need to be thought of meticulously are plenty, and this is exactly what we’ll be discussing in today’s article.
Here are the 12 best home wind turbines available today.
Components Of A Wind Turbine
A typical wind turbine requires the following components:
- Blades – these are creates in a way to “catch” the wind and turn the rotor
- Rotor – this is the component that attaches to the blades and spins the shaft
- Pitch system – allows the rotor to adjust to the wind direction in small in amounts
- Low speed shaft – turns the gear box very slowly
- Gear box – increases the rotational speed from the low speed shaft to the high speed shaft
- Brake – stops the wind turbine from spinning, if needed
- Controller – uses sensory data about the wind to control the brakes
- Anemometer – measures the local wind speed
- Wind vane – stabilizes the wind turbine perpendicular to the wind direction
- Generator – converts the rotational energy into electrical energy
- Yaw motor – turns the wind turbine to face the wind at all times
- Yaw drive – spins from the yaw motor to turn the turbine
- High speed shaft – turns quickly due to the mechanical advantage of the gear box
- Tower – holds the wind turbine in the air to collect the most wind available
Pros of Home Wind Turbines – Are They Worth The Cost?
In 2020, we’re all invested in keeping the environment clean. Even though there’s a number of people who seem to be disinterested in recycling and renewable sources of energy, most people are very well aware of the dangers posing our planet and want to keep it clean.
If you’d like to build your own home wind turbine, it can be done in a weekend project.
When you combine that with your monthly bills dropping significantly, installing wind turbines seems like a great idea, right?
Well, it is, admittedly, but that doesn’t mean that every home can host a wind turbine. There are many advantages when it comes to wind turbines (which we’ll be covering in this section).
And there are many requirements to be fulfilled pre-installation. Let’s take a look at all the advantages of having a wind turbine installed at your home.
Wind Energy Is Clean
Yes, wind energy is completely clean, 100% renewable, and it doesn’t produce any harmful byproducts. Unlike using oil, coal, or other passively harmful fuels, wind as a means for energy production air we breathe. It also doesn’t require any destructive chemicals.
Wind energy decreases our reliance on fossil fuels from outside nations, as well, which helps boost the national economy and offers a variety of other benefits, as well.
There are many national programs you can find online that actually partly fund your installation of wind turbines for this specific reason.
When we’re talking about renewable energy, we need to understand that wind is free and we’ll never run out of it for thousands of reasons (mostly rotation of the planet and the atmosphere heating).
In the event that you live in an area that’s full of wind, it may appear like it’s there and it’s waiting for you to use it. No one can ever drain wind like nonrenewable assets. We’re also in luck because the costs of delivering wind energy have dropped lately, as more and more people see it as a popular and useful option.
You will recover the expense of obtaining, installing, and maintaining your wind turbine over time because your monthly bills will become smaller. Because of this growing popularity, it will only become more and more popular.
Operating Costs Are Low For Wind Turbines
The true operating costs for wind turbines are fairly low. Although they’re expensive, once installed, they’re fairly cheap to run. The wind used as fuel is free, and the maintenance is relatively cheap.
Renewable Energy Is Very Cost Effective
Wind turbines can give power to more than a single home! You don’t have to purchase and install a wind turbine yourself – you can buy your power from an organization that’s offering wind energy to your area. You don’t have to invest your own cash in order to acquire this type of energy.
Wind Energy Has Decrease In Price Since The 1980’s
The prices for wind turbines have decreased by 80% since the 1980s, thanks to technology and increased demands. For this reason, and their growing popularity, we expect prices of wind turbines to keep dropping
There Is Another Savings For Land Owners
If you’re a landowner in a windy area, you can actually rent your land to wind homesteads and make a lot of money. Wind energy also makes new employment in this developing field. There are government agencies that will pay you to install wind turbines on your land, and the electric company may even end up owing you money.
This happens when your turbine produces more power than you require and that power ends up the general electric matrix. You can earn some extra cash this way!
Modern Technology Has Improved Wind Energy
The latest technology has turned wind turbines into extremely effective energy harvesters. The turbines themselves are available in many sizes for different factories, farms, private residencies, etc. This way, the market extends beyond the industrial frame.
Many businesses are looking into exploiting the wind they’re witnessing on their land for profit. There’s also the option of buying a portable wind turbine, which can power smaller devices on the go. The newest models of wind turbines aren’t even an eyesore.
As we all remember the old models, so you don’t have to worry about the wind turbine looking clunky and rusty, as new models are sleek and smooth. Newer models require less maintenance, electricity, and are safer and quieter.
Wind Energy Has Market Potential
We can harness wind energy almost anywhere, and the potential for wind power is absolutely enormous. The worldwide potential of wind power is more than 400 TW (terawatts). As energy prices increase, the market potential for wind energy is exponentially growing.
Wind Turbines Can Be Installed In Homes
There are plenty of residential options. It’s obvious why this is appealing to the residential market. You’re able to produce your own energy and have to pay less for your monthly electricity. Since wind is independent, it’s great for powering homes.
Growing Wind Farms
There are more wind farms being installed than coal power plants. Yyou can install wind farms on developed on existing farms. They’re so space-efficient, and you can install them on existing farms in rural areas where they can act as additional earnings for the farmers.
Plant owners will pay farmers for the use of their land. It won’t damage the land surrounding the turbines in any way, and it won’t get in the way of farming.
Wind Is Environmentally Friendly
First there is water conservation. Since turbines don’t produce any emissions, they don’t pollute the water surrounding them.
Second, there are no emissions from coal or other non-renewable resources. This means we aren’t polluting the ozone layer. And we aren’t contributing to climate change.
The wind industry creates jobs. The industry has boomed in the past fifty years. Manufacturing, installation, maintenance, consulting, etc. In 2017, the wind industry employed over a million people around the whole world.
Now, let’s move on to the cons.
Cons of Home Wind Turbines – Are They Worth The Cost?
Like everything else in life, there are cons to wind turbines. Let’s evaluate the cost side of owning or building wind turbines.
Is Wind Turbine Reliability Worth The Cost?
Let’s look at the wind reliability. This is the most obvious con. You can’t guarantee that it’s going to be windy tomorrow, nobody can. Turbines function at 30% of their capacity, and the sole reason is that wind is unreliable as a power source.
So, in case your turbine doesn’t see any wind, you may end up without power, having to pay costs of installation and maintenance. Storms or high winds won’t help either, as they’re more likely to damage the turbines than make it work.
Wind Turbines Can Hurt Wildlife
Unfortunately, wildlife falls under the con list. Wind turbines can be a threat to wildlife. The edges of the turbines are especially dangerous to birds and other flying creatures. There’s no way to prevent this. And it’s just something that you should be aware of.
Using Wind Energy Can Be Noisy
Ah, the noise. Although they’re getting more quiet with every generation, wind turbines are still noisy. They produce between 50 and 60 decibels on average. This is a real pain if you need to install one near home, and since some people find them ugly, they may also be an eyesore.
We’ve already mentioned that they’re getting more modern by the day, but that doesn’t mean that everyone finds them acceptable. Many people worry that wind turbines may tarnish the beauty of the landscape.
There Are Additional Setup Costs With Wind Turbines
Let’s talk about setup costs. Wind turbines are expensive to set up. We’re talking about heavy upfront investments, regardless of them being residential or industrial.
Transportation of large and heavy equipment, installation, engineering, disturbance in the neighborhood, and in some cases – erosion. Even though wind turbines are usually safe and not harmful to their surroundings, they have sometimes caused erosions.
The supplies needed to install the turbine and the turbines themselves are very, very expensive.
Safety Risks Associated With Wind Energy
There are a couple of safety risks with wind turbines. Even though they’re mostly safe, during storms, a wing from the turbine may fall off. This is very dangerous for anyone in the area.
Location Is Important
Since not all places are windy, you can only install them at certain places, usually far from the city. The speed of wind needs to be high enough for the turbine to harness enough wind.
These remote areas require transmission lines to be brought in, alongside a ton of other equipment, which is expensive.
Shadow Flicker For Wind Turbines
Next, we should discuss shadow flicker. Since wings of the wind turbines are so large, they can cause shadow flickers. This occurs when the blades of the rotor get in the way of the sun.
On average, this happens for about 20 minutes a year, which isn’t too bad. But if the turbine is badly placed, it can cause shadows for even 100 minutes a year.
The Turbines Have Impacts On The Environment
There are negative effects on the environment. Since require require so much free area, cutting down trees may be necessary to install them. This eliminates, or at least somewhat tarnishes the whole idea behind the wind turbines being so green and clean.
Places that are suitable without cutting any trees are often too far away or simply don’t comply with certain requirements. Sometimes, because of city code, you may not even be able to install a turbine on your own property.
Cost Trade Off For Wind Turbines
Lastly, we tackle the cost trade-off. It takes a long time for wind turbines to start producing enough energy for the owner to start making money. We’re talking about decades of work.
They may be a good solution to a homeowner who’s not looking to install an industrial wind turbine, but if you’re looking to get into the business of selling energy, then this may not be the best investment.
Are Home Wind Turbines Worth The Cost?
Home wind turbines are worth the cost in most locations.
Firstly, for your wind turbine to even be able to produce energy, the wind around the location you want to install it at can’t be slower than 5 meters per second. That’s why residential areas, especially urban areas and inner-city areas, are usually no good for wind turbines.
However, there are amazing things you can do with energy produced by wind turbines.
Electricity is the main source of power on Earth. Because of its availability, it’s the main power source behind most devices. Oil, coal, and other non-renewable sources of energy that are mostly based on fossil fuels, are becoming old-fashioned in comparison to renewable sources of energy.
They produce greenhouse gases and other polluting substances. Energy harnessed by wind turbines, however, is the complete opposite. The wind energy is captured using strategically located wind turbines.
Massive scale wind turbines installed on farms can be just as good as smaller scale turbines, installed by homeowners for home use.
Wind Energy Can Power Many Things
Wind energy can also be used to power vehicles. There’s actually a wind powered car that completed a 3100-mile-long journey through Australia. It wasn’t completely powered by wind, but it’s a great example of how vehicles can be powered by renewable energy, as well. The car spent just ten to fifteen dollars for the whole trip!
And it doesn’t end there, as cargo ships can also be powered by wind. Cargo ships developed by Cargill Inc. are devoted to harnessing wind energy by installing a huge kite. This can and will cut the costs of fuel, cut down on its consumption and the emissions of carbon dioxide.
A new form of technology that came with utilizing wind power has appeared in the form of water. You can use wind to pump water. This has actually been done since ancient times, and it can be a cheap alternative to some communities. There are no large costs when you compare it to using pumping tracks powered by fossil fuels.
Home Wind Turbines Are Worth The Cost
Now, we’ve witnessed all the good things we can do with wind turbines, and we’ve seen all the good and the bad things that come with that. When making this decision, you need to understand that this is a massive investment and you shouldn’t take this lightly.
Purchasing a wind turbine will cost a lot, transporting it will cost a lot, installing it will cost a lot, and you won’t see the profits immediately. It’s best to consult with a wind turbine engineer or an energy expert, as they’re going to give you a correct estimation on just how smart it is for you to install a wind turbine.
The Cost Benefit Of Wind Turbines
Are home wind turbines worth the cost?
Firstly, how strong the wind is in the place where you’re planning on installing it. You need to gauge that. If it’s over 5 meters per second, then the wind is strong enough (the stronger – the better).
Secondly, how much money are you ready to invest? As we’ve already covered that, this is a costly investment, and you should tread lightly.
Thirdly, if you have enough money, are you ready to maintain it? Is it going to bother you or your neighbors? Are you in violation of city or county code? These are all the things that you need to think about and make sure you’re on the same page with the law, long before you even start looking at wind turbines.
Lastly, if you’ve decided to install a wind turbine, who is going to install it and maintain it?
If you have all that covered, then – yes, installing a home wind turbine is definitely worth the cost. In the long term, it’s going to save you a lot of money on electricity, to the point where you can actually sell your own electricity to your power supplier.
If you are on the go, you should probably use a flexible solar panel for your RV.