If a large turbine can generate enough power for 500 or so homes, it stands to reason that a smaller turbine should be able to power at least one home, right? Unfortunately, there’s a lot more to the equation than the size of the turbine itself. Residential turbines seem like a great, cost- and energy-efficient idea, but they only work in the right circumstances.
The Costs of a Residential TUrbine
The main problem with any residential turbine installation is that the price is still insanely high. Many homeowners spend thousands of dollars to complete their installation, with the idea that it will cut their energy costs in the long run.
Sadly, this isn’t always the case. If you don’t live in a particularly windy area, or if your turbine was particularly expensive it could take you decades to earn back the cost of your turbine. One turbine owner managed to cut $120 a year off their electricity bill – for a turbine that cost $5,000 to install.
On the other hand, there are benefits to a turbine that can outweigh these costs. To start with, you’ll be switching to a greener form of energy, and cutting your overall environmental impact. This actually qualifies you for a little help on your taxes: the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. This incentive program will give you tax credits for having solar panels, small turbines, and other forms of renewable energy on your property.
There’s also the attractive aspect of self-sufficiency. Having your own personal energy generator will definitely come in handy in case of a power outage. The more you can stay off the grid, the better off you will be in case of some form of emergency.
Should you get a Turbine?
If you’re thinking of installing a turbine, it’s important to ask yourself whether the benefits are worth the costs. A good way to do this is to calculate the actual energy output your turbine will give. The actual power capability of your turbine is just an average; depending on the placement of the turbine and the wind currents in your area, you could see a lot more or a lot less electricity. Care2.com offers a great guide on the basic math to determine just how much you will actually get, if you’re interested.
The next step is to make sure that you don’t have another way to use renewable energy. In low-wind areas, solar panels can be a great way to go. In areas with only a medium amount of wind, a combination of both wind and solar energy can often provide nearly everything you need.
Ultimately, the usefulness of any residential turbine is on a case-by-case basis. If you’re thinking of installing one, consider hiring a consultant to determine how much energy you will actually generate. From there, you can decide just how worth it your turbine is.