How much is a Wind Turbine likely to make me and over what period?
How Much Profit Will I Make From a Wind Turbine?
As with other renewable technologies, wind turbines are eligible for a number of federal and state tax rebates which means that you benefit from lower installation costs and can, in most areas, take advantage of net metering. Whether you make any profit on your wind turbine energy production will depend on a wide range of factors, including:
- The size and potential output of your wind turbine.
- Its height – the general rule of thumb, up to certain limits, is that you should get a 1% increase in power generation for every meter.
- The quality of the turbine components, initial installation costs and ongoing maintenance needs.
- The wind speed that your site generally gets.
- Distance from obstructions that could affect the wind flow, such as houses, trees or hills.
- Height above sea level may also be another factor that you need to consider.
- Your own energy usage and how much excess you will be able to export and sell to the grid.
Domestic Wind Turbines
A domestic turbine is a smaller system and hence has less output. In most cases it will enable you to reduce the amount you pay on energy bills but may not give you enough to profit from the Feed in Tariff or net metering payment, especially if you are opting for one that is mounted on your building.
Ofgem estimates that the average household uses about 3,330 kWh of energy each year and a well-placed wind 2.5 kW wind turbine may well cover your annual needs. This same system would cost around $17,000 to install and, if you have the right situation (that is the right wind speed and location), you could see a production of 4,400 kWh over the year. This means that you could cover your entire electricity bill for the year and have some left over.
The problem is that many domestic sites don’t give you full value for a wind turbine – either because they are in the wrong place or using the wrong type of turbine – and you could be in a situation whereby you are falling short or only just covering your own energy usage.
One of the main advantages of wind power over solar is that it produces power both day and night and is more profitable over the winter months when winds are traditionally higher. This is particularly valuable if you have installed a larger turbine system for commercial purposes.
Commercial Wind Turbines
The difference between domestic and commercial wind turbines is that the latter tend to be bigger and generate more energy. A larger array may mean a lower Feed in Tariff or net metering payment but it also means more electricity production.
For example, a 20 kW wind turbine subject to an average wind speed of 6.9 metres per second, would cost around $100,000. This will produce more energy than a normal household or farm would need and being able to sell the excess to a utility company could see a very good return on investment, breaking even in five or six years.
The reality, however, is far more complicated than a simple calculation. There are quite wide variations on output and savings dependent on such aspects as the quality of the turbine, the optimum wind speed that it is exposed to and the location chosen to install. There is also how your state views wind turbines and what offers are on the table. Net metering and Feed in Tariff or net metering payments can often be low for renewables and often, particularly for areas like farms and ranches, the option of leasing out land is a good way to go.