How much does a wind turbine cost?
Compared to other renewable energies for domestic or business use, wind turbine costs vary considerably between manufacturers and installers. Our advice, first of all, is to make sure that this is the right technology for you.
Your site should:
- Have a wind speed minimum of 5 metres per second (to test, you can install an anemometer which many states supply).
- Ensure there are no obstructions (e.g., other houses, trees) that could cause turbulence.
- Make sure your building is not subject to any state, federal or even county restrictions whether you are installing a roof mounted system or free standing one.
- Decide if you have enough land for foundations if you are installing a free standing wind turbine.
- Check whether you need planning permission to install a wind turbine.
Discover more about whether your site is suitable for a wind turbine.
In general, free standing wind turbines are more expensive but more productive than roof mounted arrays.
Roof Mounted Wind Turbines
If you have a high roof that gets enough wind speed on a regular basis then you may well consider installing a roof mounted wind turbine. They vary in power from about 0.5 kW to 2.5 kW and can be used to supplement your electricity supply. Before you take the option of getting a roof mounted turbine you need to understand that it will probably not provide all the electricity you need (though it may well take the edge of increasing fuel bills over the next 20 years). It almost certainly will not provide you with enough energy to profit from the Feed in Tariff.
The average cost of a roof mounted wind turbine is around $3,000 which will also need to be maintained and could cost you as much as a few hundred dollars a year.
Find our list of roof mounted turbine manufacturers here.
Free-Standing Wind Turbines
For those that are serious about using wind as a means of providing renewable energy for a local power source, free-standing wind turbines offer a much more effective option. They are also more expensive to install.
Cost depends on the size and the output that is desired. A 1.5 kW turbine would cost approximately $8,000 and $12,000 and deliver around 2,600 kW over a year depending on your location and wind speeds. A larger array that has a 15 kW capability would cost in the region of $100,000 and return approximately 36,000 kW of energy over a year.
You can find a list of smaller wind turbine manufacturers (up to 100 kW) here.
For all wind turbine systems, you also need to take into account the maintenance costs and the price that needs to paid if you have to apply for planning permission. A wind turbine is built to last over 20-25 years but a number of important parts may need replacing before that date such as batteries or the inverter that converts your DC current to AC.
Financing for Wind Turbines
Finding the initial outlay for your wind turbine development can often be a problem. There are a number of low cost and federal grants and loans available that you can now take advantage of if you are serious about using wind to power your house and the surrounding grid. Find out more about finance for wind turbines here.
Return on Investment for Wind Turbines
One of the attractive things about installing a renewable energy source is the chance it gives you to sell your excess electricity to the power companies and make a decent return on investment. This largely depends on the state you live in and whether you can sell your excess electricity to a utility company. For remote areas there is a problem with connectivity though many states in the US are beginning to address this.
Find out more about how much wind turbines can earn you.
Wind Power Incentives
As with other renewable technologies, there are federal and state incentives for installing a wind power. First of all, there is the 30% federal tax credit but many states also have their own credits and rebates that can be taken advantage of.
Find out more about federal and state incentives for wind power.
Impact on Property Price
One other thing that you will need to take into account before installing a wind turbine on your premises is the effect that it may have on the property price. There is not much evidence currently available that having one installed with have a large adverse effect but a lot may depend on how efficient your system is. Of course, it will also depend on your location. If your wind turbine is on farmland and producing a good return it is more likely to add value to any sale. If you have a roof mounted system that simply takes the edge off your energy bills, you might find that aesthetic principles come into play but fortunately it is easy to remove.
The table below gives you a rough idea of the initial costs of small domestic wind turbine systems:
|System size||Indicative system cost||Approx. yearly system output*|
*We have assumed the average US wind speed of 5.6m/s for the sake of illustration. The actual system output is predicated upon a large range of factors. Larger, higher output turbines also tend to be mounted at greater heights, where wind speeds are higher.
Depending on the type and size of the turbine, there are also annual system maintenance costs which one must bear in mind, though these tend to be relatively small. Since they rely on relatively simple mechanical processes, the turbines themselves tend to have a long life, and typically come with a service warranty period of 10-20 years. If the wind turbine system contains batteries for the storage of the electricity generated, these will probably need to be replaced around every 5 to 10 years.