Each year, the price of electricity rises for homeowners in the US. Between higher electricity bills and the environmental benefits that renewable energy provides, many homeowners are turning to residential wind energy to lower the cost of electricity and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. While the concept of a small wind system is appealing, small wind electric systems have certain requirements in order to fully benefit homeowners. If you are considering installing a system for home wind production, here’s what you should know before investing in residential wind energy.
Wind energy is one of the most popular energy sources in the United States. Wind energy technologies are rapidly expanding and diversifying to meet consumers’ needs. In residential and commercial settings, wind turbines are the most common choice of wind technology. A small wind system is ideal for homeowners. Commercially, turbines can range up to multi-megawatt turbines. When grouped together, these renewable energy systems form wind plants that provide substantial power. Offshore wind farms produce even more electricity. No matter where turbines are located, wind speed, direction, and electricity demands are important factors when planning an installation.
Wind Power in Residential Settings
When it comes to wind energy, there is no “one size fits all” approach to sourcing wind power. There is quite a bit of variability in wind turbine size and shape. Some of the smaller wind energy technologies produce merely 100 kilowatts (kW) of electricity, which is enough to power home appliances. Other residential systems produce anywhere from 0.6 kW of power to 50 kW of electricity, which is enough to offset a home’s traditional electric power supply. Provided an area gets a sufficient amount of wind, turbines are a great option for homeowners considering residential distributed wind power. Your system’s size and location influence capacity factor, which is the turbine’s expected power production capacity versus its actual production. Wind speeds increase with height and vary seasonally, which is important to keep in mind when you’re planning a residential distributed wind project.
Wind is Readily Available
According to the Department of Energy, each residential wind system requires at least one acre of land in order to offset a home’s energy usage. For many homeowners around the country, as the US Census shows, property size is not a problem. About 21 million homes sit on properties that are over one acre in size. Furthermore, nearly 20% of all Americans live in rural areas. For aesthetic and practical reasons, this is a key advantage for sourcing wind power. The wind blows unimpeded in areas that are less built up. Rural homeowners often face fewer obstacles with town ordinances and zoning regulations when they site wind turbines in open areas with fewer restrictions.
Requirements for Installing a Wind Turbine
If you’re considering putting a wind turbine in your yard, you’ll want to keep several factors in mind when deciding whether or not a small wind electric system is a good solution for your home. Generally, small wind systems work best if your area receives enough wind to produce a sufficient amount of electricity. You’ll also want to look up the local ordinances to make sure tall towers are permitted in your neighborhood. The property will need to have sufficient space and level ground for the turbine. Before installing a wind system, it’s important to figure out how much electricity you want the system to produce. Finally, be sure to contact your utility company to figure out plans for connecting the wind system to the grid.
For many homeowners, the prospect of reducing electricity costs from wind resources is quite appealing. Knowing your property’s conditions and understanding how wind technology benefits your home makes you an informed and confident energy consumer.