There is a high potential that Michigan and the Upper Thumb region will start seeing more users of home wind turbines in use for farms, homes, and cottages. Advances in technology have made this potential more affordable. Even “Big Box” home improvement stores have wind generation products for sale for home use.
Benefits of a Home Wind Turbine
Small wind turbine and electric systems can:
- Your household can lower electricity bills by 50%–90%
- If your home or cabin is remote, having a home-based wind turbine can avoid the high costs of having utility power lines extended to a remote location.
- Assists in helping uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) operate at lower capacity through extended utility outages.
A Hybrid Approach to Home Electrical Production
Seasonal weather has an impact on wind speeds and thus the efficiency of a home wind turbine. On average, wind speeds tend to be low in the summer and higher during the winter months. Because the best performing conditions for wind and solar systems occur at different times of the year, hybrid systems are more likely to provide power throughout the year.
Home hybrid systems are typically stand-alone systems, which operate separately from the electrical grid. When neither the wind nor solar is producing, hybrid systems can provide power through a battery bank or with a fuel-powered generator. If the power from the batteries is drained, the generator can come online and recharge the batteries.
Guidance for Your Own Wind Turbine
The U.S. Department of Energy has drafted guidance for homeowners wishing to consider investment in wind energy. Here are some basic guidelines.
- At least ½ acre of land
- Trees and other structures with a lower height than the turbine
- No local zoning laws, building codes, or other covenants restricting structures such as turbine towers, which can range from 30 to 140 feet
- The area must maintain an annual average wind speed of 10 MPH or greater at hub height.
Cost of a Home Wind Turbine
Purchasing and installing a home-based wind energy system can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000 per kilowatt. However, tax incentives, credits, and grants can substantially lower the cost. You may be eligible to receive a federal credit for 30 percent of expenditures, as long as your equipment meets certain performance standards.