Are Small Wind Turbines for You?


They’re getting more affordable every year. Should you consider installing one?

You’ve seen those large wind farms with windmills that tower 50 feet or more in height. But they’re too expensive and impractical for homeowners like you.

But you may not have seen their “smaller” counterparts. Several companies make wind turbines for home use.

While they save energy, they’re not for every homeowner.

Here’s what you need to have available to install one:

  1. At least $8,000 – Wind turbines aren’t the cheapest to manufacture and install. They’ll set you back $12,000 – $15,000, but you can get 30% of their installed cost back from the US government.
  2. A good location. The ideal site for a small wind turbine is on a property at least ½ acre in size, and the ability to be 20 feet above any object within 250 feet. Wind speeds should consistently be at least 10 mph on your property. Your jurisdiction’s local ordinances also have to allow for their height: 35 feet or taller.

How do Wind Turbines Work?

They work together with your power company. Once wind speeds reach appropriate levels, your turbine produces power. As they increase, the turbine produces more power, and you draw less from your utility. When wind speeds aren’t adequate for producing more electricity, you get 100% of it from your local utility.

The entire process happens automatically so you don’t have to manage it at all.

Do Wind Turbines Save Money?

They do, but they have a long-term payoff. Whether you save money depends on the cost of the turbine, contractor’s charge for installation, amount of wind available, and cost of electricity. But you can also factor in the 30% federal tax credit and any state or local tax credits too.

You’d be wise to do a precise calculation before installing a small wind turbine.

Should You Be Concerned or Fearful of Your Wind Turbine in Any Way?

If you do install one, no. They’re quiet, don’t block TV reception, and trees are much more likely to fall than these wind turbines. Ice drops directly below during winter. But you should educate your children they’re not for climbing on.

At worst, they don’t change property values. And several small studies show they increase property values.

If you have the money and property location and can wait for their long-term payback, small wind turbines make a good investment.

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