Solar America

Residential Wind Turbine Frequently Asked Questions

Residential Wind Turbine Power

Will a residential wind turbine work for my home or business?
How reliable are wind turbines?
How do residential wind turbines work?
How much wind is required for a residential wind turbine?
Do I need to make any changes to my home before installing a wind turbine?
Do wind turbines make noise or interfere with TV reception?
How tall are wind turbines?
What size wind turbine is right for me?
How much money will I save?
How much does a wind turbine cost?
How quickly will the system pay for itself?
What are the financing and leasing options?
What rebates and incentives are available to me?
Should I buy a system now or wait a couple years?
Will a wind turbine affect my appliances or existing home electronics in anyway?
What happens if I am using more electricity than my wind turbine generates?
What happens if my wind turbine generates more electricity than I use?
What is a “grid-tie” system and how does it work?
Will my property taxes increase?
Are wind turbines under warranty or insured?
What is a battery back-up and do I need one?
Is maintenance required and/or provided?
Are there any permits I need to worry about?

 

Will a residential wind turbine work for my home or business?

Hopefully!  The key requirements for a wind turbine are wind, adequate ground space (half an acre or more) and zoning laws that allow a structure at least 40-50’ tall.

Back to Top

How reliable are wind turbines?

Residential wind turbines are smaller versions of the wind farms you see all over the coutnry.  They are incredibly and therefore do not require regular maintenance. They operate automatically and are designed to work smoothly for over 20 years.

Back to Top

How do residential wind turbines work?

Wind turbines convert wind into electricity.  The blades of a wind turbine are attached to a rotor/shaft that generates electricity when it spins.  For most wind turbines the process of generating energy is identical to the alternator in a car – electromagnetic induction.

Back to Top

How much wind is required for a residential wind turbine?

For residential wind turbines, about 10 mph is required to start generating electricity.

Back to Top

Do I need to make any changes to my home before installing a wind turbine?

No.  Your wind turbine will provide electricity into your home just like your utility company provides you electricity.  Of course, you have to pay your utility company – you don’t have to pay for your wind power.

Back to Top

Do wind turbines make noise or interfere with TV reception?

Small wind turbines make about as much noise as an average washing machine.  They are difficult to hear over the wind itself unless they are in very close proximity to your home.  Wind turbines do not interfere with TV reception.

Back to Top

How tall are wind turbines?

Generally, the wind tower is 30-60’ tall.  In some cases, they can be taller.

Back to Top

What size wind turbine is right for me?

Most single family residential homes have wind turbines rated for 5-10kW.

Back to Top

How much money will I save?

How much did you pay for electricity last month?  As a rule of thumb, assume that a wind turbine will account for 70% of your electric usage.  So if you spent $200 last month, you might save 70% or $140 each month.  That’s a savings of $1,680 per year.  Don’t forget that electricity costs have historically gone up 2-3% each year – that’s means you will saving about $2260 on your 2020 electric bill!  Some wind turbines save more, some save less, but you are guaranteed to have a lower electrical bill from the day you install your wind turbine.

Back to Top

How much does a wind turbine cost?

It depends on the size of your system.  One thing is certain – wind turbines are much less expensive than they used to be.  The rebates and incentives offered by the US government and most states can cut the cost of the system by nearly 50%.  These rebates and incentives will not last forever, so it’s important to take advantage of them before they expire.  For most single family residential homes your wind turbine may cost you $6-20K after all the rebates and incentives.

Back to Top

How quickly will the system pay for itself?

This depends on your electric bill, your location, your current utility rates and other factors.  Many new systems pay themselves back in 5-10 years.

Back to Top

What are the financing and leasing options?

Some wind turbine installers provide financing options.  Many homeowners have taken out a home equity loan to finance their wind power investment.

To learn more details about financing options, please visit our rebates and financing section.

Back to Top

What rebates and incentives are available to me?

There is a 30% federal tax credit that is applicable to nearly everyone in the United States.  Talk about a sale – 30% off your new wind turbine thanks to our government.  Many states have additional rebates and incentives.  These rebates and incentives can reduce the cost of your system by nearly 50% but they won’t last forever.  Our advice – take advantage now.

To learn more details about rebates and incentives, please visit our rebates and financing section.

Back to Top

Should I buy a system now or wait a couple years?

Now is the right time for a couple reasons.  The existing rebates and incentives are too good to pass up.  In many states, the rebates go down over time and eventually expire.

Most importantly, the longer you wait, the more money you keep throwing away on electric bills.  Do you want to keep paying $100, $200, $300 or more per month to your utility company?  Probably not!

Back to Top

Will a wind turbine affect my appliances or existing home electronics in anyway?

No.  Your wind turbine provides the exact same type of electricity that your utility company does.

Back to Top

What happens if I am using more electricity than my wind turbine generates?

If you already get electricity from a utility company, then you can (and should) remain tied to the utility grid.  This means that any electricity you need that is not generated from your wind turbine will come from your utility company.

Back to Top

What happens if my wind turbine generates more electricity than I use?

In most cases, if your wind turbine generates more electricity than you are using then your meter will run backwards and you will get credit for the electricity you produce!

Back to Top

What is a “grid-tie” system and how does it work?

This is the most common method of installing a residential wind turbine system.  A “grid-tie” system means that you are connected to both the utility and the wind turbine.  This is the most common way to install a wind turbine as the utility can provide energy when your system is not producing (e.g., when there is no wind).

Back to Top

Will my property taxes increase?

In many states, including California and New Jersey, your property tax will not increase.  Another great reason to invest in a wind turbine!

Back to Top

Are wind turbines under warranty or insured?

Most wind turbines have a 5-10 years manufacturer’s warranty.

Back to Top

What is a battery back-up and do I need one?

Battery back-ups are only recommended for homeowners that are not connected to an existing utility grid.  Generally speaking, however, battery systems are expensive and not recommended for homes that have access to the utility grid (i.e., “grid-tie” systems) – this is the case for most homeowners.

Back to Top

Is maintenance required and/or provided?

Small residential wind turbines do not require regular maintenance. They operate automatically and are designed to work smoothly for over 20 years.  Many wind installers provide options for additional maintenance guarantees.

Back to Top

Are there any permits I need to worry about?

It depends on where you live.  You need to make sure your zoning laws allow for a structure at least 30-50’ tall.  Your wind installer will generally help you take care of this.

Back to Top