Residential Wind Power

Residential wind power is still second in growth to commercial wind power, but the statistics indicate there are more and more homeowners realizing the benefits of wind power for homes.

graphic of residential wind power with home and wind turbine

Wind energy is often used in conjunction with solar energy, as they work well together and their benefits are complimentary. For example, if the sun isn't shining one day, the wind may be blowing instead!

Rising power costs and greater awareness of how wind energy works and how it can be beneficial are the two factors that have contributed to the increase in residential wind turbine systems across the country.

How Does Wind Power Work for My Home?

A wind turbine, which you can make yourself in many cases, is placed on top of a tall tower. When the wind blows and the turbine is activated, it collects the kinetic energy from the wind and then converts that energy into electricity that will work in your home.

Most residences are serviced by the power generated by the wind turbine, but in conjunction with the local utility company.

There will be days when the wind doesn't blow, so in that case, the utility company provides the energy needs for the home. However, there will also be times when the wind provides more energy than the home requires and in that case, the power company will purchase all of the "extra" power.

Benefits of Residential Wind Power

  • Wind energy is environmentally friendly

  • Wind energy is clean

  • It's an inexhaustible/renewable energy source

  • Wind power can offset greenhouse gases and air pollutants produced by fossil fuels

  • Residential size wind turbines make less noise than a washing machine

  • Produces no carbon dioxide during operation

Drawbacks of Residential Wind Power

  • It's possible for birds and bats to fly into the turbine and be killed

  • The initial investment isn't returned for at least 6 years, but it could take longer

  • Aesthetics of landscape are altered

  • Shadow flickers on the homes of neighbors

Cost and Maintenance of a Residential Wind Turbine

The initial cost of a single wind turbine to service a residential dwelling can be a bit cost prohibitive for some people. The price range is $6,000 to $22,000. That range depends on the installation costs, the size of the turbine, height of the tower, and the service agreement the manufacturer offers/requires. Of course, if you are able to install the turbine yourself, you'll save quite a bit of money.

There is literally no maintenance required for a residential wind turbine. There are only a few moving parts, everything operates automatically, and the turbine is usually guaranteed to operate correctly for the lifespan of about 20 years.

Zoning Codes for Building and Erecting a Wind Turbine

The zoning codes for most cities, towns, and rural areas are written in such a way that wind turbines are not covered. This means you'll most likely have to apply for a building permit with your local zoning board.

The board can then grant you (or not) what is called a variance or conditional use permit. This permit gives you permission to build the wind turbine with the understanding that it is something that is not included in the existing zoning code for your community and with specific conditions or stipulations in place.

Every state is different when it comes to wind turbines, so be sure to check with your local zoning board prior to building or ordering a residential wind generator (turbine) for your home.

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