Knowledge Base

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Subject Wind Power for my home
Author Sascha Deri
> I need information about using wind as an alternet power source. I also need to know what I will need as far as parts and the cost. Also if you might have a complete package for home use.

The average home in the US uses about 600 kWh of electriciy per months and spends about $100 per month. This average home will spend about $30,000 on a wind energy system to run the entire home. If you use much less electricity or have a better than average wind resource you may be able to spend less than this to run your entire home.

If this is more than you woulld like to spend there are alternatives. The question is why are you interested in using wind energy? Is it because you need some back-up electricity for when the utilty grid is unavailable? Or is it because you want to spend less money per month on electricity? In either case it is possible to install a smaller and less expensive system that will supply a portion of your electricty needs.

If it is because you want to spend less money per month then you may want to start by hiring a solar person or energy efficiency person in you area to come into your home and suggest ways of reducing your electricity consumption. These ways may be as easy as changing all your light bulbs to compact flourescents or as difficult as changing out your old electric water heater for a propane or natural gas model. Any of these things will save money to different degrees. Once your home is as efficient as it can be then you may want to consider installing a wind generator for "utility intertie". This type of system will feed wind generated electricity back into your utility lines and off-set power you would otherwise buy from the utility. It essentially turns your meter backwards. This system may not cover your entire electricity bill and can be as large or small as your budget allows with certain limitations on the size of the utility intertie inverters you have to choose from. This type of system is subject to acceptance from your local utility so you may want to contact them to see what their terms are. This type of system has very limited battery storage capacity in order to keep the price down so it is not typically thought of as offering back-up power.

If you are interested in wind energy to provide back up power during utility outages in your area I still suggest doing whatever you can to increase the efficiency of your home first. A back-up power system like this is generally used to provide power for "priority loads " when the utility grid is unavailable. Every one has their own priority loads but they generally include the refrigerator, water pump, heater blower and some lights for example. The wind generator and battery bank are sized to power these priority loads for a period of a couple of days or how ever long you typically are without power. This system can be set up so that it powers the prioriy loads all the time or so that it only comes on when the grid goes down. This system also can be as small or large as your budget allows. The smaller the budget the more selective you will have to be about which loads to run.

If you want to pursue a a back-up power system the next step is for you to identify your priority loads, determine the electricity draw and hours of run time for each one. Further information on how to do a load calcuation is located our University section. If you want to pursue a utility intertie system I must have some idea of your budget or what portion of your electric bill you would like to try to off-set.

I know this is a lot of information to digest. Please review this information and consider the main question - what is your goal in installing a wind energy system. I am happy to expand on whichever of these options seems appealing by offering rough system quotes based on your budget or electricity needs. Please do not hesitate to contact me with further questions or to continue the discussion.
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