Sometimes your power needs feel so big, it can be hard to imagine that a small wind turbine for home use can make a difference. But even a single small turbine can have a big impact on your power picture.
If you’re not ready to totally switch from the fragile grid to generating your own infinitely renewable wind power, you can still reap meaningful benefits from making a small change: incorporating a small, single-turbine system into your home.
From lower costs in both the short and long term, to giving you a good foothold for expanding your system later, we want to go over some of the ways making this smaller change can be great for you and your independent power goals.
People make the switch to wind and solar power for all sorts of different reasons. From economics to energy independence to ecology, your reasons are your own—and they probably don’t fully fit into just one of these categories.
Whether you’re looking for a reason to switch or doing just a little more research before you make the leap, we hope this list has something that gives you the push you need.
1. A Small Wind Turbine Can Cut Your Electric Bill Today
One of the best things about the wind is that it’s free. Even if you decide to transfer only a portion of your power generation to a wind turbine, you’ll begin to notice your savings right away.
While most of the conversation surrounding the financial benefits of renewables (justifiably) focuses on long-term return on investment (ROI), those savings are driven by the month-to-month reduction in your electric bill. With our eyes set smartly on the long-term, it can be easy to overlook these short-term savings. But each month when you pay your bill, you will effectively have put more money back in your pocket with a single productive turbine.
Staking a portion of your bill to wind keeps that chunk from suddenly costing double. Most households have to keep an eye on the bottom line every month. A small wind turbine for your home can help give you more breathing room every month.
2. Small Wind Turbines are a Good Long-Term Investment
You don’t need a big wind power system for your home to see big changes to your long-term financial picture. As the months and years go by and your turbine spins on, you’ll see how a small turbine can be a great investment.
There’s a bit of a trade-off when it comes to making your wind energy conversion system pay for itself. A smaller system that only covers a portion of your power needs also costs less up front than a more comprehensive setup.
We’ll repeat here what we’ve said before: there are too many variables to accurately predict when your turbine will pay off. Your power consumption, the efficiency of your setup, and the fluctuations of weather all play a role.
Though the rates will vary, at some point, the vast majority of people will have saved enough on electricity to defray the cost of their turbine.
3. Reduce Your Dependence on the Fragile Power Grid
You don’t have to look too far to see evidence that the existing power grid is straining to keep up with the level of demand it regularly faces.
Now, many of our customers for whom this is a primary concern opt for a larger system that allows them to count solely on their own systems for their power. But starting smaller can still benefit your energy independence.
Depending on your consumption, your wind turbine will supplement your energy during your peak consumption hour. At night though, allowing your turbine to charge a battery for backup power can help you bridge the gap during routine outages.
Of course, your battery is not magic. Conserving power by limiting your consumption to strict necessities is crucial to making sure you don’t experience a total interruption of power during an extended blackout.
4. Easily Plan a Small System
As we’ve discussed in a prior blog, many municipalities and counties require you to get planning and zoning permission before erecting a wind turbine on your property.
Specific rules and regulations will vary depending on your location, but it’s generally easier to make small systems fit within the parameters set out by your local zoning board.
Starting with a smaller system means greater flexibility if your plans don’t line up with what’s allowed, less financial outlay that would be caught up in red tape, and less stress when learning your local regulations.
5. A Smaller System is Easier to Install
We’re proud of our track record when it comes to showing absolute novices how to install their own small wind turbines. Over the years we’ve seen all the reasons people succeed on their own and where they need the most help.
One thing that holds true in our experience is that it’s far easier for people who lack wiring or DIY expertise to set up and connect a single turbine than attempt to manage multiple.
Once you have the experience of installing a single turbine under your belt, subsequent installations become much easier.
6. Learn a Small System First
Similarly, fewer components make it easier for you to learn the best way to operate your system in your day-to-day life.
We’ll cover this more in the next section as well, but with just one turbine, generator, charge controller, and battery to manage, you learn each item’s intricacies much more quickly than if you were trying to juggle more components.
Having your feet firmly underneath you thanks to your small turbine means that you can manage a larger system much more quickly and with less stress.
7. Easier Troubleshooting with a Small Turbine
In much the same vein as the previous two entries on this list, having a wind power conversion system with fewer components makes it much easier to identify potential issues should they ever arise.
Removing the multiple variables of a larger system allows you (or our attentive, expert support staff) to look more closely at the components of your system, fix your issues faster, and get you back up and running.
8. Get a Good View of Your Consumption
Monitoring your monthly power bill does more than just give you an overview of how your wind turbine is performing, it lets you quantify just how much power you’re consuming on a regular basis.
When you see firsthand just how much of your power comes from your wind turbine or, by contrast, how high your demand surpasses your turbine’s peak supply, it paints a clear picture of just how much you consume.
Whether you’re making plans on what to prioritize in case of emergencies or trying to calculate how many turbines or solar panels you would need to supply all your power needs, this attention shows you where you stand.
9. Scale a Small Wind Power System at Your Own Pace
Lastly, just because you’re starting with a small wind turbine for home use doesn’t mean your system has to stay small.
Once you see what one wind turbine is capable of, you can imagine what two or three can do for you.
How many turbines would it take to meet your goals? Is it feasible to incorporate solar panels into your system? Instead of just giving these questions your best guess, now you can approach them with actual information.
My charge controller says it’s rated for a larger load than output than my small wind turbine is providing. Can I still connect it to my turbine?
Yes! The rating of your charge controller is just a maximum. You won’t harm anything if your output is under that number. Just make sure that when you expand your system, you don’t exceed that rating.
What is a diversion load and do I need one with my wind turbine?
A diversion or dump load allows your wind turbine to unload its excess power when your batteries are full and your power needs are met.
A wind turbine must remain loaded while operating, otherwise it risks spinning out of control, which can damage or destroy the system and may pose a risk to people and property.
All wind turbines must have a diversion load. Even in a grid-tied system, your excess power will not flow to the grid when the grid is down, so a diversion load must always be in place.
Can I use two wind turbines with one charge controller?
Yes! As long as you don’t exceed the controller’s rating, you can connect as many as you like.
It helps to remember that the turbines connect to the battery, which then connects to the charge controller, which monitors the battery’s load.
How do I know if I will even be able to generate power from a wind turbine where I live?
Where you live can be huge in determining if wind power is right for you. Maps from NOAA and Windy.com can give you a good start in determining the average wind speed in your area at different elevations.
Most wind turbines start generating power at wind speeds of 6.7 miles per hour (mph), and are rated for gusts up to 35 mph. We recommend a tower that can be lowered in winds of 35 mph and higher to prevent debris damage to the turbine.
Remember that local geographic features (mountains, bluffs, etc.,) can affect the way the wind flows in and around your property. Wind speeds also increase with altitude, so a higher pole will generally yield better results.