The UK is an ideal country for small domestic wind turbines as 40% of all the wind energy in Europe blows over us. Wind turbines have large blades which catch the wind forcing them round, driving a turbine which generates electricity. The more wind there is the more electricity is generated.
Small systems known as “microwind” or “small-wind” turbines can produce electricity to help power the lights and electrical appliances in a typical home. The wind turbines are free standing and positioned in exposed locations where the wind speeds are at minimum 5m/s, usually a 2.5kw-6kw.
If your small wind system is connected to the National Grid then you can make money by selling any generated electricity to an electricity supply company.
The benefits of wind electricity
- Harness a plentiful energy source: in the UK we have 40% of Europe’s total wind energy.
- Cut your carbon footprint: wind electricity is green, renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants.
- Cut your electricity bills: wind is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced.
- Store electricity for a calm day: if your home isn’t connected to the National Grid you can store excess electricity in batteries and use it when there is no wind.
- Sell electricity back to the grid: if your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can’t use it, someone else can use it – and you could make a bit of money.
Costs, Saving and Maintenance
Costs: Free standing turbines cost between £15,000 and £24,000, including VAT at 5% and installation.
Savings: Recent monitoring of a range of small domestic wind systems has shown that a well sited 6kW turbine could generate around 10,000kWh per year which is equivalent to around 5.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. A system this size could generate income and savings of around £3,200 a year when eligible for the Feed In Tariff.
Maintenance: checks are necessary every few years, and a well-maintained turbine should last over 20 years. For off-grid systems, battery life is typically between 6 and 10 years.