Quantcast

Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
The Green Life: Can I Build a Backyard Wind Turbine?

« Wildlife-Friendly Trash Disposal: Balloons | Main | Wildlife-Friendly Trash Disposal: Fishing Line »

February 20, 2013

Can I Build a Backyard Wind Turbine?

Ask Mr. GreenHey Mr. Green,

I’d love to be able to build a wind turbine to generate electricity on my property. Is that even possible? And if so, what do I need to know? 

--Jesse in Half Moon Bay, California

Home wind energy is doable. But first, ask your zoning and building-code authorities whether a turbine of any size would be legal on your property. Local rules are all over the map: Some places might let you erect a turbine in a cemetery, while others won’t allow you to plant so much as a Porta-Potty on your premises. Also, understand that a turbine big enough to power a household typically needs at least an acre of space.

Next, to see about how much electricity you can expect to generate, try a tool like the one at solar-estimate.org and get turbine dealers’ estimates. A $20,000 turbine typically cranks out 3,500 kilowatt-hours per year. Homes in the U.S. consume an average of 12,000 kWh a year, though this can vary greatly; my three-hominid house uses only 2,800 kWh a year.

Installing your own device isn’t for the general handyperson, so unless you’re a pro, leave the job to the dealer (DIY gizmos are available, but their output is low.) Try for a turbine approved by the Small Wind Certification Council.

Tax credits and rebates (see dsireusa.org) can cut the cost of a turbine by thousands of dollars, depending on its location and utility and government policies. The IRS, for example, lets you knock 30% of a turbine’s price off your taxes.

Wind power’s not always a breeze, but with 20 million U.S. homes sited on an acre or more, it has some real residential potential.

Got an eco-question? Ask Mr. Green!

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b96069e2017c36ffb34a970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Can I Build a Backyard Wind Turbine?:

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...