How do wind turbines work?
Wind turbines use large blades to catch the wind, forcing them round to turn a turbine which generates electricity. The stronger the wind, the more electricity is produced.
If your small wind system is connected to the national grid, you can make money by selling it to electricity supply company. The electricity generated will also be eligible for FiTs payments as long as an MCS-approved turbine is installed by an MCS-approved installer. If the system is not connected to the grid, then excess electricity can be stored in batteries for use when there is no wind.
Is wind electricity suitable for my home?
To tell if a small-scale domestic wind turbine is right for you, there are a few key points to consider:
• Are there any large obstacles like buildings, trees or hills near your home? Small domestic wind turbines (eg. 5-20 kW) work best in exposed locations, without turbulence caused by these types of obstacles
• Is your home in a windy area? To be effective you need an average wind speed of at least 5m/s (see www.decc.gov.uk/en/windspeed/default.aspx).
• Is your home located away from the National Grid? Small domestic wind turbines are particularly suitable for use in remote locations where mains electricity is unavailable.
Do you need planning permission?
Small domestic wind systems normally require planning permission from your local authority, so check before you install your system.
How big to go?
An average household requires anything from 4-18,000 kWh/year, depending on the method of heating. If power is only required for lights and appliances then consumption would be at the lower end of the scale.
A 2.5 kW turbine produces around 4,000 kWh/year and is suitable for normal domestic use. Surplus electricity is exported to the grid when produced and imported when required. Alternatively, especially in remote areas, ‘off-the-grid’ spare energy could be stored in deep-cycle batteries for use when the turbine is not producing.
In a suitable site a 6 kW turbine produces on average 10,000 kWh/year, which would provide an income from both FiTs and surplus electricity if the home is heated by a non-electrical source. A 15kW turbine would provide a good income from FiTs plus surplus, producing around 30,000 kWh/year,depending on location.
How much will a fully installed system cost?
• 2.5kW turbine will cost about £15,000
• 6 kW turbine will cost about £26,000
• 15 kW turbine will cost about £50,000
Which model to choose?
Advice should be sought from your chosen installer as to the appropriate model for your site.
Click here to read about the Kingspan turbine
Click here to read about the Gaia turbine
Click here to read about the Evance Turbine
For further information on wind turbines, please visit here