Homeowners are experiencing a steady rise in energy bills due to raised prices on electricity. To combat this growing problem, homeowners may purchase new, more efficient appliances. They also may begin turning off energy draining items during the day time or using their appliances at off-peak energy hours when costs are lower.
Enterprising do-it-yourselfers may wish to take their energy efficiency to the next level and generate it themselves on their own land. Installing a windmill can generate enough electricity to power a single family home in suitable conditions. In excellent conditions, a wind generator can exceed the electrical needs of the home and electricity can be sold back to the local utilities company which will then issue the homeowners a check for the overage.
Do I Have Space for a Personal Wind Farm?
Windmills are available in two basic designs: propeller style and “egg-beater”. Propeller style windmills are the most commonly recognized, constructed of two or three paddle shaped rotors on the end of a tall pole. “Egg-beater” windmills use two blades that curve around the central pole and are welded to the top and bottom of the machine. They turn in a cylindrical manner around the center pole when the wind blows.
No minimum amount of land is required to erect a residential windmill. Homeowners should take into consideration how close they want the windmill to their own home and investigate the zoning laws of their town-ship. Many town-ships already have zoning laws in place that dictate the allowable size of rotor blades and the height of the central pole in a residential setting.
The size of windmills placed on residential properties averages between 100 and 130 feet (about 30 to 40 meters) in height and uses rotor blades between 20 and 26 feet (about 6 to 8 meters) in diameter. Smaller windmills are available for those more limited in space or concerned with appearances near neighborhoods. Most windmills are rated by the manufacturer for their intended kilowatt production based on the size of the rotor blades and wind expectations in favorable conditions.
Are Windmills Worth the Financial Investment?
Windmill dealers will be able to estimate for the homeowner how much electricity the windmill can generate annually in good conditions. The homeowner should calculate before meeting with a dealer how much electricity the home uses yearly by examining previous electricity bills. Double check the quoted power output of the windmill with some simple calculations to determine if the estimate is sound. To find out the potential annual output of a windmill, use this formula issued by the US Department of Energy: