The electricity supply in the United States has never been more stretched with extreme weather conditions in all parts of the USA pushing the system to its limits. In August 2011 for example, ERCOT who run most of the power grid in Texas were forced to cut electricity supplies to some big industrial users, because the unprecedented hot summer was causing people to crank up the air conditioning. And even in residential homes there was a very real threat of a repeat of the blackouts that had happened in February 2011 as a result of ice storms.
To get into perspective how real the threat was of blackouts in that Summer, you only have to look at published figures from ERCOT that indicate they were within 50 megawatts, which is roughly the output of 10,000 family homes during the summer, of imposing a blackout.
Texas alone has a population approaching 25 million people, and so 10,000 family homes, containing perhaps 40,000 people, is a drop in the proverbial bucket. The truth is that they came within a hairs breadth of turning out your lights. And in reality Texas is far from alone in its energy issues, with most other states also in crisis mode when it comes to consistently meeting the ever increasing demand for electricity in the United States.
Do DIY Wind Turbine Kits Offer a Potential Solution?
It is with this backdrop that it is well worth becoming acquainted with DIY Wind Turbine Kits that can offer you the safety and security of knowing that you have a proper back-up plan in operation should the electricity in your neighborhood ever be blacked out.
In truth, saving yourself money is currently not a good reason to buy wind turbine kits; because by the time you have factored in the cost of the kits themselves and the fitting it will be many years before you would see a return on your investment.
But there are several other good reasons why you should consider installing a wind turbine in your home:
1/ It provides an Alternative Energy Source – A wind turbine can be quite easily installed in most homes and very rapidly provide an alternative energy source that you can always rely on. It is under your control, not some nameless, faceless government or local power authority, and these forces cannot pull the plug on you.
This is important because while getting a wind turbine in your home doesn’t mean you have to become a hippy, wear sandals and dream about government conspiracies. It does mean that you are taking practical steps to safeguard your own and your families’ energy supply.
2/ To Be Green – It is now generally accepted that global warming is a fact and the coming years are only going to see more storms, more property damage, more extreme summers and winters and more stress on the electricity system.
By utilizing wind turbine kits to build your own wind turbine in your home you are not going to single-handedly save the planet. But like most movements of change, the green movement is predicated on large numbers of people making small changes.
Making use of wind turbine kits is a step in the right direction and you will be doing more than most people to help out.
As the slogan goes, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”, and you can immediately hop onto the side of the green good guys simply by getting a wind turbine.
3/ To provide electricity to outbuildings where otherwise it would be difficult to run the supply – While you probably won’t be able to power your whole house with a wind turbine you install. There is every reason to believe that you could power a small office in your garden, or a greenhouse or some inaccessible place that would otherwise be very difficult to connect up to the electricity grid.
There is a lot of flexibility with these wind turbine kits and you can very quickly figure out power consumption needs by comparing different makes and models.
Let’s now take a look at the typical capabilities, installation issues and costs of Home Wind Turbine Kits:
The fact is that the capabilities of the Wind Turbine Kit that you choose are very much going to depend upon how much you pay for it.
If we split up Wind Turbine Kits for the home into three different price brackets, then we can get a better idea of what you might expect to pay:
1/ Budget Wind Turbine Kits
In the budget, bracket would come kits that cost less than a $1000.
You will find that even the cheapest kits will cost not far short of this figure, though you will find a few at around the $500 – $750 range.
For around this price, you could expect to receive around a 10.6 foot DIY Wind Turbine Package that would provide somewhere in the region of 400 kWh worth of output.
To get that figure into perspective, consider that the average US family used an average of 11,496 kWh in 2010 according to figures from the US Energy Information Administration, and you can see that whilst this is a useful addition to a family’s electricity needs, and could certainly power essential items in an emergency. That it would not be able to power an entire home.
Typical installation would be on your roof, or the highest point that you have available, as clearly the higher you raise it up, the more wind it will catch.
You should check with your local government department as to whether or not you need any planning permissions for the installation.
Installing anything on the roof is not easy because often you will need scaffolding and specialist equipment. So having a wind turbine can cost anywhere from $500 to $20,000 depending on the nature of your property, how hard the install is, and exactly where you want it installed.
You should NEVER purchase a kit before investigating the cost of the install for that Wind Turbine Kit in detail to arrive at a realistic idea of how much the final cost for installation will be. Otherwise, you could be in for a nasty shock when you get a quote of $10,000 to install your $500 wind turbine.
2/ Mid-Level Wind Turbine Kits
Mid-Level Home Wind Turbine Kits cost in the region of $1000 to $15,000.
These work in much the same way as the cheaper kits only with bigger wind turbines, better components, more capacity and often the ability to potentially feed back into the grid system in order to get paid.
The blades for this size can be anywhere up to 80 foot in length, and so they often need to be placed on towers as they are too large for home roofs.
In terms of power these would typically produce 3000 kWh. But the installation costs of these will often skyrocket up to $25,000 and beyond because they are larger and require more infrastructure to be in place.
3/ High-Level Wind Turbine Kits
High-Level Home Wind Turbine Kits cost anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000
These may provide 15,000 kWh of output at the top end of that price range, and so you could realistically power your entire home and still have some left-over supply to sell back to the electricity suppliers.
The flip side is that these can be enormous, noisy and cost large sums to install.
Before embarking on anything as ambitious as installing an expensive wind turbine kit like this you should consider the size of your property and how potentially intrusive a wind turbine as large as this can be.
Typical User Thoughts
Typical users of Home Wind Turbines are often caught between two worlds when reviewing their wind turbine installations, because on the one hand they want to be seen to be environmentally friendly, but on the other hand there are some very real issues with them.
The first of these is that you should really check with your local weather bureau as to how windy the location of its siting will be.
This is an area that many users seem disappointed about after they have purchased Home Wind Turbine Kits, because whilst the stated output may be 400 kWh for example, if there is no wind then obviously the wind turbine will produce very little electricity.
To get 400 kWh for example on a budget wind turbine you need a steady wind of 28 mph, and that is actually a pretty high figure.
The average wind speed in Amarillo Texas, for example, is 13.5 mph, and that falls to just 9 mph in Austin Texas.
So if you buy a wind turbine then do so in the knowledge that it is unlikely that you will max out its potential.
Secondly, buying the kit is not the end of your expense. The installation costs can be staggeringly high, so go into this with your eyes open to that possibility.
Wind Turbine Kits can make a great addition to your energy needs, provide security for your family and give you great green credentials. But be sure to check out the facts of how windy your neighborhood really is, the planning regulations that you have to meet, the likely costs of installation as well as the price of the kit before going down this alternative energy route.