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Wind turbines

Typical pole mounted wind turbine

Generate electricity at home with small-scale wind turbines

Wind turbines harness the power of the wind and use it to generate electricity. Small systems known as "microwind" or "small-wind" turbines can produce electricity to help power the lights and electrical appliances in a typical home.

See how wind turbines work with your home

 

40% of all the wind energy in Europe blows over the UK, making it an ideal country for small domestic turbines.

  • How do small domestic wind turbines work?
  • The benefits of wind electricity
  • Is wind electricity suitable for my home?
  • Making the most of wind electricity
  • Costs and savings
  • Find out more

 

How do wind turbines work?

Wind turbines use large blades to catch the wind. When the wind blows the blades are forced round, driving a turbine which generates electricity. The stronger the wind, the more electricity produced.

There are two types of domestic-sized wind turbine:

  • Mast mounted: these are free standing and are erected in a suitably exposed position, often around 2.5kW to 6kW
  • Roof mounted: these are smaller than mast mounted systems and can be installed on the roof of a home where there is a suitable wind resource. Often these are around 1kW to 2kW in size.

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.

Read more about selling your own energy

From 1st April 2010 you could be eligible to receive cash for each unit of electricity you generate using this technology.

Find out more about the Clean Energy Cashback Scheme

 

If the turbine is not connected to the electricity grid then unused electricity can be stored in a battery for use when there is no wind.

 

In the UK we have 40% of Europe's total wind energy

 

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.

 

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 questions to consider:

  • Are there any large obstacles like buildings, trees or hills near your home? Small domestic wind turbines work best in exposed locations, without turbulence caused by these type of obstacles
  • Is your home is a windy area? To be effective you need an average windspeed of no less than 5m/s.
  • Is your home located away from the National Grid? Small domestic wind systems are particularly suitable for use in remote locations where mains electricity is unavailable.
  • Do you need planning permission? Small domestic wind systems normally do require permission from your local authority, so check before you install a system.

 

Read more about planning permission for renewable energy technologies

Use our new wind speed prediction tool to help determine if your site has a good enough wind speed for a domestic scale wind turbine

To find out if a small domestic wind generator is suitable for your home use our Home Energy Generation Selector tool.

Making the most of wind electricity

To make the electricity you produce go further:

  • invest in energy efficient appliances - find energy saving products
  • use energy when the wind is blowing - do your laundry on a windy day to take advantage of the free electricity
  • charge up your batteries whenever you have excess electricity

 

Costs and savings

Costs for a roof mounted microwind system start at about £1,500. Larger mast mounted systems cost between £11,000 and £19,000, including installation. These provide enough electricity for lighting and appliances in a typical home.

Savings: Recent monitoring of a range of small domestic wind systems has shown that a well sited 2.5kW turbine could save around £380 a year off electricity bills when some generation is exported, and a saving of around 2.6tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

Maintenance checks are necessary every few years, and a well-maintained turbine should last over 20 years. Battery storage life is typically between 6 and 10 years.

Find out more

What is suitable for your home?
To find renewable technologies to suit your home, try the Energy Saving Trust home energy generation selector

Technologies
For more information on home energy generation technologies, contact your local Energy Saving Trust Advice Centre on 0800 512 012.

For specific technology questions, visit the British Wind Energy Association

Selling your own electricity
You can make money on the electricity you generate or export back to the grid. Read more about selling your own energy

Sign up for regular email updates to help you save money and energy

Find out more about the Clean Energy Cashback Scheme

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