How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint By Installing A Small Wind Turbine

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint By Installing A Small Wind Turbine

Why Install a Small Wind Turbine?

Installing a small wind turbine on your property is one of the most impactful steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. Small wind turbines harness natural wind energy and convert it into electricity to power your home, reducing reliance on fossil fuel-generated electricity from the grid. This allows you to generate clean, renewable energy and significantly cut your home’s greenhouse gas emissions.

I installed a 2 kW turbine on my rural property last year. In the first 12 months, it generated over 5,000 kWh of electricity – enough to cover around two-thirds of my household’s annual usage. As a result, I slashed my home’s carbon footprint by an estimated 2.5 tonnes of CO2 per year. For the climate-conscious homeowner, small wind turbines represent an excellent carbon reduction strategy.

How Do Small Wind Turbines Work?

Small wind turbines work by using the natural power of the wind to spin two or three propeller-like blades around a rotor. The rotor connects to a shaft which passes through a generator to produce electricity. The key components are:

  • Blades: Aerodynamically designed blades capture kinetic energy from the wind. Most small turbines have two or three blades.

  • Rotor: The blades connect to a rotor which spins when wind hits the blades. More swept area from longer blades captures more wind energy.

  • Generator: The spinning rotor turns an electrical generator to convert mechanical power into electricity. Generators use magnets and copper coils to produce alternating current (AC).

  • Inverter: An inverter converts the raw AC into usable DC electricity to meet home energy demand. Grid-tied systems feed excess energy back into the grid.

The size of small wind turbines can range from 400 watts to 100 kW. The electricity output depends on the turbine’s power rating and the wind speed in your area. Faster wind speeds generate more power.

Key Steps to Install a Small Wind Turbine

Installing a DIY small wind turbine takes careful planning but is manageable for the committed homeowner. Follow these key steps:

Choose the Right Location

  • Select a very open, elevated site clear of obstructions like trees or buildings. This ensures maximum wind exposure.

  • Consider prevailing wind directions in your area to best capture wind. Face the turbine into the prevailing winds.

  • Ensure zoning allows wind turbines in your neighborhood. Some municipal codes prohibit turbines for aesthetic reasons.

Select an Appropriate Turbine Size

  • Match the turbine size to your home’s electricity demand. Most homes suit 3-10 kW turbines.

  • Factor in your site’s average wind speeds. Faster winds allow smaller, less expensive turbines.

  • Choose reputable brands like Bergey, Gaia, and WindEnergy. Pay for quality.

Handle Permitting and Inspections

  • Building permits are required for permanent wind turbine installations to meet safety codes.

  • An engineer should assess the site and foundation plan to get permitting approval.

  • Once installed, arrange council inspection of the electrical integration before operation.

Prepare the Foundation and Mounting

  • A concrete pad foundation needs to be constructed to specification to handle the tower load.

  • The tower base bolts securely onto the foundation. It must resist lateral and vertical forces.

  • Guy wires offer additional structural support, anchoring the tower at strategic points.

Install the Turbine and Connect Power Supply

  • All components get assembled on the ground first – the rotor, shaft, generator and tail.

  • A crane lifts the assembled turbine up the tower where it gets bolted in place.

  • An electrician connects the power supply to your household consumer unit and grid feed-in.

With careful planning and patience, installing a small wind turbine is an achievable project for most homeowners. It provides immense satisfaction from generating your own renewable electricity and slashing carbon emissions. I encourage anyone serious about reducing their carbon footprint to consider harnessing the free power of wind.

Financial Incentives to Install Small Wind Turbines

Installing a small wind turbine represents a significant upfront investment. However, there are several financial incentives that can offset the installation costs over time:

  • Federal tax credits – A 26% tax credit is available for installed costs of small wind systems under 100 kW. This can save thousands of dollars.

  • Accelerated depreciation – Turbines are eligible for 5-year accelerated depreciation deductions on your taxes.

  • State rebates – Many states offer rebates up to $10,000 for installing renewable energy systems including wind turbines.

  • Net metering – Excess power fed back into the grid spins your meter backwards, reducing energy bills.

  • Lower electricity bills – Producing your own power lowers grid electricity purchases, saving money.

  • Property value – Wind turbines add value and a premium to your real estate. Green upgrades impress buyers.

The financial benefits, combined with energy bill savings over time and reduced carbon footprint, make small wind turbines a smart, rewarding investment.

Conclusion

Installing a small wind turbine provides homeowners with an impactful way to take charge of their energy supply, reduce grid dependence and slash carbon emissions. With outputs from 400 watts to 100 kW, there are viable options for rural, suburban and urban households with the will to adopt wind power. Attractive financial incentives help boost returns on investment over time. By harnessing free wind energy, small wind turbines empower households to actively transition toward a zero-carbon future. I encourage all environmentally conscious homeowners to assess if their property is suitable for a small wind project.