How Many Homes Can a Wind Turbine Power? What You Need To Know!
A lot goes into determining how much a wind turbine can power. It depends a lot on placement. For instance, if you place a turbine on a cleared hill, it will have unobstructed access to the wind. However, you can’t shove a wind turbine in a forest and expect the same results. Different geographical areas get more wind than others, as well.
Not all wind turbines are the same size, either. Taller turbines usually get more wind and, therefore, produce more power. However, bigger isn’t always better. Larger turbines can be difficult for the wind to turn, for instance.
With that said, of the turbines currently installed in the United States, the average turbine produces enough power for over 460 U.S. homes per year. Of course, different homes produce more energy, so this is an average.
Factors that Affect Wind Energy
There are various limits to the effectiveness of wind energy. If a wind turbine is not the right size or in the right place, its ability to produce power will be negatively affected.
- Location: A wind turbine needs to be placed in a location that regularly gets a lot of wind. Regularity is more important than strong wind occasionally, as a wind turbine limits the amount of power it can produce every second. High winds likely aren’t harvested to a full extent. However, regular winds can be harvested completely and produce more power over time.
- Height: Usually, wind turbines are placed up high to get them out of the way of obstructions. You don’t want trees or homes obstructing the wind, after all. However, you don’t want to place towers too high, affecting air density.
- Air Density: As you move higher, the air density decreases. Therefore, the effectiveness of the wind turbine decreases too. Most turbines are placed near the ocean, as those areas tend to have the lowest elevation (and the most regular winds). If you place a turbine on a mountain, it isn’t going to do much. This also affects how tall you can make a turbine before the height no longer provides extra power.
- Wind Speed: The wind of the speed does matter. Generally, the energy produced increases a lot for every little bit that the wind speed increases. However, very high, occasional winds can’t always be harvested entirely. Therefore, regular winds are more important than occasional high winds.
- Betz Limit: This factor is named after Albert Betz, who was a German physicist that calculated that the maximum efficiency of a wind turbine is 59%. Therefore, a wind turbine can only be so effective. However, most wind turbines do not actually reach this level of efficiency on a practical level. They are usually much lower.
How Many Homes Can the Largest Wind Turbine Power?
Currently, the world’s largest wind turbine can power over 8,000 homes on its own. It is much larger than the average American wind turbine. This technology is newer, though. It will take some time for it to be available everywhere and utilized in wind turbines, which usually stay up for quite some time.
Therefore, the capabilities of the average turbine usually lag behind the technology. We aren’t taking down turbines and throwing up new ones all the time.
Furthermore, it isn’t easy to find perfect conditions for wind turbines, so many of them do not produce to full capacity.
Can One Wind Turbine Power a House?
There are a lot of factors involved. Usually, wind turbines that are put up for a single house are not the size of your average commercial wind turbine, which tends to be extremely large and expensive. Plus, the area you’re located in also matters. Wind turbines need a clear, open area to work efficiently, but they can’t be at too high of an elevation, or their efficiency also decreases.
In the right conditions, a wind turbine can absolutely power a home. However, even if the conditions in your area aren’t perfect, one wind turbine may still be enough. Commercial turbines can often produce enough power for a home in less than a day. Therefore, you don’t need optimal conditions for a single turbine to provide enough power over a year.
You need a wind turbine that can produce about 5 to 15 kilowatts a day to power a whole home. In many cases, this can be achieved.
With that said, that doesn’t mean that everyone should use a wind turbine for their home. Unless you live in an empty field, it may not be practical. There is often a huge upfront cost. If you don’t plan to live on that property forever, it probably isn’t the best option.
Sometimes, it is simply easier and more cost-effective to use solar or another renewable resource as well.
How Much Does a Wind Turbine Cost for a Home?
Wind turbines are often quite expensive for homes. They are larger structures that require a lot of specific electronics. Plus, there really aren’t that many of them available, so the scarcity also drives the price. The capacity also matters.
Usually, you can expect to pay around $3000 to $8000 per kilowatt of capacity for your average wind turbine. A decently sized home will need one that is at least 10 kilowatts, so you’re looking at $50,000 to $80,000.
Unless you’re living in an area where wind power is very practical, these wind turbines often aren’t worth it. They are too expensive, and potential buyers are often better served by choosing a different renewable energy source..
Yes, wind turbines do work for some pieces of property, but that doesn’t mean that they are the best option.
Can I Put a Wind Turbine on my Property?
Yes. You can put one on your property unless specific local restrictions prevent you from doing so. Because this isn’t common in most areas, wind turbines often aren’t mentioned. Some cities do have generalized zoning requirements that would cover them, though. Permits are required in some areas. In some cases, the installer may take care of this for you.
However, if you live in a suburban area, that doesn’t mean that you won’t get complaints. The city may order you to take it down in some cases, but this is likely quite rare. There aren’t many cases of this happening.
- See Also: 13 Home Staging Statistics and Facts
Wind turbines are often powerful enough to make plenty of energy to power multiple homes. People often use them to power their homes, specifically if they want to use a more natural energy source. However, wind turbines are often not very practical for most single homes.
While wind turbines already make quite a bit of energy, they are always getting better. Therefore, you can expect them to get better in the following years.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay