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How Much Does a Windmill or Turbine Cost? (Is It Worth It?)

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The windmill has been around for centuries, and was once used to grind corn and wheat into flour. Today, this machine is used to generate electricity, pump water, or cool buildings. But how much does one cost?

On average, a windmill or turbine costs $1,382 per kilowatt. This cost increases with the size of the windmill and the quality of materials used to build it. On the contrary, it reduces in states that offer financial incentives for using wind energy.

Read on for more insights into the typical cost of a windmill, the cost of maintaining one, and tips on what to consider when deciding if you need one.

How Much Does a Small Wind Turbine Cost?

Small wind turbines cost $900 to $5,000. Often, the turbine’s power output determines its price. For example, a turbine rated 1.5kW is highly likely to be more expensive than one rated 2.5kW.

Besides power output, several factors will determine the price of a small wind turbine. Here’s a rundown of some of these factors:

  • The turbine’s blade length and its material: In general, the longer the blade, the more electricity it can produce. However, this comes at a cost– the manufacturer must use more material to make these elongated blades. As a result, you may have to pay more for a turbine with longer blades than you would for one with shorter ones.
  • The size of the generator: The generator’s size determines how much electricity the small wind turbine can produce. Thus, it also influences the price of the unit. Generally, bigger generators produce more power, and you may have to pay more for these high-performing machines.
  • Whether or not it’s a direct drive or geared design: Direct-drive turbines have no gearbox, which makes them more reliable but also more expensive. Geared turbines have a gearbox, making them less reliable but cheaper.
  • The type of tower required to install the machine: The cost of the small wind turbine includes not only its price at purchase, but also the costs of construction and installation. This is because you need a proper tower to erect it on your property.
  • Whether or not it uses rare-earth permanent magnets (neodymium): These magnets are expensive, so turbines that use them will likely be more costly.

As you can see, numerous factors determine the price of a small wind turbine. That’s why there isn’t a single figure that represents how much one costs. Besides, prices vary from one manufacturer to another.

That being said, here are two of the best small wind turbines to consider when buying one:

  • GOWE Wind Turbine Generator (available on Amazon.com): The GOWE Wind Turbine Generator is a top-of-the-line machine that is sure to meet your needs. It comes with a generator rated at 3kW, making it perfect for small businesses or homes. Additionally, it includes a grid tie controller and inverter, so you can rest assured that it will connect seamlessly to your electrical system.
  • Windmax HY400 (available on Amazon.com): The Windmax HY400 is perfect for homeowners who want a small, affordable turbine. It’s rated at 400W and comes with a grid tie controller, blades, and screws/bolts. Best of all, Windmax promises that maintenance will be free for the turbine’s life.

What Other Costs Are There To Maintain a Small Wind Turbine?

To keep your turbine running smoothly and producing energy as efficiently as possible, you’ll need to perform regular maintenance.

Other costs to maintain a small wind turbine average between $0.014 and $0.018 per kWh of energy produced. These costs cover: 

  • Inspecting and cleaning the blades
  • Inspecting and lubricating the bearing
  • Maintaining the gearbox
  • Checking the generator
  • Repairing the inverter
  • Inspecting the wiring

Bonus: Inspecting and maintaining the tower

Here’s a rundown of what each of the mentioned activities entails:

Inspecting and Cleaning the Blades

The blades of a small wind turbine are sturdy, but they can still accumulate dirt and rust over time, causing a decline in performance by up to 30%.

Because of that, you’ll need to inspect them regularly for signs of wear and tear and clean them to ensure they remain in tip-top shape.

Every 6-12 months, you should inspect your turbine blades for dirt, debris, and damage. If the blades are dirty, you can clean them with a soft brush or cloth.

Caution: Be sure not to use harsh chemicals or solvents, as they may damage the blade surface.

Inspecting and Lubricating the Bearing

The bearings are critical components of a small wind turbine. They allow the turbine’s shaft to rotate freely while transferring minimal torque loads to the rest of the machine.

To keep your bearings in good condition, you’ll need to inspect and lubricate them regularly.

Every 6-12 months, you should check the bearing for proper lubrication, tightness, and signs of wear or damage. If the bearing is dry, you can apply a light coat of oil. Be sure not to use too much, or it will seep into the electrical workings of the machine.

Maintaining the Gearbox

The gearbox is another important part of a small wind turbine. It converts the slow rotation of the tower into a higher rotation that the generator can use to produce electricity.

Because of that, it’s critical to inspect and maintain your gearbox regularly to ensure its parts are properly lubricated and working together efficiently.

You’ll need to regularly check your small turbine for blue or black grease, which indicates wear inside the bearings. When applicable, you should also perform routine oil changes.

Checking the Generator

The generator is responsible for converting the mechanical energy produced by your turbine into electrical energy.

Over time, dust and dirt can accumulate on the machine’s stator (the stationary part of the generator), causing its performance to drop significantly.

Therefore, to keep your generator performing as it should, you’ll need to perform routine inspections.

You should check your small wind turbine’s generator every 6-12 months for signs of rust or damage, as well as evaluate its insulation and wiring connections. If necessary, clean away any debris with a soft brush to restore full functionality.

Repairing the Inverter

The inverter is another component of your small wind turbine that needs to be in top working condition at all times.

If it’s damaged or nonfunctional, you won’t generate electricity from your turbine.

Because of that, regular inspections and maintenance are a must for small wind turbines with an inverter. You should inspect the inverter every 6-12 months for signs of wear, clean the connectors with a dry brush, and repair any defects found.

Inspecting the Wiring

Since your wiring connects every part of your wind turbine, it is another system that needs proper care and attention to ensure efficient operation. You’ll need to check the wiring every 6-12 months for signs of corrosion or damage, as well as evaluate the insulation.

Inspecting and Maintaining the Tower

Your small wind turbine’s tower acts as a support system for your machine, with its sturdy base keeping it upright in even the windiest conditions.

Because of that, it needs routine inspections to ensure efficient performance over time. You’ll need to inspect your small wind turbine’s tower every 6 months for signs of corrosion or damage.

You can also check the bolts regularly (every 3-6 months) for tightness, ensuring your tower doesn’t collapse due to weak or loose connections.

In a nutshell, you need to inspect your turbine regularly to keep it running smoothly. This is why it’s important to consider maintenance costs when deciding whether or not to purchase a small wind turbine.

How Long Does a Windmill Take To Pay for Itself?

After a certain amount of time, your wind turbine will have paid for itself and you’ll begin to generate electricity free of charge.

Typically, a windmill takes 10-20 years to pay for itself. Generally, smaller windmills will take longer to break even than bigger ones. Nonetheless, both come with the benefit of clean, more affordable energy once they break even.

The length of time it takes for this to happen depends on several factors:

  • The size of the turbine
  • Where you live (the average wind speed)
  • Whether or not there are government incentives that help offset initial costs

In terms of time, bigger turbines generally pay for themselves more quickly than bigger ones. In addition, those who live in areas with higher average wind speeds save money faster.

Lastly, if your state offers tax incentives or other financial benefits to small wind turbine owners, you’ll save more money and pay back your investment faster.

Are Small Wind Turbines Worth the Money?

In general, small wind turbines are worth the money. They produce clean energy, require less fuel, and help reduce power costs. However, it takes years for owners to recover the initial costs.  

Therefore, it’s important to weigh the costs and benefits of a specific model before making a purchase. After all, while an efficient larger turbine might be great in performance and reliability, its higher price tag could deter potential buyers who don’t have the budget for one.

This is why it’s always best to do your research before investing in a small wind turbine. That way, you can be sure to get the optimal model for your needs and budget.

This video describes the benefits of wind energy in more detail:

Can I Put a Wind Turbine on My Property?

You can put a wind turbine on your property as long as you have enough room to install one and the local zoning laws permit it. Also, keep in mind the average wind speed in your area and whether or not you live in an open or populated area.

Higher wind speeds are necessary to produce optimum energy. If you live in a densely populated area with lower average wind speeds, a wind turbine might not be the best option for you.

Nonetheless, it would help to remember that wind turbines can fit into nearly every location possible: from coastal regions to mountain tops.

Also, remember that some states offer financial incentives for those who decide to go green with their energy use by installing wind turbines or solar panels.

How Much Do Farmers Get Paid for Wind Turbines?

A wind turbine and dollar bills

Farmers are typically paid between $3000 and $7000 annually for a wind turbine. Generally, bigger turbines earn farmers more revenue. In addition, some farmers lease their land to wind companies in exchange for a percentage of the profits earned. 

That being said, here are some tips to earn the highest revenues from your wind turbines:

  • Place turbines where there’s the most wind. This will ensure they generate the greatest amount of energy possible.
  • Rent your land to companies that can build turbines on it. The more revenue you bring in, the better.
  • Do research into what different companies offer and ask for quotes before choosing one. You’ll get a better deal this way than if you simply take the first offer given to you.

Do Farmers Own the Wind Turbines?

In most cases, farmers do not own the wind turbines on their property. Rather, they are paid a yearly lease to have them installed. In some cases, farmers are given a percentage of the profits made from the sale of energy generated by the wind turbine.

This payment is oftentimes recurring, meaning that the farmer will continue to receive payments as long as the turbine is operational.

The upside to this arrangement is that there is usually no maintenance cost incurred by the farmer.

In addition, this setup allows farmers to continue farming their land while also benefiting financially from renewable energy production. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Conclusion

Wind turbines offer an affordable, reliable, and clean source of energy. They’re a great option for those looking to reduce their monthly power costs or go green. While there are initial costs associated with installing a wind turbine, these typically pay for themselves in 10 to 20 years.

In addition, many states offer financial incentives for those who install wind turbines or solar panels. So, if you’re interested in reducing your environmental impact or saving money on your energy bills, a wind turbine might be the perfect option for you. Thanks for reading!

For more, check out How Often To Run Generator To Keep the Refrigerator Cold?

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