Is Residential Wind Power Viable?

May 25, 2017

Being in the business of providing renewable energy solutions for our customers, Urban Solar is part of a growing national trend of companies who are harnessing freely available natural energy for the betterment of all mankind. When you stop to think about it, all of this solar technology, wind technology, thermal well and biomass technology all combine to create a very impressive picture of how much we are accomplishing. This thought prompted us to ask the question: “Can wind energy be a viable solution for residential applications?”

To answer this question, we had a look at some of the most popular residential wind energy systems and how well they deliver on the promise of truly ‘free’ wind energy. Here’s a quick snapshot of the energy production from a popular residential wind turbine (the Southwest Windpower Skystream 3.7):

Cost: $5,399 (not including tower and installation materials)

Rated Capacity: 1.9 kW continuous output, 2.6 kW peak

Startup Windspeed: 8mph

Estimated Energy Production: 400 kWh/month @ 12 MPH (5.4 m/s)

Compare these statistics with a common, residential solar panel array. A normally-sized solar panel can generate roughly 200 watts of electricity. So, if you are able to mount 25 panels in a sunny area, you stand to achieve a total output of about 5 kilowatts (kW). This completely eclipses the output power of even the most efficient wind energy system optimized for residential use, dollar-for-dollar.

But here’s the kicker: wind turbines have a lot of moving parts. And, they require ongoing maintenance to ensure that they stay functional. This means there are substantial hidden costs involved in managing a wind energy system. This is not the case with solar, as solar panels don’t move and don’t require lubrication, oil changes or related servicing.
The bottom line is that for the market in which we operate (Florida), there’s a lot more sun to catch than wind. Curious about how much you could save by installing solar? Contact us today to get going on a completely free energy assessment.