Renewable Energy - wind

Are there any incentives

There are many significant incentives to aid with the costs of wind energy.

  • The USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) offers grants (up to 25 percent) and loans (up to 75 percent) for rural energy projects. The annual deadline to apply is in June.
  • Many states also offer programs to offset the costs of wind power. A full database of state incentives can be found at www.dsireusa.org.

Can I obtain financing

The installation cost of a small wind turbine can be a barrier for many people who want to diversify their energy portfolios. Some states, as well as USDA’s REAP program, offer low interest loans for wind installations. DFA is working to identify vendors and resources that can assist in small wind installation and financing. For more information, contact DFA Energy.

How much will it cost

According to the American Wind Energy Association, a small wind turbine can cost between $3,000 and $6,000 for every kilowatt of generating capacity. Because wind turbines have moving parts, they require routine maintenance every few years. In states that allow net-metering, grid-tied systems allow a user to sell wind-generated electricity to the grid at or above market prices.

What is small wind power

Small wind turbines are wind-fueled generators of 100 kilowatts or less that turn kinetic energy into electric energy. Users of small wind turbines can generate their own power on-site, reducing their energy bills and dependence on the electricity grid and fossil fuels. Small wind turbines can power distributed structures (such as water pumps) or feed into the electricity grid.

What is the benefit

Over the life of the system, small wind systems can generate significant financial returns, in addition to being a clean, reliable power source. Below is an example for a 10 kw BW Excel S/60 wind system

  • Net cost: $11,726
  • 25 year utility bill savings: $22,700
  • Return on investment: 41 percent
  • Payback period: 9 years

What size system do I need

While the exact electricity output of a turbine depends on several factors, such as turbine model and wind speed, on average, a kilowatt of installed capacity generates between 1,200 – 1,600 kwh of electricity each year in Class 3 wind conditions (14.3 mph).  The following chart provides a rough estimate of output and costs of small wind turbines.

Name plate rating of system Estimated output at a good site Total installed cost (before any state or federal incentives)
5 kW 7,200 kWh/year $48,000
10 kW 10,700 kWh/year $66,000
20 kW 18,000 kWh/year $74,000
35 kW 76,000 kWh/year $300,000
100 kW 140,000 kWh/year $550,000

Where can small wind power be used?

Small wind turbines are different from utility-sized turbines in that they can be built in more locations and require less land. The power a small wind turbine generates still depends on the wind resource of a location. A turbine needs unrestricted wind access to function, which makes farms a more ideal location than cities. Use our tool to see if your property is right for wind power. The map below shows wind resource throughout the United States for small turbines.