Wind turbines are an environmentally friendly energy source that uses the wind’s power to produce electricity.
While they have the potential to provide significant cost savings in the long run, the initial cost of a wind turbine can be a major consideration for potential buyers.
In this article, we will explore various elements that influence the price of a wind turbine, review typical expenses of different kinds of turbines and calculate potential savings produced by using a wind turbine.
What Factors Affect the Cost of a Wind Turbine?
Several factors can impact a wind turbine’s cost, including the turbine’s size and capacity, the location and access to wind resources, the type of wind turbine, and the required permits and approvals.
How Do the Size and Capacity of a Wind Turbine Affect Its Cost?
The size and capacity of a wind turbine are major determinants of its cost. Generally, larger wind turbines with higher capacity are more expensive than smaller ones.
For example, a small wind turbine with a capacity of 10-100 kilowatts (kW) can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000.
In contrast, a large wind turbine with a capacity of over 1,000 kW can cost several million dollars (Renewable Energy World, 2020).
How do location and access to wind resources impact the price of a wind turbine?
The location of a wind turbine can also affect its cost, as the availability and strength of wind resources can vary significantly depending on the region.
Wind turbines may be more cost-effective and require less maintenance in areas with strong and consistent wind resources.
In contrast, wind turbines installed in areas with weaker or less consistent wind resources may be less efficient and require more maintenance, resulting in higher costs (Energy.gov, 2021).
What is the difference between horizontal and vertical-axis wind turbines?
Two of the most common types of wind turbines are the horizontal axis and the vertical axis. Horizontal-axis turbines have a rotor with blades sticking out perpendicular to the ground, while those on the vertical axis have their blades parallel to it.
Horizontal-axis wind turbines tend to be more expensive than vertical-axis wind turbines due to their higher efficiency and longer lifespan (Energy.gov, 2021).
What permits and approvals are required for a wind turbine, and how do they impact the price?
Obtaining permits and approvals for a wind turbine can add to its cost. This may include obtaining zoning permits, environmental impact assessments, and other necessary approvals from local, state, and federal agencies.
The cost and time required to obtain these permits can vary widely depending on the location and specifics of the project (Energy.gov, 2021).
How Much are the Average Costs of Different Types of Wind Turbines?
The cost of a wind turbine can be highly variable depending on its dimensions, whereabouts, and variety. Here are some rough estimates of the average costs of different types of wind turbines:
- Small wind turbines: Small wind turbines, suitable for residential or small business use, typically have a capacity of 10-100 kW. These turbines can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on the size and specific features of the turbine (Renewable Energy World, 2020).
- Medium-sized wind turbines: Medium-sized wind turbines, which are suitable for commercial or community use, typically have a 100-1,000 kW capacity. These turbines can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000, depending on the size and specific features of the turbine (Renewable Energy World, 2020).
- Large wind turbines: Large wind turbines, which are suitable for utility-scale projects, typically have a capacity of over 1,000 kW. These turbines can cost several million dollars, depending on the size and specific features of the turbine (Renewable Energy World, 2020).
How much can a wind turbine save on energy costs?
While the initial cost of a wind turbine may be significant, it can also provide significant cost savings in the long run. Here are some potential ways that a wind turbine can save money:
Reduced Energy Costs
One of the primary benefits of a wind turbine is the ability to generate electricity from a renewable energy source. This can help reduce energy costs by offsetting the need to purchase electricity from the grid, especially with high electricity prices (Energy.gov, 2021).
The amount of money saved by using a wind turbine will vary depending on the size and power output of the machine, as well as how much usable wind energy is available in the area.
Federal and State Incentives and Tax Credits
There are also several federal and state incentives and tax credits available for wind turbine owners.
These may include grants, tax credits, and other financial incentives that can help offset a wind turbine’s initial cost (Energy.gov, 2021).
These incentives can vary depending on the location and specifics of the project, so it is important to research the available options in your area.
Can you make money by selling excess energy to the grid with a wind turbine?
In some cases, wind turbine owners may be able to sell excess energy back to the grid, potentially generating additional income.
This may be possible through programs such as net metering, which allows excess energy to be credited to the customer’s account (Energy.gov, 2021).
The availability and specifics of these programs can vary by location, so it is important to check with your local utility provider for more information.
The cost of a wind turbine can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the size and capacity of the turbine, the location and access to wind resources, the type of wind turbine, and the required permits and approvals.
Small wind turbines for residential or small business use can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000, while large wind turbines for utility-scale projects can cost several million dollars.
However, wind turbines can also provide significant cost savings in the long run through reduced energy costs, federal and state incentives, tax credits, and potential income from selling excess energy back to the grid.
Energy.gov. (2021). Wind Turbine Costs. Retrieved from [https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/wind-turbine-costs
Renewable Energy World. (2020). Wind Turbine Prices: How Much Does a Wind Turbine Cost? Retrieved from [https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/wind-turbine-prices/]