The new residential Small Wind Turbine Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficiency is a large credit with many advantages.
- The old tax credit was capped at $2,000.
- With the new one one you can claim 30% of cost, up to $500 per .5 kW of power capacity, for a new system.
- It expires 12/31/2016.
- This Federal tax credit works well when coupled with a state rebate program. Combine this with state rebates like those in California or New York and you have a sweeter deal.
- Moderate sized 10 kW wind power systems cost over $50,000.
- The rebate has a nameplate capacity limit of no more than 100 kilowatts.
Existing homes & new construction qualify. Both principal residences and second homes qualify. Rentals do not qualify.
The Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency reduces the amount of tax you owe. The credit is a reduction of total income tax at the bottom of your return. This tax credit is a non-refundable tax credit. Consult your tax adviser for details. Use it or lose it!
Early Adopter Residential Wind Power Turbines
We have a PV solar system on our roof, so I’m interested in other ways to generate energy. We live on the side of a canyon that is often windy in the late afternoon/evening. I have always been curious how much a Wind Turbine would cost, how much energy it could make, and how long the return on investment would be. An even bigger factor would be whether I could even get a city permit to install one. Major rebates and Federal tax credits are available to reduce the cost of installing wind power.
American Wind Energy Association has a nice Wind Energy FAQ. Some highlights:
- You should have at least a 10 mph windspeed average
- Electricity should cost at least 10 cents per kWh
- Turbines are typically mounted on a 80 – 120 foot pole, ensure this is doable.
- Be prepared to pay from $6000 to $22,000 for your wind turbine.
Market forces are rapidly dropping down the prices of wind turbines. China’s Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology, is now the No. 2 wind power supplier by shipments. Chinese windmills are on average are 20% cheaper than those build locally. Western companies have to work hard to differentiate themselves with innovative solutions to remain competitive in the wind power marketplace.
I didn’t realize it, but Clean Power Now reports that even Former President George H.W. Bush has a 33 foot tall windmill.
I noticed a wind turbine at the California Academy of Science the other day. I decided to do some research. Helix Wind make it and sells lower cost wind turbines that are more suitable for home and small businesses. They make 2.5kW ($6500-$8500) and 5kW systems.
What To Analyze Before Getting a Wind Turbine
- Local zoning that permits small wind turbine installation.
- Know how much power the system really puts out. Check windknowledge.com
- Check local wind maps, verify height of wind measurement. Adequate wind (greater than 14 MPH)
- Turbulent and gusty wind or wind that frequently changes direction.
- Perform a site analysis by a wind turbine installer.
- Have an expert check your roof or other structure.
- Verify you qualify for wind turbine rebates.
- Compare prices from multiple wind turbine dealers.
- Electricity costs greater than $0.15/kWhr
- An allowable installed height of less than 35 feet (although higher is ok too if zoning permits).
- An existing interconnection agreement with your local utility (to check the net energy meeting regulations in your state please click here: http://www.awea.org/smallwind/states.html
Increase temperatures near Large Wind Farms
Researchers from Albany State University recently found that large wind farms in Texas slightly increase the temperatures near the ground due to warm air being pulled downwards. A 0.72 degree Celsius temperature increase was measured during the night. It is unknown how this will impact local weather.
Wind Turbine Health Problems? Wind Turbine Syndrome?
Clearly, Turbines are not for everyone.
There is some new controversy over possible health problems caused by Wind Turbines. A recent article covers “Wind Turbine Syndrome” that possibly caused residents who live near wind farms to complain about a number of adverse health effects, including crippling headaches, nose bleeds and a constant ringing in the ears. It appears that wind turbines create low frequency sounds of high intensity. These may affect the human body by causing the inner ear to acquire a vibro-acoustic disease, which can cause sleep problems and dizziness.
Clearly more study needs to be done in this area. Perhaps the distance from a wind turbine to a home needs to be increased. So much for installing one in people’s backyards..