As energy companies seek to throw fists full of dollars attempting to find renewable sources, most homeowners are doing the same – but their paths could be going in different directions. While the energy companies invest in hydro-electrics, wind farms and even tidal solutions the home wind turbine has been taking leaps and bounds in it’s level of possibility.
One has only to type a few keywords into YouTube to discover the many backyard inventors trying to save money on their energy costs. Yet the average person, who doesn’t hold a degree in electrical physics, struggles to see how the technology can work in the home situation – and without the backyard looking like a NASA substation.
Enter stage right, Mariah Power and their patented Windspire wind turbine tailored specifically for the home market. This invention is quite revolutionary (pun fully intended!) in that it brings the technology that is currently available for mainstream energy companies down to the size required for the home situation. Here’s a vignette of the product and its possibilities.
The advantages of this system are that all the hard work has been done for you – it’s almost Plug-n-Play. And while you can assemble it yourself it’s probably in your best interests to have a qualified technician install it for you.
Probably the most important advantage for the Windspire, and other similar models, is its ability to operate in light wind speeds and lower revolutions. While this may seem like a superfluous data tidbit for you the aerial wildlife in your area view it is a definite plus. One of the many criticisms against wind farms is that their turbines, operated with large propellers, are having a disastrous effect on the native bird populations.
Before you start dialling that number there are a few considerations to take into account. First, and definitely the most important, is whether your area averages the 12mph wind speeds required as a minimum (This data can be sourced by typing “Wind Maps” into your favourite search engine). If that didn’t knock you out of the first round then the next pre-requisite might – the minimum land specification for a home wind turbine is 1/2 acre! Gulp! I’m out already.
If you’re still in the hunt there’s the $4,995 price tag or the reduced $3,995 price sticker to consider as well – which may, or may not, be economised through power savings, but we’ll get to that in a minute. And, if you’re still in the running there’s the waiting list to negotiate also, and at the time of writing this post it was between 6-12 months.
Now, before you race out and order one for each of your family members it might pay to crunch some numbers first. The economic calculator available on Mariah Power’s website allows you to quantify what one of these units will achieve in your situation.
In our household we annually consume 6,200 kWh at a rate of 12.76 cents per kWh. With average windspeeds of 12mph (20kmh) we’re not likely to break even on this system for 15.2 years – plus it will only produce 1/3 of our power needs. While Mariah Power will argue that rising electricity costs will reduce that time period one has to wonder what the Time Value of Money (TVM) is doing to these figures as well. In the end it’s probably an even-ing out effect.
In conclusion, would I get a home wind turbine? Maybe, but probably not this one. Firstly, I was ruled out it with the amount of land needed to house one and then the costs and low production of our energy needs made it completely inviable. But then there is the environmental issues to consider as well and how do you put a price-tag on that?
My response would be that I’m out to find a wind turbine for my home that will achieve both – financial savings plus environmentally advantageous.