Sunlight, wind, and falling water are the big three renewable energy sources. These are energy sources that are commonly available at a reasonable cost. We’ve found in our years of experience that wind and hydro energy sources are most often best developed as a booster or bad weather helper for a solar-based system.
Hybrid systems—using wind or water combined with solar energy—have the advantage of being better able to cover power needs throughout the year, and are less expensive than a similar capacity system using only one power source. The only common exceptions are systems designed for utility intertie; they feed excess power back into the utility, and turn the meter backwards.
- We generally advise that a good site for year-round wind turbine energy isn’t a place that you’d want to live! It takes average wind speeds of 8 to 9 mph and up, to make a really good resource for energy. That’s honestly more wind than most folks are comfortable living with.
- This is where the beauty of hybrid systems comes in. Many very livable sites produce 8 mph or more during certain times of the year, or when storms are passing through, and this wind can be harnessed.
- Tower height and location also make a big difference. Wind speeds average 50 to 60 percent higher at 100 feet compared to those found at ground level.
- The cost of a wind power system includes the cost of the wind turbine itself, the tower, and its installation. The total cost of micro turbines can be as little as $500-$1,500 depending upon the tower used and its height. Bigger machines are more costly, but can be more cost-effective.