Who should consider buying a wind turbine?
A residential wind turbine can be a relatively large device and is not suitable for urban or small-lot suburban homes. Except for very small wind turbines (i.e., with rotors one meter or less in diameter) on very small towers, a property size of one acre or more is desirable.
The economics of a wind system are very sensitive to the average wind speed in the area, and to a lesser extent, the cost of purchasing electricity. As a general rule of thumb, if economics are a concern, a turbine owner should have at least a 10 mph average wind speed and be paying at least 10 cents/kWh for electricity.
Residential wind turbines have been installed in at least 47 of the 50 states, but the majority of the units have been installed in the Northeast and the Midwest.
Will it help the environment if I install a wind turbine at my home?
Yes. Wind turbines produce no pollution and by using wind power you will be offsetting pollution that would have been generated by your utility company. Over its life, a small residential wind turbine can offset approximately 1.2 tons of air pollutants and 200 tons of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and other gases which cause climate change).
Don't I have to take wind measurements for a year or more?
For most residential systems the cost of taking wind measurements is not justified. Wind resource data published by the U.S. Department of Energy is sufficient for an experienced evaluator to predict wind turbine performance. In very hilly or mountainous areas, however, it may be best to collect wind data before purchasing a system to ensure that your site is not in a sheltered area.