A wind generator for grid-connected homes is said to let users take control of their energy bills. The Skystream 3.7 from Southwest Windpower, Flagstaff, Ariz, lets those in certain states can take advantage of ‘net-metering,’ or the sale of unused energy back to the power grid.
The turbine is said to be the first residential wind appliance to produce energy at a cost of $.09/kWh, a rate lower than that of many electric utilities. The turbine cost is about $5,100. Depending on the tower and installation costs, wind-speed average, rebates and local electricity costs, developers say the turbine can pays for itself in four years. The turbine provides an all-in-one package with built-in controls and inverter for harnessing wind energy on a residential scale.
Intended for low winds, the unit begins producing power in an 8 mph breeze with full output at 20 mph. The turbine mounts on a 35-ft. tower, so households on lots of one acre or more will now have access to residential, grid-connected wind energy. Towers up to 110 ft. are available. A site assessment is important to determine a best tower height. The turbine operates quietly and is often unrecognizable over trees blowing in the wind.
For a typical home in California (where energy costs $0.14/kWh) the turbine will produce about 400 kWh/mo. This will save the household $672/yr on their utility bill. At this rate, they will pay for the unit in about 12 years. Payback can be as low as seven years with rebates, assuming an $8,500 installed cost. The table lists a few particulars.
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