Approximately 40% of all wind energy in Europe blows over the UK. *¹
This means that we are ideally located to benefit from domestic wind turbines.

Harnessing the power of micro-wind or small-wind turbine systems wind to generate electricity, micro-wind or small-wind turbine systems in an exposed position, can produce more than enough energy to power the lights and electrical appliances in a typical home.

How does a home mounted wind turbine work?

The way that wind turbines work is very simple:

  • The blades of the turbine are turned by the wind;
  • This causes the axis to rotate;
  • The axis is attached to a generator;
  • The generator produces direct current (DC) electricity;
  • An inverter converts the DC electricity to alternating current (AC);
  • The AC electricity is then used to power the home.

The stronger the wind, the more electricity will be generated.

  • The blades of the turbine are turned by the wind;
  • This causes the axis to rotate;
  • The axis is attached to a generator;
  • The generator produces direct current (DC) electricity;
  • An inverter converts the DC electricity to alternating current (AC);
  • The AC electricity is then used to power the home.

The stronger the wind, the more electricity will be generated.

What size of wind turbine do you need?

Domestic wind turbines can range in size from 400W to 100kW – which one will meet your requirements depends on the size of property, the amount of electricity you want it to generate and how energy efficient your home is.

A 1.5kW wind turbine situated in an area with an average wind speed of 14mph would be sufficient to meet the needs of a home requiring 300kWh per month, for example.*2

A HIES installer will be able to offer you expert advice on the specific requirements of your property.

Types of turbine systems

There are three main types of turbine systems to cater for in the domestic market:

Roof mounted 

The height advantage of roof-mounted turbine systems provides the necessary wind force to generate electricity, feeding it directly to a property.

This type of turbine is easier to install and cheaper than other versions, costing up to £3,000 for a 1kW system.*3

However, roof-mounted turbines are typically small and may not generate enough electricity to meet your requirements.

Standalone

Standalone wind turbines, also called free-standing or pole-mounted, are more effective when situated on top of a hill, away from obstructions and turbulence.

Standalone turbines generate more energy than roof-mounted alternatives.

However, because they are more likely to invite planning permission objections, they are not suitable for urban areas.

Standalone turbines cost between £9,900 and £19,000 for a 2.5kW system, while a 6kW version is likely to be between £21,000 and £30,000.*4 However, these can look great. Some of the larger wind turbines feature artistic and architectural designs that offer an aesthetic as well as functional benefit.

Micro domestic turbine 

Micro domestic turbines are ideal to charge battery banks with electricity and cost around £800 (price at 2019).*5 A power inverter will also be required to convert the AC electricity to DC, as well as a bank of batteries.

Cost of a home wind turbine

If you are thinking about investing in a domestic wind turbine, then there is more to consider than just the cost of the turbine itself. You should also think about how much it will cost to install, what insurance it will need and whether there are grants available to help with these costs.

Cost Types

Installation
It is generally accepted that the bigger the turbine, the more expensive it will be. This is also true for the cost of installation.

For example, if a 5kW wind turbine costs between £20,000 and £25,000, you may have to almost double your investment to get it up and running.

The cost of acquiring planning permission, preparing the site, laying cables to the grid and installing the turbine, could add up to a final cost of between £30,000-£40,000.*6

A HIES installer will be able to give you a better idea of how much your project will cost.

Insurance
It is advised that you check your buildings insurance to see if domestic wind turbines are covered or if they offer more comprehensive coverage.

Alternatively, it may be worth taking out cover with a specialist insurer. As well as normal accidental damage, the range of cover can include breakdown.

Grants
There are currently no national grant schemes to assist with the cost of a wind power system. However, some regions may offer grants for turbines, particularly when it comes to funding community projects.

Contact the Sustainability Officer at your Local Authority to find out more.

How much could you save?

According to Ofgem, the average household uses approximately 3,330kWh of energy each year. A 2.5kW wind turbine in an efficient location, benefitting from the right wind speed, could very well cover this annual energy requirement.

How efficient are home-based wind turbines?

Wind speed is key to getting the most from a domestic wind turbine system. It is estimated that a speed of six metres per second is necessary for a successful output.*7  Unfortunately, locations that benefit from this wind speed in the UK are quite rare.

However, if a property is sited in a remote, windy area and is free from obstructions, then it should be ideal to take advantage of a turbine system.

You can use an online calculator to find out the average wind speed in your area. A HIES approved installer will be able to give you detailed advice on what savings you can expect to make with a wind turbine.

Requirements for wind turbines

There are several important factors that you will need to consider before investing in a wind turbine system; how windy your location is, the height you will be able to erect your turbine to, the size of rotor to choose and if you will need planning permission.

Wind

Wind turbines are only as effective as the amount of wind they get, with both speed and force contributing factors – the more the turbine gets, the more power it will generate.

Height

The higher the wind turbine is located, the more efficient it will be. This is due to various atmospheric factors and the fact that there are likely to be less obstructions higher up.

Rotor

It is generally accepted that bigger rotors generate more power. While the initial cost may be higher, this will prove more effective in the long run.

Planning permission

The region in which you live, in the UK, determines if you need planning permission for a wind turbine and what rules and regulations you will have to adhere to. Certain turbines are permitted without planning permission in England and Scotland, provided that strict conditions are met.

However, in Scotland you will need planning permission for building-mounted turbines.

Here are the specific requirements for each region of the UK:

England:

For a wind turbine to be installed in England as permitted development, it must fulfil the following criteria:

A building-mounted wind turbine:

  • Need to be a detached house and be surrounded by other detached houses in the vicinity.
  • Must comply to the MCS planning standards.
  • One turbine is considered a permitted development and the property must not have an air source heat pump installed already. Otherwise, you need to ask for planning permission.
  • Including the blades, no part of the turbine should protrude more than 3 metres above the highest part of the chimney, and the overall height of the house and wind turbine should not exceed 15m.
  • The distance between the ground and the lowest part of the wind turbine blade needs to exceed 5m.
  • A minimum of 5m needs to be between your turbine and the boundary of your property.
  • The swept area of a building mounted wind turbine cannot exceed 3.8m2.
  • A wind turbine cannot be sited on the roof of a building within the grounds of a listed building.
  • If you live in a conservation area/world heritage site, you are not allowed to position the turbine on a wall that would make it visible from a highway.
  • The wind turbine must be removed as soon as practically possible when no longer needed for Microgeneration.
  • Be sited as far as practically possible to limit the impact on the amenity of the local area.
  • The installation must not be sited on safeguarded land.

A stand-alone wind turbine:

  • The wind turbine must adhere to the MCS planning standards.
  • The installation must not be sited on safeguarded land.
  • One turbine is considered a permitted development and the property must not have an Air Source Heat Pump installed already. Otherwise, you need to ask for planning permission.
  • The highest part of the wind turbine blade must not exceed 11.1 metres.
  • The distance between the ground and the lowest part of the wind turbine blade needs to exceed 5m.
  • The turbine’s height plus 10% is the distance that the wind turbine needs to be from the boundary of your property.
  • The swept area of the wind turbine cannot exceed 3.8m2.
  • If you live in a conservation area/world heritage site, the closest part of the wind turbine needs to be further away from any highways than the closest part of the house.
  • Permitted development rights are not applicable for an installation on a listed building or on a building in a conservation area/world heritage site
  • The blades cannot be coated in a reflective material.
  • When no longer needed for Microgeneration, the wind turbines should be removed as soon as practically possible.

Scotland:

While building-mounted wind turbines require planning permission in Scotland, standalone turbines do not, providing they meet the following criteria:

  • It is the only wind turbine within the property.
  • It is situated more than 100m from the next-door neighbour.
  • It does not sit on a world heritage site, on scientific research land, is considerably near a listed building or is near land for archaeological purposes.

Wales & Northern Ireland:

Residents of Wales and Northern Ireland will have to get planning permission for the installation of any domestic wind turbine system.

Where to buy a domestic wind turbine?

When looking to purchase a domestic wind turbine, consult a HIES installer for free, expert advice.

Using a reputable installer

A domestic wind turbine is a considerable investment, whichever size that you require, so it is vital that you choose a reputable installer for your project.

All HIES Accredited Installers are continually vetted in many areas in order to give consumers trust, confidence and peace of mind.

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