Wind turbines

Wind turbine

Generate electricity at home with small-scale wind turbines. Wind turbines harness the power of the wind and use it to generate electricity. Forty percent of all the wind energy in Europe blows over the UK, making it an ideal country for domestic turbines (known as 'microwind' or 'small-wind' turbines). A typical system in an exposed site could easily generate more power than your lights and electrical appliances use.

Watch a pop-up animation showing how a wind turbine could work in your home.
 

The benefits of wind turbines

 

Cut your electricity bills

Wind is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced. 

 

Get paid for what you generate

Through Feed-in-Tariffs, you get paid for the electricity you generate even if you use it. What you don't use, you can export to the local grid - and get paid for that too.

 

Cut your carbon footprint

Wind electricity is green, renewable energy and doesn't release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants.

 

Store electricity for a calm day

If your home isn't connected to the national grid you can store excess electricity in batteries and use it when there is no wind.

 

Costs, savings and earnings  

 

Costs

The cost of a system will depend on the size and the mounting method: building-mounted turbines cost less to install than pole-mounted ones. The average size is 6kW, which can cost between £21,000 and £30,000 for equipment and installation, with VAT at 5%:

 

Maintenance

Maintenance checks are necessary every few years, and will generally cost around £100 to £200 per year depending on turbine size. A well-maintained turbine should last more than 20 years, but you may need to replace the inverter at some stage during this time, at a cost of £1,000 to £2,000 for a large system.

For off-grid systems, batteries will also need replacing, typically every six to ten years. The cost of replacing batteries varies depending on the design and scale of the system. Any back-up generator will also have its own fuel and maintenance costs.

 

Savings and income

Building-mounted turbines tend to produce less electricity per kW than pole-mounted ones. A well-sited 6kW turbine can generate around 10,000kWh and the equivalent of around 4.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Wind turbines are eligible for Feed-in Tariffs and you will earn a tariff for each kWh of electricity generated by your system. You will also receive another tariff for each kWh of electricity you export. Please note that the Feed In Tariff is not available in Northern Ireland. For the latest Feed-in Tariff rates please go to our Feed-in Tariff pages. You can also visit our Cashback Calculator to find out how much you could save and earn through Feed-in Tariffs.  Find out more about how we made these calculations.

 

Green Deal finance and renewables

This technology is an eligible measure under the UK government’s Green Deal which is a financing mechanism that lets people pay for energy-efficiency improvements through savings on their energy bills.

Further information on Green Deal.

 

How do wind turbines work?  

Wind turbines use large blades to catch the wind. When the wind blows, the blades are forced round, driving a turbine which generates electricity. The stronger the wind, the more electricity produced.

There are two types of domestic-sized wind turbine:

  • Pole mounted: these are free standing and are erected in a suitably exposed position, often around 5kW to 6kW
  • Building mounted: these are smaller than mast mounted systems and can be installed on the roof of a home where there is a suitable wind resource. Often these are around 1kW to 2kW in size.

Wind turbines are eligible for the UK government’s Feed-in-Tariffs which means you can earn money from the electricity generated by your turbine. You can also receive payments for the electricity you don't use and export to the local grid. To be eligible, the installer and wind turbine product must be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). If your turbine is not connected to the local electricity grid (known as off grid), unused electricity can be stored in a battery for use when there is no wind. Please note that the Feed-in Tariffs scheme is not available in Northern Ireland.

This video focuses on two electricity-generating technologies for the home: wind turbine and solar electricity.

 

More information  

A buyer’s guide to wind power from the Energy Saving Trust

Location, Location, Location – domestic small-scale wind field trial report

Generate your own power (Your Guide to Installing a Small Wind System) from the RenewableUK website

Energy Network Association key documents on grid connection at the Energy Networks website

The latest RenewableUK news on small wind turbines at the RenewableUK website (formerly BWEA)