Cut Energy Costs with Wind for your Home
Wind is sweeping the nation: wind was the fastest growing energy sector in the U.S. in 2012, and almost half of all the electricity production added to the grid was wind. Wind is a clean, reliable source of electricity and the price of wind is at record lows. Read on to learn how you can take advantage of the wind to save money on your electricity bill.
1. Improve Your Home's Energy Efficiency
You can get the best value out of a wind energy system by finding ways to cut wasteful uses of energy first. Measuring your energy use and finding ways to improve the efficiency of your home will prepare you to make a good investment in renewable energy. Learn more about energy efficiency...
2. Learn About Small-scale Wind Projects
You may have a lot of questions about wind: start with the Small Wind Electric Systems Utah Consumer's Guide, published by the U.S. Department of Energy. There's a lot to know about small-scale wind, but this guide will have you up to speed on the basics faster than you can say "anemometer."
3. Learn About Your Wind Resource
How much wind is enough for a turbine? The amount of wind you are able to capture depends on the height of the wind turbine, so it is important to evaluate your wind resource at the expected height of your tower. Use the U.S. Department of Energy's Utah 80-Meter Wind Map to see estimated average wind speeds for the state, or the Utah Renewable Energy Zones Map to view areas that the Utah Office of Energy Development has identified as having good wind resources.
4. Contact a Wind Installer
A wind installer in your area can give you the best information about your wind resource and whether wind will work for you. Use the Solar Simplified contractor list (created by Utah Clean Energy) to find an installer who has experience installing wind in your area.
5. Make Sure Your Property is Zoned to Allow Wind
Check with your local Planning and Zoning Commission to see if they have regulations for wind turbines. You will need enough space on your property for the wind turbine, and turbines work best when they are taller than neighboring buildings. If wind is not currently allowed in your zoning district or there are height restrictions for your lot, you will have to work with your Commission staff.
6. Consult With Your Neighbors
Myths and misconceptions about wind energy are everywhere, and it can be hard to know what to believe. Your neighbors may be concerned that a wind turbine will make noise or be unsafe, so understand 10 Wind Energy Myths (published by NREL) and arm yourself with the facts to dispel them. You can write letters to your local paper to educate your community about the benefits of wind energy, and you may even find other wind pioneers who are also interested in wind energy!
7. Learn About Net Metering and Your Utility
Net metering allows you to connect your wind turbine to the existing power grid. You don't need to be connected to the electrical grid to benefit from wind energy, but a grid-connected turbine doesn't need to provide 100% of your electricity usage. Learn how net metering works from Solar Simplified. If you can't find the right information about your utility online, contact them to ask about their net metering policy:
- Rocky Mountain Power Net Metering
- Murray Power Net Metering
- Heber Light & Power Net Metering
- City of St. George – Energy Services Overview
- Washington City Net Metering
- City of Logan Net Metering
You will have to submit a net metering application, and your wind contractor should be able to help you fill out the forms. If there are specific requirements for net metering a wind turbine on your utility's grid, make sure you know about them before the project is completed.
8. Apply for incentives
There are State and Federal Tax Credits available to help offset the initial cost of wind energy. Your utility may also offer tax credits for installing wind.
The Rocky Mountain Power Blue Sky program funds non-residential renewable energy projects. Visit their website to learn about past renewable projects in your community.