How long does it take to pay for residential wind turbine?

Today we have a question from Chris who writes, “On average, how long does it take to pay for a residential wind turbine with the electric bill savings? And do they last long enough to make it worthwhile?”

Thanks for writing in, Chris! (And before I answer this question, remember, I’d love to answer *your* questions, too!)

Obviously, the answer to your first question depends on several factors–how much you spend for the residential wind turbine you install, how much your electricity bill is, how much electricity you’re using, and how much electricity the residential wind turbine generates for you once it’s installed.

On average, though, estimates I’ve seen indicate that it takes 3-8 years for the savings to pay for the residential wind turbine once its installed. If you build your own wind turbine, you’ll get it paid for faster, and if you choose something especially fancy, it’ll take longer to get it paid for.

An area of uncertainty when it comes to the lifespan of a residential wind turbine is the kind of conditions they can withstand. Do they atrophy at the coast too quickly to be of value? Can they withstand the near-constant rain we’ve been having here in North Carolina for months on end? Residential wind turbines that are paintable offer you some likelihood of a longer life because, with regular maintenance, the paint will protect the turbine.

Manufacturers typically say they’ll last about 30 years, but like all manufacturer’s specs, I suspect this one is likely to be a little optimistic. So, take it with a grain of salt.

Beyond these actual numbers and calculations, though, there are some priceless aspects involved with generating your own wind power–reducing our reliance on foreign oil, using less coal, and reducing our need for nuclear power plants all has tremendous value. Reducing the pollution that’s put out by each of these sources likewise is beneficial. Being more self-sufficient and producing some of the electricity you use is also valuable. So, while I’m not going to say, it’s worth going into the red for these benefits, I do think that they make any savings you’ll see in the long term by installing residential wind power far more valuable.

Ultimately, Chris, the approximate numbers are just that–guesstimates that don’t capture the whole picture. But, I will say that after crunching the numbers for myself, I definitely felt it would be worth installing a residential wind turbine at my home, and I think you’ll find it worthwhile as well.

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