Is a Residential Windmill a Smart Money Saving Strategy?

Today from the mailbag we have a question from Jenny who writes: “With the economy being a little tumultuous, my husband and I are looking at our bills and ways to save in the future. We’re also looking at ways to make our home more attractive to future potential home buyers because most likely we’ll be selling in about 5 years to move closer to our families. (We love our neighborhood, but I’d like to live closer to my sisters when we start having kids so that they’ll have an extended family’s support.) So, what we’re wondering is would installing a residential windmill save us money in the short-enough long run to make it worthwhile? And do you think that, five years from now, home buyers will be educated enough about wind power to understand the benefits of buying a home with a residential windmill power source?”

Thanks for writing, Jenny! These are really great questions, and while I don’t have a magic crystal ball to consult to get you perfect answers, we can certainly talk through them and see what seems logical.

The first thing to consider is your area–both in terms of how much power you’ll be able to generate with the residential windmill you’re considering installing and in terms of whether prospective home buyers are inclined to be a little more green than most. Stereotypically, in Oregon, California, Colorado, and perhaps Washington, you’re more likely to have more green home buyers than in, say, Alabama. But, fortunately, “green power” isn’t the only benefit of a residential windmill, so while environmentally conscientious buyers might be more likely to be interested in your home with a wind power source, the cost savings will be attractive to buyers who might otherwise shy away from off the grid power.

Once you know about how much electricity a wind power system would generate for you (based on average wind speeds and the residential windmill you’re considering purchasing), take a look at your current electricity bill which will tell you how many kilowats you use, on average, each month. Crunch the numbers (use the dollar/killowat calculation that the power company already does for you to determine how much you’ll be saving each month). For instance, if you pay $.15/killowat and you use about 1500 killowats/month, and you’ve learned that a backyard residential windmill could generate 800 killowats/month, you’d be saving about $120/month.

So, on a standard residential windmill install of about $8000, you’ll just have the windmill paid off if you move in five years. *But* the people who buy the house from you will also be saving $120/month (or nearly $1500/year), and they’ll have about 20 years left in the life of the wind energy source. Since electricity rates will only be going up in the future, that savings will grow to over $30,000 over the course of the 20 years your new home buyers will have it. That’s nothing to sneeze at, and in today’s tight real estate market, I know a lot of buyers who’d jump on a house with a residential windmill for off-the-grid power.

In other words, you break even (the savings will equal the cost of the residential windmill installation) *and* you’ll have a home that’s more attractive to potential buyers. If you hang on to your house just a little beyond the five years, or you spend a little less (or get a little more power from the system), you could come out pretty far ahead of the game even before the houses’ sale is considered.

To me, this looks like a mighty good approach for someone who’s planning to sell at least 3-4 years down the road–you’ll enjoy cheap electricity today, and greater home-selling power in the future. What do you think?

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4 Responses to “Is a Residential Windmill a Smart Money Saving Strategy?”

  1. Hello,
    Amazing! Not clear for me, how offen you updating your

  2. About once a day, but some days a little more, and some weeks a little less.

  3. Green energy is the energy of tomorrow this is a great investment for a home and i think five years down the road people well be very intrested in buying a home with green energy.

  4. Delighted to hear you agree, Aaron!