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Wind turbines

Generate electricity at home with small-scale wind turbines

What is a wind turbine?

Wind turbines harness the power of the wind and use it to generate electricity.

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, with generation capacity of about 5 to 6 Kilowatt (kW).
  • 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
The benefits of wind turbines at home
  • Cut your electricity bills: Wind is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced. 
  • 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.

How much could a wind turbine save me? 

Costs, savings and financial support

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, but they tend to be less efficient.

For equipment and installation, with VAT at 5 per cent:

  • a 2.5kW pole-mounted system costs between £9,900 and £19,000
  • a 6kW pole-mounted system costs between £21,000 and £30,000.

Building-mounted turbines tend to be less efficient than pole-mounted ones. A well-sited 6kW turbine can generate around 9,000kWh a year. This can save around 3.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Wind turbines were eligible for Feed-In Tariff payments. The FITs scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2019. If you have already installed a wind turbine with a MCS certificate dated on or before 31 March 2019 you may still be able to apply. For more information about the FITs scheme and recent changes please visit our Feed-In Tariffs page.

Wind turbine 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 6 to 10 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.

Helpful resources

 

More information

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Financial support

Find out what support is available for renewable technology in different areas across the UK.

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Wind Speed Prediction

Enter your Scottish postcode and we'll predict your wind speed and advise on whether a turbine may be suitable for your home.

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