Installation of Wind Turbines
As with all micro-generation schemes that qualify for the Feed-In Tariff, you need to ensure you use a certified installer for your turbine installation. An installer accredited by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) will make sure that your installation is carried out properly and give you a certificate to prove that your installation complies with the scheme.
The most important consideration when planning a domestic turbine installation is your choice of location. Try to get as much information about the wind speed at the site as possible, ideally over a year.
Your first choice will be whether to mount the turbine on a roof or on a mast. This will be largely determined by which site is most wind exposed.
- Mast mounted: these are free standing and can be put up in exposed positions, but you need to have the space. They typically have a capacity of about 2.5kW to 6kW.
- Roof mounted: these are smaller than mast mounted systems, with a typical capacity of around 1kW to 2kW.
- Wind speed: Your location determines the wind speed that the turbine will be exposed to. It is recommended that your location has an average wind speed of 5m/s or greater for the installation to be worthwhile for you. Typically these speeds can only be achieved in well-exposed rural areas. Whether you live on a hill or in a valley, and local wind barriers such as trees and other buildings will all affect your wind speed. The taller your turbine is, the greater the wind speed it will be exposed to. To get a reliable estimate of the average wind speed at your site it is recommended that you buy and install an anemometer for at least 3 months but ideally over a year. You can alternatively get a professional measurement from a certified installer. Our Energy Assessment uses the most accurate estimate of wind speed available for your location.
- You will need a metered electricity supply
- Ideally you should own freehold of your property: If you own leasehold, you’ll need permission from the freeholder, or if you rent your property, you’ll need agreement from the landlord.
- Roof integrity: If you are looking to install a roof mounted turbine you will need to check with your contractor that your roof is suitable as the turbines can be heavy.
- Whether to connect to the grid: If you connect to the Grid, you can apply for FIT payments for the electricity you generate. You will need to contact your local District Network Operator to do this. If you choose not to connect, you can’t receive FIT payments, but you can still use your system in a power cut and store your surplus electricity in batteries for later use.
- Planning permission: Before you begin read our dedicated Planning Permission page and ask your local council if planning permission is needed. If it is, you may be charged to submit your application. It’s a good idea to speak with a planning officer before you fill in your application to understand what is required – your installer may also be able to help you complete your application. You should also speak with your neighbours as soon as possible to resolve any issues.
- Environmental permission: If you are planning on installing a turbine that is over 15m tall, or you want to install two turbines, you may have to have a bat and bird survey carried out on your site.
- Additional costs: You should consider further costs such as cabling, planning permission fees, and installation. Your installer will give you a clear indication of what these will be.
- Feed-in tariff scheme: Make sure you use a certified installer! We will only recommend MCS certified installers to you. You should also check with your energy supplier as to whether they are part of the FIT scheme – they will be if they are large as it is required by law.
- Insurance: You should consult with your home insurance company to find out if they cover your system for repairs, theft and replacement if it breaks down.
You will need to prepare for a wind turbine installation by taking detailed wind measurements using an anemometer, for over a year ideally, to determine the average wind speed of your location. A minimum of 5 miles per hour is recommended for a worthwhile wind turbine installation.
Installation will be a matter of days in comparison, but will vary depending on the type of system being installed.
We will only put you in touch with installers that are MCS accredited: Always use an MCS accredited installer to carry out your turbine installation. Only MCS accredited installers are able to sign off installations that will comply with the government’s Feed-in-Tariff scheme.
- What is the lifetime of a domestic wind turbine?
- Wind turbines have a lifetime of 20 years or more if serviced regularly, and if you're eligible for the FIT scheme the FIT payments will be paid to you for the same length of time.
- What maintenance or servicing is required for a wind turbine?
- You should get your turbine checked by your installer or another accredited technician every year, which should cost between £100 and £200. Your inverter may need to be replaced once during the turbine's 20 year lifetime - this costs between £1000-£2000 for a large freestanding system. Turbines with batteries (off-grid systems) will need their batteries replaced every 6-10 years.
- How does a wind turbine generate electricity?
- Most wind turbines have three blades which face into the wind; the wind turns these blades round. This spins the shaft, which is connected to a generator. The generator turns this mechanical energy into electrical energy, generating electricity. This electricity is passed through an inverter to convert it from CD to AC electricity, and this AC electricity is then supplied to your house through your wiring.
- What happens to my electricity supply when the wind stops blowing?
- Without adequate wind blowing, the turbine will not turn and create electricity, therefore you will have to draw power from the grid. This will happen automatically as long as you are connected to the Grid.
- Can an installed wind turbine be re-sited?
- Yes, provided the new site is suitable. However, substantial costs will be incurred to dismantle the turbine, transport it to the new site and re-install it, so ideally in the first place you should spend time selecting the most suitable site before you install it for the first time. If you do need to re-site the turbine, make sure you get multiple quotes from accredited installers for the moving work.
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