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.
- Will a wind turbine work if I live in a built up area?
- The industry tends not to recommend that a domestic wind turbine is installed in an urban environment for a number of reasons, including: increased turbulence, resulting in higher stresses on the turbine and lower energy capture for any given wind speed; increased margins of safety required when more people are living and working near the turbine; additional measures possibly required to limit the transmission of vibrations into the structure of the building and lower average wind speeds in a city environment reduce the annual energy capture.
- Do I need to own a field to have a wind turbine?
- It depends on whether you're considering a roof mounted or pole-mounted (freestanding) system. Pole-mounted turbines do tend to work best in exposed locations such as fields, as they tend to experience less turbulence caused by obstacles such as buildings and trees. The ideal location for a freestanding wind turbine is at the top of a gentle slope.
- Do wind turbines cause bird-strike?
- It isn't likely that birds will collide with your turbine.. There are several websites, including RSPB (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) which provide additional background on this matter. Their view is that 'climate change is the most serious long-term threat to wildlife in the UK and globally and, therefore, the RSPB supports the Government's target to source 15% of electricity from renewables by 2015.'
- 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.
- Can I connect my wind turbine to the grid?
- Most areas of the UK are connected to the Grid, and if you are, you can connect your turbine to it too. This will allow you to qualify for the Export Tariff as part of the Feed-in-Tariff scheme, which pays you acsecond payment on top of the Generation Tariff for any electricity that you generate but don't use. The surplus electricity is automatically exported to Grid.
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