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Basic of Wind Power

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, often around 5kW to 6Kw
- 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.


Costs, savings and maintenance

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. For equipment and installation, with VAT:

- a roof-mounted 1kW micro wind system costs around 2,500 euros
- a 2.5kW pole-mounted system costs around 17,000 euros
- a 6kW pole-mounted system costs around 26,000 euros.

Building-mounted turbines tend to produce less electricity per kW than pole-mounted ones. A well-sited 6kW turbine can generate around 10,000kWh per year:

- equivalent to around 5.2 tons of carbon dioxide a year



Maintenance checks are necessary every few years, and will generally cost around 150 euros to 250 euros 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 1,300 euros to 2,600 euros for a large system.

For off-grid systems, batteries will also need replacing, typically every six to ten 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.