Rebates for Residential Windmills

The political climate is geared toward promoting renewable energy, including large-scale energy projects like wind farms and solar farms, and also small-scale projects such as residential windmills. For those individuals in optimal locations to utilize residential wind energy, there’s never been a better time to get one installed.

A single wind turbine can provide supplemental or full electricity to a home. Residential windmills, if built from scraps in a garage, can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, and at their largest and most efficient, they can cost $20,000. The equipment and installation are only part of the equation, with professional wind surveys, engineering plans and zoning applications, and maintenance also part of the process and cost. The investment of thousands of dollars, whether in money, in time, or both, can be partially recouped through federal, state, and utility incentive programs.

Interconnection Agreements and Green Power Markets

Wind energy is intermittent, meaning it’s generated when the wind blows, not necessarily when the home needs electricity. In the U.S., residents can sign interconnection agreements with their utility companies to sell back excess wind power generated by storms or periods of strong wind. The grid charges the resident for drawing electricity, and pays the resident for excess wind power that the household can’t use.

Many states in the U.S. have passed mandatory renewable energy portfolio laws requiring utilities to derive a percentage of their power from renewable sources, such as Oregon’s 20% renewable by 2020 law. Currently, utilities buy green power at a rate higher than standard electricity, from commercial providers like large scale wind farms. Some utilities and local governments have instituted cooperatives and other programs to include individual wind and solar providers as green power providers, which awards them higher rates when they sell energy into the grid. Check online for programs such as Green Tags or Green Power in your area, or go to the American Wind Energy Association website for tips on how to start one in your region.

Rebates and Federal Incentives

The Department of Energy has state specific listings of the rebates and incentives available from governments and utilities. What kind of rebates can you expect? Some states, like Minnesota, exempt wind power systems and installation from sales tax. The state of Iowa provides zero-interest loans for up to 50% of the cost of a wind power system. Federal grants and cost-share programs are available to provide part of the cash needed to initially install a system. There are also tax-rebate programs, which allow residents who install wind power systems a break on their tax obligations based on the cost of the system they install.

The costs to set-up a home wind turbine can seem high, but programs to help off-set those costs are growing each year. The push to generate more renewable energy is ambitious and it will take more than commercial wind farms to achieve results. Individuals can do their part, so look for programs in your region that encourage green and renewable development for residents and households.

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