WIND ENERGY RENEWABLE, CLEAN, AND EFFICIENT
In areas with consistently high wind, wind generators are an excellent way to produce electricity. The basic concept is simple—wind gusts turn the generator, which in turn produces direct current (DC) power, like that of a car battery. This power can then be directly used to run any DC equipment, such as a DC water pump, or it can be sent to an inverter, which will then convert it into alternating current (AC) power, making it usable for standard appliances in your home, business, or farm.
Like solar energy systems, wind systems are capable of being either grid-tied (connected to the local utility grid,) or off-grid (self-contained setups that operate independently, utilizing a battery storage system). Like a grid-tied solar energy system, a grid-tied wind system owner will receive credit on their electric bill for any excess power generated by their system that is fed back onto the utility grid. If the current on-site power need exceeds what the wind system is capable of producing, the utility grid seamlessly supplies the necessary power (and this usage is reflected on the customer’s bill as a charge).
FINANCIALS AND INCENTIVES
While generally considered an alternative form of renewable energy (due to increased installation and maintenance costs over solar energy), wind systems still come with plenty of financial benefit and installation incentives that make it a worthwhile venture for those looking to generate renewable energy. They are ideal for areas that cannot house a solar system because of shade, and unlike solar systems, wind systems can generate power around the clock since they are not dependent on the sunshine. Finally, both residential and small commercial wind generators qualify for a Production Tax Credit of 2.3-cent-per-kWh that the federal government has recently extended through the end of 2016. After that, the credit drops 20% per year from 2017-2020. Wind systems are also eligible for the USDA REAP grant, and installations stand to receive grants for up to 25% of the installation cost (learn more about the REAP program here). Additionally, some state and local government agencies offer additional incentives that can further reduce your system cost. We’ll work hard to help you take advantage of all cost-saving avenues available on your wind system installation.
Wind systems require a constant average wind speed of 10-15 miles per hour to be cost-effective. Because the Mid-Atlantic region has only small regions with enough consistent wind to meet this need, it’s necessary to know the actual wind speeds on your property to determine if a wind generator can economically meet your power needs. Standard wind maps notate the wind resource across a region, but because they tend to be generalizations, they often do not accurately illustrate a particular location’s wind resource and how specific it can be property to property. It is not uncommon for one property to have sufficient wind for a generator and a neighboring property be below an economically feasible level.
For those interested in installing a wind system, we always recommend conducting a year-long wind study on-site. This can be done by acquiring a weather station that monitors your wind speeds throughout the year and determines your annual average wind speed. For your convenience, we sell weather stations in our Smucker’s Alternative Energy Showroom at our Lancaster County office.
Smucker’s Energy uses Bergey Wind Generators, including both single-phase and three-phase configurations. For over thirty years, Bergey has been one of the most trusted names in wind power, producing high-quality, field-tested equipment for personal and commercial use. Bergey currently offers two wind generators for both Grid-Tied and Off-Grid systems: the Bergey Excel 6, which has a 6 KW output, and the Bergey Excel 10, which has a 10 KW output, are the Grid-Tied windmills, and the Bergey XL.1, which has a 1 KW output, and the Bergey Excel R, which has a 7.5 KW output, are their Off-Grid models. Learn more about Bergey WindPower here.
Wind generators are very durable and require minimal maintenance during their lifetime. Bearings generally need replacing every 8-15 years; three to four times during the 30-50 year life expectancy of a wind generator installed by Smucker’s Energy. For the production they deliver, wind generators promise to be extremely easy to maintain during the extent of their operation.
ZONING, PERMITTING & OTHER REQUIREMENTS
Most wind generator installations require a permit, and while working with your local municipality to obtain those permits might seem like a hassle, at Smucker’s Energy we specialize obtaining the necessary permits and paperwork for you and handling the entire application process with experience and expertise. In terms of area size, it’s necessary to have at least one acre of land that can accommodate a 30-100 foot pole, a safe falling distance from roads or wires. Your turbine must also be positioned so that any fall, with the total height of the turbine taken into account, will always stay within your property limits.
INTERCONNECTION AGREEMENT WITH UTILITY FOR GRID-TIED SYSTEMS
Like all grid-tied solar energy systems, grid-tied wind systems are required to have an interconnection agreement with your power/utility company. This agreement addresses items such as proper inspection before grid connection, as well as compliance with utility connection rules and regulations.
Most utilities have information on their websites about agreements for alternative energy systems. Though it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your provider’s agreement, Smucker’s experienced team will take on the task of filling out the agreement, handling all paperwork, and pushing it through to completion without any hassle—all you have to do is understand the agreement and sign the papers. Our service techs will make sure that your wind system passes the interconnection inspection with flying colors.
The 10KW Bergey Excel wind generator comes with a ten-year manufacturer’s warranty, and the 1KW Bergey XL.1 comes with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty. And on all systems, Smucker’s Energy offers a two-year workmanship warranty that guarantees you’ll be satisfied with the installation and performance of your wind generator.