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Small Wind

Using Wind to Power Your Home, Farm, Building, or Business

Whether a wind turbine is called small, distributed, customer-sited, or on-site, the purpose is always the same. They are wind turbines that will allow an individual or an organization the ability to generate part or all of their own electrical needs. There classification is based on their function and not on their size.

Wind turbines have been a symbol of clean energy long before the term was coined. Since the 1800’s farms have used windmills to pump water for irrigation and for their livestock. Their use for grinding grain dates back to the tenth century in Persia and to the thirteenth century in China. Since wind is the movement of air caused by the sun’s uneven heating of the earth’s surface, wind energy is solar energy.

NYSERDA has established a long-term commitment to wind energy, which has made NYSERDA the national leader in the development of its incentive program. Distributed wind plays an important part in meeting the state’s energy and environmental goals. By investing in wind energy, New York has given consumers the ability to choose their energy source and take control of their carbon footprints.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website is a good source of information about small wind turbinesLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. and distributed windLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..

Make the Change

If you are interested in a wind energy system for your home, farm, institution, or business, there are a few questions you must first answer:

Do You Have Enough Land?

Typically, a least one acre is necessary to properly site a wind turbine. It is possible to install a wind turbine on a building, but the extra cost and lower wind speed can make the investment uneconomical. Your local community may have restrictions on where a wind turbine can be installed.

Will Your Community Allow You to Install a Wind Turbine?

Whether it’s just obtaining a building permit or getting a variance to install a tall tower, local approval is needed to install a wind turbine in almost all situations. Contact your local building inspector or code enforcement officer before you invest any money to determine how long it may take for an approval.

Do You Have Enough Wind?

Wind is the fuel for your turbine. An increase in the average annual wind speed from 8 mph to 10 mph doubles production. Doubling the wind speed yields eight times the power! There are multiple methods to determine a site’s average annual wind speed.

Are You Willing to Make the Investment?

Energy-efficiency improvements may be more cost-effective, solar PV projects may require less maintenance, but people are drawn to wind systems and the fascination of watching a wind turbine spin. Installing a wind turbine will require a major commitment of time and money; you will need to invest both to have a successful project you will enjoy for many years.

If you’re not sure of the answer to these questions, go to Know the Facts. If the answer to all these questions was yes, contact NYSERDA. NYSERDA offers a unique combination of collaborative partnership, technical expertise, and financial support designed to help New Yorkers explore wind power as a cost-effective, clean, and green alternative to replace some or all of their purchased electricity. NYSERDA’s programs help New Yorkers save money and energy, while promoting a cleaner, more-energy diverse and sustainable future. NYSERDA can provide you with all the support and information you need, including a list of wind system installers in your area who participate in NYSERDA’s cash incentive program. A wind system installer can be your partner in the journey from information gathering and site assessment, all the way through to installation and post-installation monitoring.

Last Updated: 07/17/2014