So you’ve heard the predictions regarding fuel shortages and you’re fed up with being held to ransom by Tom, Dick and every other fuel provider. Or you’re planning your escape to the big, green outdoors with limited access to on-grid fuel supply. Either way the idea of going off-grid is tempting to most home farmers.
Where to start…
At the moment there seems to be a fixation with on-grid wind power (and solar for that matter). Blinded by the promise of untold wealth from the grid tie in pay back. The reality, I’m afraid, are that the facts are far from it. The average cost of mcs accredited wind turbine is around £30,000 fitted. BIG numbers!!!! The main reason for this is not the turbines them selfs. To be honest give or take a few watts most modern turbines can do the job to a lesser or greater degree. No the reason is the cost of certification (mcs) this can run into many thousands of pounds so consequently the cost goes up…and up. The only way you can sell your surplus power back to the grid is if you have a mcs accredited turbine. Quite simply they have you by the short and curlies. Or have they?
There is another way….
In a nut shell off grid is basically your own power station, producing your own power for your own use. Add in a bit of solar and when you see the cost differential between on and off grid it starts to make a bit of sense.
So what is the price difference? Well, as I said, before the average on grid windy will set you back the thick end of £30 grand and then some. And a half decent 5 kw off grid could up and running for well under £10,000.
Now before you rush out and build your own wind farm there are one or two issues, none of which are insurmountable by any means but must be addressed. The main one is the old chestnut of planning.
Depending on how many trees your council likes to hug will determine how easy it is.
In most cases it could be done under building regs rather than full planning but you must check. When you have done this and found yourself a good spot for your turbine off you go.
Most turbines are fairly easy for fit either by yourself or by your chosen supplier . The final connection should be done by a qualified sparky but the rest is not out of the reach of a half handy DIY chappy.
Next you need to access what size turbine you need. Domestic turbines come from around 2 kW to erm…well… as big as you dare. Most people will be happy with up to 5 kW or so. The average house will use about 35000 kWh per year and your average 5 k windy will give you about 20000 kWh per year – in a windy coastal spot it could much more But it’s always better to under rather than over estimate to avoid let downs and disappointment.
The cheapest way to fit is with a cable tower but this can be a bit of a pain if your limited with space in which case a free standing tower would be better.
What do you need?
- A wind turbine
- A controller to keep a handle of the power.
- A set of batteries to store you new source of energy
- An inverter to convert your battery power into useable power.
A pure sine inverter is the best choice if you are going to run anything other than a jack hammer as the power is much cleaner then a cheap inverter.
Food for thought indeed.