If you live anywhere in the great plains, chances are you have more wind than you know what to do with. Instead of letting all of that potential energy go to waste, you might consider installing your very own wind-turbine. Now that's going green!
For this to work, you really need to live in a more rural area of the country where there aren't a lot of buildings blocking the wind and have plenty of open space. If you're an urban dweller, you're probably going to be reliant on the grid for a while. If you do have plenty of space, you might consider installing your own Skystream windmill. They stand upwards of forty feet high, or about three stories. You'll need to check local zoning issues before putting one up.
As long as you're getting 10 MPH of wind or more, the Skystream wind turbine will be fully functional, and that's not a problem in many parts of the country, specifically the Great Plains. Each of these turbines will produce about 1.8 kW of power, or about 1300 kilowatt hours on a monthly basis. Our home uses about half of that on a monthly basis, which means we would have power to spare. If you hook your turbine up to the grid, you can even sell the excess power back to the grid. Another benefit of hooking up to the grid is that when the wind is really low and you can't produce a lot of energy, you'll be able to rely on the grid to power your home. Wouldn't it be nice to get a check from the power company every month?
The latest Skystream model sells for about $9,000 to purchase and install in my part of the countrythis might be a few thousand dollars higher depending on where you live. The national average cost for electricity is $0.11 per kilowatt hour. For a home that uses 650 kilowatt hours on a monthly basis, that's a savings of $71.50 a month. If you sell the other energy back to the grid, you'll probably make another $50 on top of that. This means that the wind-turbine would pay for it self after 74 months, or just above 6 years. That's not bad. Everything after that is pure gravy!
The deal gets better though. In many states you'll receive tax credits for selling energy back to the grid or merely buying the wind turbine in the first place. It'll depend on your state laws, but there are great incentives out there to install your own wind turbine.
If you live in a rural area with a sufficient amount of wind, installing your own wind turbine is a great way to help the environment and save some money in the long term.