Are Small Wind Turbines Any Good?

High electricity costs and the push towards going off the grid with greener power sources have allowed things like wind energy and solar energy to become more available to the layperson over the last few years.

The energy produced by wind turbines can vastly reduce your electricity costs and, in some cases, can even eradicate your reliance on the electrical grid. But the question remains: Are small wind turbines good at producing enough electricity to supply a household?

Small wind turbines’ compact nature makes them optimal for reduced electricity needs: off-grid or areas that cannot access the electrical grid, portables such as RVs or boats, or residential applications. In best-case scenarios offsetting a home electrical bill slightly or up to 100%.

Now that we know that wind turbines can be pretty good, it would be beneficial to look at which situations would benefit the most from a small wind turbine as not all conditions would suit this kind of renewable energy resource. How much electricity do they produce, and can this electricity production lower the costs of a household’s electricity bills?

Small Wind Turbines: Are They Any Good?

Wind energy is a renewable resource. Wind, created by the sun’s unequal heating of the earth’s surface, powers wind turbines; it can never run out because it is a continuously naturally replaced resource. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy that wind produces into mechanical energy that powers a generator to produce clean electricity.

Small wind turbines are often called micro wind turbines or home wind turbines. They are drastically smaller than the wind turbines you would typically come across at a wind farm. They have blade diameters of around 10 meters wide compared to their big brothers, who can have blade diameters the size of football fields. These smaller blades mean that small wind turbines have less power output than larger turbines, which would suit a smaller scale need.

Their more compact nature makes them optimal for reduced electricity needs such as off-grid or areas that cannot access the electrical grid, portables such as RVs or boats, or residential applications. Small wind turbines can offset a home electrical bill slightly or up to 100% in the best-case scenarios with excellent wind conditions.

After the initial installation, small wind turbines can last up to 20 years as long as they are appropriately maintained. Therefore, they can be a reasonably cost-effective way to produce power for your home if you have the right conditions to suit a small wind turbine installation.

How Much Electricity Does A Small Wind Turbine Generate?

You need to consider many factors when calculating the potential power output of a small wind turbine, including location, wind speed, and turbine size. Most companies that sell small wind turbines say that a 10-kilowatt (kW) wind turbine should output around 10,000 kilowatts per hour (kWh) per year. The actual output of these wind turbines could be significantly higher or much lower.

Theoretically speaking, a 10 kW wind turbine should produce around 10 kW per day under perfect conditions. If you calculate this on a yearly output, you are looking at approximately 87,600 kWh per year on a calculation of 10 kW X 24 Hours (per day) X 365 (days a year). On the other hand, if your wind turbine is in an area that receives little to no wind, the output would be significantly lower.

An area’s average wind speed will account for how much power a small wind turbine can generate. The optimal annual average wind speeds of 14 miles per hour (mph) can enable a wind turbine with a range of 5 – 15 kW to significantly contribute to a household using approximately 877 kWh per month.

Depending on the size and type of a small wind turbine, their watts range from 400 watts to 20 kW. Their watt output will depend on how much electricity you might generate. A 1.5 kW wind turbine in an area that receives 14 mph winds annually can meet the needs of a household that requires 300 kWh per month. A 10-kilowatt wind turbine with the same or better wind conditions can contribute to a home consuming roughly 1,241 kWh per month.

Can A Small Wind Turbine Reduce Electricity Costs?

Yes, a small wind turbine can reduce your household’s electricity costs, but this will depend on several factors. The primary concerns here will be whether or not your location is a viable option for small wind turbines and whether or not this location receives enough annual wind making small wind turbines a feasible option for you.

Suppose your home is located in a rural area where the land is flat and isolated, and it receives on average 14 mph winds annually. In that case, you can expect your small wind turbine to reduce your electricity costs significantly. Depending on your household’s electricity consumption, your small wind turbine might even be able to eliminate your electricity costs mostly.

If you place your wind turbine on the top of a hill or the windy side of a mountain, your small wind turbine will be able to output more kWh, thus reducing your electricity costs more than if you placed it on the side protected from the wind.

Choosing to install a small wind turbine in a residential or built-up area comes with its own set of issues, and these will affect how much a small wind turbine can reduce your electricity costs. Because of the building obstacles, you will need to place your small wind turbine at least 30 feet above anything within 300 feet of your turbine, making it a viable option for your household. Again you would need to live in an area that receives the correct amount of annual wind.

Another factor you will need to consider is how far away you plan on placing your small wind turbine from what it needs to power. The closer the turbine is to your residence and the load required to power, the more efficient your system and the more you will reduce your electricity costs. The further away your turbine is to your house, the more energy you can lose along the way.

Can You Make Money From Small Wind Turbines?

Depending on your area’s annual wind speeds, you might be able to make some money off your small wind turbine. When the minimum wind speed is achieved (around 7 – 14 mph), your generator will start to convert energy into electricity for your home consumption. Once this converted energy runs out, your system will automatically switch back over onto the utility provider until your small wind turbine provides you with more power.

Once you have met the needs of your household, if there is any excess power, the grid can use it to help power your local community. The utility provider will purchase the supplied electricity and credit your electricity account in these situations. An estimation of how much money a private small wind turbine owner can make is complicated as there are too many changing variables to consider.


Small wind turbines are a renewable resource, and depending on your location and the average annual wind speeds in your area, they can significantly benefit your household. They can be a tremendous help in reducing your electricity bills and even eradicating them. In some cases, if you are situated in an area with optimal continuous wind speeds, the opportunity might even arise for you to make some money off your small wind turbines.




I co-own a fleet of wind turbines, and I'm passionate about renewable energy and it's critical role in helping avoid irreversible damage to our planet.

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