Small-scale wind power systems can achieve very competitive upfront costs because they require less specialized components compared with larger wind turbines. Also, the UK and other countries with a Feed-in Tariff tend to offer the best incentives for smaller installations.
Feasibility studies for small-scale wind power installations tend to be expensive, when viewed as a percentage of total project cost. However, the WindLogger kit from Logic Energy allows site assessments to be carried out for just a fraction of their normal cost. A feasibility study can make the difference between a highly lucrative project and a wasted investment!
Renewable energy systems tend to achieve a lower cost per installed kilowatt as system size increases, thanks to economies of scale. However, this is not always true for wind power: the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) carried out a study for renewable energy technologies in 2015, and they determined that small wind power systems with an installed capacity between 50 and 100 kilowatts can achieve installed costs in the range of £500/kW to £1500/kW, which is comparable to the average price of multi-megawatt systems. There are several factors that make small-scale wind power affordable:
Countries with strong renewable energy portfolios typically introduce incentives for small-scale energy producers. Feed-in tariffs are a common incentive, and in the case of wind power in the UK, the best rates are available for systems under 100 kW of capacity.
In the UK, all renewable sources have a fixed export tariff of 4.85 p/kWh, but the generation tariff changes according to technology, and in the case of wind power small systems get the best deal:
Wind Power System Size
Under 100 kW
Between 100 kW and 1.5 MW
Over 1.5 MW
If viewed on a per-kilowatt basis, small wind power systems are far more lucrative in the UK. The DECC has also determined that the average installed cost per kilowatt is similar under 100 kW and above 1.5 MW, which means the payback period is much faster with small systems.
In short, small-scale wind power makes the most sense if you want to achieve the maximum economic benefit from the technology. With WindLogger, you can carry out a site assessment at a low cost, ensuring that your investment will provide the expected return.
Assume you install a 50-kW wind turbine for your property, with the following characteristics:
In this scenario, you could expect a first year profit of around £13,500, and the cash flow over the project’s lifetime would be the following:
A payback period of slightly over 5 years can be expected, and after having paid for its own cost, the wind power system offers total savings of around £250,000. This investment offers an internal rate of return of 19.2%, which is very attractive.
Of course, keep in mind this is just an example: The best way to ensure your property is suitable for wind power is to carry out measurements with a reliable weather monitoring system such as the WindLogger kit.
More information can be found on DECC website.
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