How much wind turbines cost

by Dino Green on April 19, 2013

How much do wind turbines cost? Unfortunately, there is no straight single answer to this but only a dependent one based on custom specific circumstances; any single answer to this question, unfortunately, should not be taken too seriously unless it’s followed by full analysis of constituent wind energy costs. To help you understand and be able to make a good estimation of the actual cost sources we have put together a generic guide on how much wind turbines cost.

Residential wind energy systems come in different sizes, generally between 1kW to 3 kW with an overall cost between $3,000 and $22,000. To illustrate this consider that a roof-mounted wind turbine (micro-wind turbine) of 1 kW will cost about $3,000, whereas a 2.5kW on pole turbine will cost about $22,000. Wind turbine price quotations should, in general, be grouped according to wind turbine type, size and scale of the wind energy system. Wind turbine cost per watt has witnessed a significant decrease in the past recent years with an average cost ranging between to 2 – 3 $/Watt for micro building-mounted wind systems. Considering pole-mounted wind turbines, these costs range between 6 – 9 $/W for wind turbines of 2.5 kW, and 5 – 7 $/W for a 6kW turbine. This is actually the total cost per wattage of installed capacity including wind turbine equipment, installation costs but not permission fees and additional site costs and overheads.

What is the structure of wind turbine costs? Total wind energy costs can be split into 5 categories, being wind energy equipment, installation costs, operational costs, permits and other fees and balancing of the system. More specifically, the following cost structure is representative of the various cost sources and their ratios:

30 % Wind turbines

20% Balance of system

15% Installation costs and labor

15% Permits and other fees

20% Running costs (operation, maintenance, insurance etc.)

After reading this article you should be able to estimate how much a wind turbine system will cost in your custom specific case.

Example: utility scale wind turbine

The cost of a large commercial scale wind turbine may range between $1.2 million to $ 2.2 million per 1000 kW of installed capacity – costs as per 2012-2013. Typically, commercial wind turbines are sized at about 2 MW of installed capacity (2000 kW) and cost at about $3 mill to 4 million to be installed. Looking at wind turbine costs vs performance it is clear that wind turbines do have economies of scale. Small residential wind turbines will cost much less than large scale turbines (on an absolute amount level) but, on a per kilowatt basis, they exhibit a much higher cost per kw ($/kW).

System costs

The cost of a wind turbine system will fluctuate subject to turbine size, project scale, and site and installation specific circumstances and environmental and landscape requirements. System costs may further be broken down to the following costs:

Wind turbines

Wind turbines themselves may account for approximately 30% of costs. Residential wind turbines with a capacity of 2 to 6 kw may cost around $15,000 to $40,000. The cost per watt of installed capacity represents a more solid figure provided it explicitly states cost boundaries; i.e. what exactly it includes. Typically, large scale wind turbines are currently selling at a lower price  for commercial applications than for residential applications.

 Balance of system

Balance of a wind turbine system typically includes all extra parts and equipment other than the actual wind turbines. Such equipment may include, wirings, mounts, electrical installations, small batteries, transformers, etc. System balance costs make up of about 20% of overall costs.

 Installation costs

Labor costs and permits and other fees typically make up of about 15% each. Though highly dependent on country and location.

With regards to permits and other fees these include, architectural drawings, securing building permits from the town planning authorities, securing permit from municipal authorities and from community parties (neighbors and homeowners).

 Operational costs

Once your wind turbine is up and generating electricity you will need to spend for maintenance, insurance, monitoring and repairs. In general these costs will account for about 20% of total wind energy system costs.

Source / related: How much solar panels cost, Wind turbines pros and cons

About the Author

Dino Green

Dino green is a Mechanical Engineer and a qualified accredited expert in certification of energy performance of buildings. He is a green technology fan and an advocate of environmental sustainability. Beyond his professional curriculum he is a main editor in www.RenewableGreenEnergyPower.com and a contributing Author in www.GreenEnergySavingTips.com You can connect with Dino @ Google+

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