Your Questions About Monthly Bill Nutshell

Donald asks…

How much Does it Cost for Wind power at your home?

I want to know the prices to fully power a Normal sized Home.

And smaller sized Wind Power.

themoneydude answers:

Hey Kim, I’ll take a stab at your question. Bill is probably pretty close to the bullseye here, but your question is really more nebulous than you think. If I asked you, “How much gas does a car need?” What would be your answer? 200 gallons? You might ask me how many miles I drive, or what size car I need, or your answer might be a rate, like 1 gallon for every 30 miles I drive. You really can’t quantify it beyond that.

Our home used to be like most other homes, it is small, at 1200 square feet, but used around 30 to 40 dollars a month in electricity. Since then we have installed a 900 watt wind turbine and a 1.4 kw solar array. Now my electric bills are around $5 per month. The rates have gone up in the last 10 years, and we have made efficiency improvements along the way. Since then we have had two children, so our usage has been a roller coaster all these years. What I’m getting at is that there is no, “Normal sized house.” Here is an interesting rule of thumb I heard in our travels in renewable energy. Take your monthly electric bill and multiply it by 250. This might be the cost to install a wind and solar system to make about the same electricity you use today. If your bill is $50 per month like ours used to be, you’ll need about $12,500 in equipment. Oddly enough, by doing some of the work ourselves 11 years ago, our total bill was just over $13,000. If you pay $200 per month for electricity, then you’ll need $50,000 for your system.

You can also work the problem backward pretty easily, and see that if it takes the equivalent of 250 months in electric bills to pay off your equipment, then the payback time is probably 20 years, give or take a bit. In a nutshell, it isn’t worth the trouble for most people to make a change to their home, or their lifestyles, since you’d be farther ahead financially by investing your money someplace and having it double in 20 years instead of breaking even, but I suppose that depends on how you feel about the stock market. There is the fact that our home has not been without power for even one minute the last 11 years now, not sure how much that is worth to you. There is also the environmental benefits of solar and wind power, which for some reason have become quite controversial. Buying coal for the purpose of lighting it on fire to make electricity makes about as much sense as smoking a cigarette for taste, still, millions of educated people smoke.

There are some pretty good places to get more information on the subject, I’ll list some below. One thing I’ve learned over the years in this business, is that there are two things in vast supply in wind energy, wind, and missinformation. If you’re really trying to make a decision on this, I’d check out the sources below and forget asking hacks like us online for advice. In the end you might decide not to get involved, and that’s fine, but at least you will be well informed. Take care Kim, Rudydoo

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