With any project there are make or break factors that need to be considered up front. With a customer-scale (up to 100 kilowatts) wind generation project, you must consider the following three up-front factors:
- Wind-energy potential
- Bylaw considerations
- Installation, operation and maintenance
What is your wind-energy potential? Find out and if your potential site lies within a good- or high-wind energy area, then consider the second up-front factor: bylaws.
Check with your local municipality to see if there are bylaws that will prevent you from installing a turbine within your area.
Now, consider the third up-front factor: costs.
Installation, Operation and Maintenance
There are many costs involved in a wind power project. When you’re determining the economic viability of your project, you’ll need to consider the following factors:
- The total annual electricity used, in kilowatt-hours (kWh), of your building/home;
- The rated and realistic capacity of the wind turbine you’re considering using;
- The choice of banking or selling back electricity to SaskPower (Net Metering or Small Power Producers programs);
- The cost of a turbine and necessary equipment (tower, foundation, land, inverter);
- The cost of installation (including transportation to get to and from your site);
- The annual maintenance costs (including transportation to get to and from your site), as well as the unplanned costs associated with repairs;
- The scheduled end-of-life maintenance costs (such as replacing the rotor blades every 15 years, addressing how you’ll tackle the dismantling of the turbine, tower and foundation once the turbine is at the end of its life, and keeping remediation costs for the land in mind);
- The cost of interconnecting to the SaskPower grid (including participation in the Net Metering or Small Power Producers programs);
- The rate per kilowatt-hour used versus generated;
- The interest rate and payback period on any loans that enabled the project; and
- The available rebates and tax credits.