9 Oct 2006

God help me, I’ve gone and bought a rooftop wind turbine!

Well I was in B&Q last week looking for a curtain rail and I saw this
roof mounted wind turbine on display. I got talking to a bloke called Malcolm, who was sort of in charge (it was the first day of this promotion) and the next thing I knew, I had bought one. It's only £1498, inc VAT and installation. I figured there wasn't that much to lose. I mean, what are credit cards for if not the odd spontaneous splurge?

I got home. Then the doubts really started to kick in. How can it possibly generate any sensible amount of electricity? Will the neighbours think I am being a poser? Or a Tory? Will it make a noise and keep us awake at night? Will it attract lightning and blow all the power out? Will it pull the gable wall down? What will the insurance company make of it? Have I gone stark raving bonkers? The Mrs was not best pleased.

D-Day is this Thursday when "an assessor" comes along to take a look at our house. I am rather hoping that he says we are not a suitable case for treatment and that I can have my money back and that I can write the whole thing off to experience. But another part of me is secretly hoping that it works as advertised. Wouldn't it be brilliant if it does? Then I can leave the computer in sleep mode all night long and not feel guilty.

I am none too happy about paying in advance for anything. Paying in advance for a wind turbine that may be unsuitable and, even if it is, will probably require planning permission seems pretty outrageous. But on the other hand, it is so cheap, I can't quite see how Windsave could possibly make any money out of it without taking cash upfront. And I feel much happier about trying to get a refund from B&Q than I do from a small business in Scotland.

Will report more after our Thursday feasibility study.

1 comment:

  1. Chances are you won't get much joy from it. From reading various forums, expecations are low for domestic wind power even in the environmental camps. As yet there don't seem to be many Windsave users who're able to give better information.

    As for the turbines, they're rated at their nominal output in something approaching gale force winds. In normal conditions and placed near a house which disrupts the air flow the output is likely to be about a tenth of the rated value. Given that the wind doesn't blow all the time, it might be able to run a 100watt bulb for an evening each day.

    Also consider location very carefully. Turbines can be noisy and will almost certainly transmit vibrations into the building they're attached to.

    In rough descending order of 'bang-per-buck' for 'green' technologies on a domestic scale, consider solar hot water, ground-source heat pumps, bio-mass fuels, water power (if you happen to have a suitable plot), wind and then photovoltaics. The last two have significant queries as to whether they actually ever pay back their cost or make a useful contribution to domestic power generation.