A mere breath of a breeze disturbs the quiet of autumn in south London and the wind turbine on the gable of Donnachadh McCarthy's home turns lazily. The morning sun casts shadows from solar panels onto the walls of the house and filters through the windows into his living room. "I'm in surplus. I am now providing money to the grid," he said with a grin, gesturing at a red light winking on the wall that marks the progress of his domestic power station. "I have exported 20 percent more electricity than I've imported this year ... the average carbon footprint is 8.5 (metric) tons in the EU, whereas mine is less than half a ton." McCarthy has long tried to stay at the forefront of British green power generation.
When I first bought my house 3 years ago I looked into buying a wind turbine but it was way too expensive at that time. Over $10,000 for something big enough to do any good and with an additional cost for a panel to hook it into the grid, should I want to do that. That kind of cost was just beyond my meager means of the time.
The story I have linked to above indicates that the costs are coming down on the Continent to the $2,000 range. If the government, state or federal, would also give tax incentives to install turbines I'd be quite willing to spend that much. I love the idea of generating some of my own electricity. The old turbines were too bulky an noisy but the newer generation is more compact and neighbor friendly. Since I live in a small housing subdivision that is in the middle of what used to be a big cow pasture there's often plenty of wind here.
The picture over there is an example of a British kit (600 pounds, about $1,150 US) for a small rooftop turbine. It would only be entry level since it doesn't produce much power but I love the idea. Since I have an acre of land I could go for something bigger.