The cost of buying a wind turbine depends on several factors. It is important to note that the market for wind turbines is still relatively small, making wind turbine prices a lot more than what the technology and manufacturing costs are expected to be in the future. The prices are estimated to go down once there is improved competition in the market of wind generator manufacturers.
These machines range micro turbines with a capacity of 50 kilowatts to large turbines with capacities in megawatts. Naturally, the price will go up as the turbine capacity increases. Another classification is according to the turbine environment. There are turbines for low wind areas that have a large rotor and there are turbines for high wind areas with small rotors. Low wind turbines cost more than high wind units since they have to be a lot more efficient because of the absence of high wind speeds helping increase electricity generation.
Wind turbine prices are not directly proportional to their power rating. There is not much difference in the labor and construction costs of 100kW and 500kW turbines. For commercial wind turbines, the cost is usually around $1 million to $2 million for every megawatt of nameplace capacity. Small scale wind turbines, on the other hand, cost around $2,500 to $5,000 per kilowatt of installed nameplate capacity. For an average household, which requires a 10kW unit, this would mean that the total costs will range from $25,000 to $50,000.
However, there are very small ones (1kW – 2kW) that are available from $800 upwards. These turbines come with a low start up speed and torque to provide optimum power output in regular conditions. Although they may not provide for luxurious power usage for an average household, they can pretty much meet some of your electricity needs throughout the year. These are ideal for consumers living in remote areas. Most small wind generator suppliers charge no more than $300 for shipping.
The downside is the rising costs of wind machines. One would normally expect prices to go down as technology became more advanced and available, but statistics show that turbine prices have increased more than 70% for land-based turbines and almost 50% for offshore wind turbines. The price hike has made offshore wind turbines cost a half and three million dollars per megawatt of capacity, and land based turbines, two million dollars per MW.
Just like the solar energy industry, shortage of commodity has contributed to rising prices for the wind energy industry. The silver lining in the story is that an incredible increase in demand for turbines has contributed to rising costs. There are not enough manufacturers to make enough turbines, or make them fast enough. Wind energy has finally been discovered by the masses as well as investors. It is clear that the wind industry will become a very profitable venture in the not-so-far future, and companies are plunging into the opportunity of being there as it happens.