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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Can a home wind turbine make money?

Household windmills are becoming quite the fashion, apparently, but can they make money?

Domestic wind turbines have been described as "the new handbags" - the latest luxury items craved by those who want to be first to try new technology.

But this description overlooks their green credentials, because any electricity powered by the elements is reducing CO2 emissions, which are blamed for global warming.

And there are also the financial motivations.

A household with a windmill can save money on bills and sell excess electricity back to the national grid. So could wind turbines become a nice little earner?

They are certainly on the increase - 7,000 households have been given grants to get the turbines installed.

A report this week by the Sustainable Consumption Roundtable envisages a future where households generate their electricity at home, using wind, solar and heat energy - but only if the government bought panels and turbines in large quantities for public buildings, so costs fall.

"Then we could all afford them," says Alan Knight, the group's chairman. "To install a generator or solar panel today you need specialist help. You should be able to buy one at B&Q and stick it in yourself."

Turbines come in a range of sizes, prices and powers, and living close to neighbours can make planning permission problematic.



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