Financing a Wind Turbine
Finding the right finance for your own wind turbine installation is one of the main considerations for many businesses or homes who want to use it as a renewable energy source. There are a range of avenues to explore, including whether you just want to rent out the ground for a supplier to use or you want to own the wind turbine outright and benefit from the profits of a Feed in Tariff.
Renting Out Your Property for a Wind Turbine
There are a number of installers and companies that will pay you a set ground rent if you let them put in a wind turbine on your property. The caveats are that you will need to have land that is suitable for a wind farm and a wind speed that will produce a good enough return. The benefit for the company is that they earn profits from the Feed in Tariff over the lifetime of the installation. You may also be able to benefit from cheaper electricity costs during that time.
Another option that many installers provide is the chance to go 50-50 on the investment, whereby you provide the finance for half the installation and get half the benefits over the 20 or so years that the turbine is in place.
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Financing Your Own Wind Turbine
The cost of wind turbines is greater than most other renewable sources. Whereas a set of solar panels may cost you around £7,000 for a 4 kW system, a similar pole mounted wind turbine could cost in the region of £20,000. Bigger systems like a 15 kW turbine may well set you back £70,000.
Obviously, how much you spend is going to be determined by the return on investment and how much profit you earn from the Feed in Tariff and cheaper electric bills. The good news is that the bigger the system the more likely you are to benefit and the payback period is shorter than you may think. Find out how much money your wind turbine is likely to make you here.
For most wind turbine installations you are going to need two types of finance:
- First of all you will need development at-risk capital which will be used to explore how suitable the site is and your planning application.
- Secondly you will need capital for the actual construction, buying the turbine and having it installed.
Other Sources of Finance
You will need to be clear on the return on investment that your new turbine is going to provide but there are number of sources where you can get finance apart from your own bank.
- NatWest have an agriculture division that can offer 100% finance with no deposit for farms that have the land available for a wind farm installation. Find out more about what they can offer here.
- Rural Finance Ltd also deal in agricultural finance and provide a specialist service to farmers and rural communities. Find out more here.
- The Carbon Trust is an international company that can help small business become more eco-friendly with the option of finance packages as well as advice and support on the best renewable solutions. Find out more about The Carbon Trust here.
- Eastern Counties Finance provides a wide range of support to farms and rural businesses including advice on farm energy finance. Find out more about them here.
- If you have land that would be suitable for a wind turbine or even a wind farm and you would like to lease that out rather than build yourself, then you can contact a company like Renewables First who will be able to judge if you are suitable.
The other option for many rural areas is to make larger constructions a community effort. An example is the Valley Wind Co-operative in Colne that is aiming to help produce cleaner and cheaper energy for the local residents.
Tips for Choosing the Right Finance Options
Be sure that you have the right information at hand – What kind of wind turbine installation do you want? What is the return of investment likely to be? What are the areas that may need additional financing? In other words, be prepared.
Explore a range of financing opportunities from your own bank to more specialist providers, as well as installers who offer finance options. Finance opportunities are starting to increase for renewables as the industry starts to take off. As with any industry there will be those who look for best practice and those that want to make a quick buck.
Make sure you take the right legal advice and check any contract carefully, especially if you have opted to lease your land out for the development of a wind farm or single turbine.
Should You Consider a Wind-Solar Hybrid?
Of all the renewable energies available for homes and businesses, wind turbine power is probably the most problematical when it comes to gaining the right finance. A number of urban sites such as schools have opted for a combination of wind and solar to provide their energy needs. The cheaper building mounted wind turbines work well in the winter whilst the solar draws in the energy more over the summer months.
Look here for some more UK companies offering finance for renewable technologies.
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