Small wind projects are generally defined as those of less than 100 kW, and are sized to provide the electricity needs for a home, farm or business. Michigan has good capability for small wind systems in many areas of the state - see the Michigan Wind Maps for more information.
An overview of small wind systems and if they will work for you is available here, the Michigan Small Wind Fact Sheet. A more comprehensive guide to small wind systems in Michigan is also available; A Michigan Consumer’s Guide to Small Wind Electric Systems.
You can also reference a Buying Guide for Small Wind Turbines, published by HomePower Magazine. When you’re ready to talk to an installer, the State Energy Office has compliled a list of small wind installers that serve Michigan and surrounding states.
Small wind systems are also known as “behind the meter” systems…they produce energy that the owner no longer has to purchase from the electric utility. They require “a penny saved, a penny earned” mentality, because you are not selling your wind-produced electricity to the utility - you are off-setting the long-term costs of your own electricity purchases. A long-term view is also important, as most small wind systems are designed to run for 20-25 years.
Many people have been asking about small rooftop wind systems that are increasingly availalbe on the market. Wisconsin Energy has developed a very useful fact sheet for rooftop turbines that helps to answer consumers’ questions.
Several recent developments have made small wind much more economically feasible in Michigan. First, in 2009, Michigan adopted a net metering rule, whicn requires utilities to give full retail credit to small renewable energy producers with systems up to 20kW. Partial net metering is available to systems up to 150 kW. The Michigan Public Service Commission has posted highlights of the net metering program. To contact your utility to learn more about interconnection and net metering, see the MPSC’s Utility Interconnection and Net Metering page.
To help offset the cost of a small wind turbine, there is a 30% federal tax credit available from 2009 through 2016 on turbines sized 100 KW or smaller. This is part of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, and there is no maximum tax credit limit. This tax credit, coupled with net metering, really helps improve the economic feasibility of small wind in Michigan.