Information for Schools Interested in Installing a Wind Turbine
The all-in installed cost for a high quality (certified) ~2 kW turbine which would provide data for the school as well as a small amount of energy (on the order of hundreds of dollars worth of energy savings per year depending on your local wind resource) would realistically cost $20,000 – $30,000. The range depends on several factors such as tower height, electrical connection distance and permitting requirements. The turbine+tower itself is a little over half of the cost. You can bring costs down with donations of equipment, concrete and labor (digging the hole for the foundation, donation of a crane/bucket truck for raising the tower so the installation firm doesn’t have to bring one in…). These numbers are from our experience with the Skystream turbine which has a built in data acquisition system (data is something you should consider for the educational value and is not built in to most systems).
There are several other certified turbines also available and these are listed on the Small Wind Certification Council’s website. I wouldn’t recommend using anything that is not on this list or you risk putting up something that may not do what they say it will do and it, may not be safe, and it may not work in a year. If you are looking for something larger or smaller you can see that the Skystream is at the bottom of this list and it is the second smallest of these options for your reference. The costs mentioned above will be different based on whether you go with a larger or smaller device. Most installers will be willing to give you a free quote and some may provide an educational discount.
The processes associated with the planning and installation of the wind turbine will excite and motivate students to learn about wind energy, realizing the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in this endeavor.
You can certainly get a much cheaper, smaller, temporary (just for the class period or day of your experiment) wind turbine for display purposes.
There is also a smart phone attachment called the Vaavud wind meter, which can be used for class room (outdoor) wind energy activities.
The installation described above is generally a small residential scale turbine. If your site has a significant wind resource (see PA’s wind map and look for average wind speeds above 6 m/s), you might consider installing a larger wind turbine. If you have questions about this, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You might also check out the resources at St. Francis University.