Q: Dear Wiz:

We own a Bed and Breakfast and would like to purchase a small residential size wind turbine. Are Dollar and Energy Saving Loans available for wind energy projects

The Energy Office published an article in the Nebraska Energy Quarterly on this subject. The last paragraph of the article should have the answer to your question.

The article also gives you contact information with regard to permitting, and other possible funding sources.

For a quick answer to your question, get a quote for a completely installed system, including any electrical equipment, meters, transducers, battery backup, etc. that might be needed, and installation costs, crane rental, concrete footings, etc. Divide that by the amount of savings you might see in a year. The total installed cost of the system, divided by the total annual savings per year, gives you the simple payback of the system in years. To qualify for a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan, you will need to show a simply payback of 10 years or less.

To calculate the savings you might see in a year, simply take the rated capacity of the system, and divide by 5 to get the amount of energy you will see on an average basis. As an example, a system with a 10 kW rating will, on average, put out about 2 kW continuously. There are 8,760 hours in a year, so this would produce about 8,760 hours per year, times 2 kW, or 17,520 kWh per year. If you have a battery backup system (which must be included in your installed cost), and if that system can store all the energy you produce when you are not home and able to use the energy yourself, and if you pay \$0.06 per kWh to your electric provider, then this system would save you \$0.06, times 17,520 kWh, or \$1,051 per year.

If your total installed cost is \$10,000, then the \$10,000 installed cost, divided by \$1,051 per year savings, equals 9.5 years and the system would qualify for a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan. If your total installed cost is \$12,000, then \$12,000 installed cost, divided by \$1,051 per year savings, equals 11.4 years and the system would not qualify for a loan. If your battery backup system cannot hold all of the electricity you produce, or if you do not intend to utilize a battery backup system, then you will need to calculate some average amount of the total kWh you will utilize directly each year, and the remainder of the 17,520 kWh will be sold back to your utility, and the price the utility will pay you will need to be used to calculate the savings for the kWh you do not use directly.