they do, value. One is that renewables create jobs. Accord-a retail rate for all that you can generate up to a certain capac-ing to a recent National Public Radio report citing figures ity cap, then you might install the largest turbine you can from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fastest growing afford up to that cap. That was my family’s situation. We were occupation in the U.S. capable of offset-projected from 2014-ting all of the elec-2024 is wind turbine tricity we normally According to a recent National service technician. consumed in our While not apropos house and shop plus Public Radio report citing to home RE, there’s heat our attached also an astounding greenhouse with figures from the US Bureau growth in the PV an in-floor radi-of Labor Statistics, the fastest installer segment that ant heating system is. Both are encour-in the winter, our growing occupation in the U.S. aging statistics. It’s windy season and projected from 2014-2024 is noteworthy that the when we need the dollars earned from heat the most. With wind turbine service technician. those jobs are spent excess electric-in local communities ity still, our future (political districts). And since most electricity is currently plans will consider an all-electric vehicle when it’s time to generated with distantly-sourced fuels of various sorts (the replace our hybrid. US moves a lot of natural gas and coal, and we still buy hydro If, on the other hand, your utility is far more conservative, from Canada), home-grown electricity keeps dollars local you may wish to install a wind system that will offset only a and not exported, never to be recouped. As many states have portion of your needs while still making a very visible state-discovered, renewables are good for their economic strength. ment of your values. If you want to serve as an educational Yet another value of RE often politically touted by various demonstration site, the size of the turbine really doesn’t entities is that of customer choice. All of these for the result matter. What matters is that you have a turbine, that it oper-of a stronger, more diverse, healthier, more robust economy. ates and generates renewable electricity, and that it offsets a certain amount of utility-generated brown electricity, all Putting Your Dollars the while mitigating the production of (you figure out the amount) greenhouse gasses. Where Your Values Are So your first step in deciding if you want a wind or RE system entails an introspective values clarification exer-cise, examining why you want a wind system. Energy inde-pendence? Lock in future energy costs? Return on invest-ment? Doing your part to mitigate global climate change? Support for the renewables industry? Power an electric vehicle? Set an example for your family and community? Leave a legacy? These are valid reasons for installing a wind turbine. Your values will affect the system you choose, the amount of money you are willing to spend, and the time you are willing to commit to being your own utility. Depending on your financial capabilities and goals, you also need to determine how your utility will credit any excess generation. If your utility is liberal and will compensate you at 18 SUMMER 2017 SOLAR TODAY Making the Financial Commitment to Your Values However you decide to rationalize the purchase and instal-lation of a wind system, remember that this is a decades-long commitment. Wind systems are designed to operate for 20 to 30 years, PV systems longer. As such, you will be incur-ring expenses for operation, maintenance and repairs over that time, some possibly major. You may even need to call your installer back just after commissioning the system for fine tuning. No one assumes they can buy a car, a compara-ble investment, and drive it for a decade with no O&M. Nor should you with a RE system. Copyright © 2014 American Solar Energy Society. All rights reserved.