How Many Houses Can A Wind Turbine Power?

wind turbines installed in a farm

The way we’ve been electrifying our communities is changing fast and for good reasons. After all, the new means of power generation are all, by and large sustainable. 

And within this clean energy movement, wind turbines are clearly leading the transition, albeit along with their solar counterparts. 

But when it comes to installing wind turbines, there’s one question that looms large, which is how many houses can a wind turbine power?

You see, just like solar energy, wind turbines too can power up anywhere from an individual home to an entire city. The diverse customer base of wind energy solutions speaks to this fact. 

As such, it’s commonplace to find both homeowners as well as large energy giants in the wind turbine marketplace. 

However, wind turbine buyers are all puzzled by the question as to what quantity and capacity they should look for. And if you’re one such buyer, the right answer will go a long way to make your project successful. 

So read on as we’ve answered all your questions regarding wind energy for power generation in general and residential wind turbines in particular. 

What is a wind turbine in the first place? 

an old-school wind turbine

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how many homes can be powered with a wind turbine, it’s essential you understand wind turbines and their working. 

As you might already be aware, wind turbines are giant machines that tap into the force of the wind to generate energy. 

And they do so by following a two-step process: 

Step 1. Here, the kinetic energy from the wind is converted into mechanical energy. 

Step 2. This step involves further converting the mechanical energy into electrical energy by using the various components of the turbine. 

Also, while there are different types of wind turbines, there are some components that are common for all. For instance, a turbine tower, blades, rotor, generator, etc., are common across wind turbines. 

Not to mention, these components are closely connected and work together to generate energy.

For instance, the turbine blades tap wind energy to rotate. This, in turn, turns the rotors connected to the blades and creates a rotational drive to power the generator and create electricity. 

Fun fact: 

Modern as it might seem, wind energy is quite ancient, and its use dates back to 5000 BC. Back then, people used it to propel their boats on the river Nile. 

Nonetheless, a fully-functional wind turbine only came into being in 1887 when Prof. James Byth successfully demonstrated its electricity generation capabilities. In fact, his home was the first place in the world to be powered by wind-generated electricity. 

Interesting, isn’t it? 

What are the different types of wind turbines? 

vertical-axis wind turbine


You can find hundreds of wind turbine varieties, with each featuring a different shape and size. However, based on their method of energy generation, wind turbines are mainly classified into two types, namely horizontal and vertical turbines.

Let’s have a look up close at both wind turbine types to understand better: 

1. Horizontal wind turbines

Horizontal turbines are the modern avatar of the older windmills and are also the most commonly used wind turbines. So it’s not surprising that people instantly picture these giant turbines the moment we talk about wind energy. 

Also called horizontal-axis turbines, you can find three (and sometimes four) large blades on these that look exactly like an airplane propeller. 

Now, unlike the wind turbines in their heyday, these turbines are huge, with the largest ones being as tall as a 20 storied building. Also, the blades on such turbines are large too and can go up to 100 feet in size. 

Meaning when it comes to how many houses can a horizontal wind turbine power, you can easily assume that these turbines can power up an entire county. 

2. Vertical wind turbines

Another kind of turbine that has become popular of late is vertical wind turbines, thanks to their unique design and availability in all sizes. 

These turbines have a vertical rotor with blades attached to their top and bottom. And although they’ve been around since 1931, when French engineer Georges Darrieus patented the design, their modern variants have come on the market only recently. 

You can think of a vertical wind turbine as a super large-sized egg beater, with the largest of these turbines measuring 100 feet in length and 50 feet in breadth. 

The best part: you can find a vertical wind turbine capable of powering anywhere from a single-family home to a large power plant

How many homes can a wind turbine power up exactly? 

Generally speaking, there isn’t a fixed number of homes that you can power using one wind turbine. That’s because the exact amount of energy that a typical turbine can generate depends on a host of factors and varies for different turbines. 

For instance, the size and capacity of the wind turbine, the installation location, and the local weather conditions all play a key role in determining how much energy is generated. 

Nevertheless, you can still figure out an approximate number of households that can be supplied electricity by analyzing the Capacity Factor of a wind turbine

So how does the capacity factor come into play in determining how many houses can a wind turbine power? 

Well, let’s have a close look and develop an in-depth understanding. 

Capacity factor and the number of homes a wind turbine can electrify

Simply put, the capacity factor is a calculation of how much energy is actually produced by a wind turbine as compared to its total capacity. 

Here’s an example: 

Suppose a wind turbine has a CF or capacity factor of 50 percent. This means that the turbine will generate only half of its total or 100 percent output capacity, on average, throughout its lifespan. 

And while it might seem simplistic, the capacity factor is a reliable way to calculate the actual power generation capacity of a wind turbine. So much so that CF is used as an authentic source of estimation by just about anyone looking to generate wind energy. 

Fun fact: 

Did you know that the average capacity factor of wind turbines in the country is only about 36 percent? 

But that doesn’t mean that our wind turbines aren’t efficient. In fact, North America has the most favorable terrain for optimum wind energy generation, thanks to the vast areas with high wind speeds. 

How to estimate the number of homes a wind turbine can power using capacity factor?

Calculating how many houses a wind turbine can power using its capacity factor isn’t complicated at all. 

Here’s an example with statistics that you can use for estimation: 

You see, according to the Energy Information Administration, an average American household consumes around 10,632 kWh of energy in a year. And this translates to a monthly energy consumption of about 886 kWh. 

Now, if the figures from the US Wind Turbine Database are any suggestion, an average wind turbine in the country can generate more than 843,000 kWh of energy every month. 

And if you factor in the 42 percent CF or capacity factor of the newer wind turbines, this amount of energy is enough to sufficiently power 940 homes for the month. 

That’s a pretty effective calculation, isn’t it? 

The factors that determine CF or the actual power output of wind turbines

As we discussed earlier, there are various factors that decide how much energy a wind turbine can produce at a given time. In fact, these factors also play a crucial role in deciding the capacity factor of all types of turbines. 

Curious as to how these factors come into play? 

Let’s have a look. 

1. Wind speed in the area 

How efficient your wind turbine is at energy generation depends directly on the wind speed. Meaning the higher the wind speed, the more energy you can expect a turbine to generate. 

Nevertheless, there are some technical aspects of wind speed that affect the amount of energy generated. 

For instance, the modern turbines at most wind energy farms have a cut-in and a cut-out speed. Herein, while the cut-in speed implies the minimum speed at which turbine generators start, the cut-out speed is the maximum speed for the safe operation of the turbine. 

In a nutshell, you can expect maximum power output when the wind speed is below but close enough to the cut-out speed of the turbine. 

2. Turbine type and size 

Another factor that determines energy output is the type and size of wind turbines. 

You see, as we discussed earlier, wind turbines are available in all sizes, from small individual home turbines to large wind farm turbines. So it is only natural for the larger-sized turbines to generate more electricity compared to the smaller ones. 

Similarly, the type of turbine also determines how many homes does one wind turbine power.

For instance, a vertical wind turbine can produce electricity even at a very low wind speed. Meaning such turbines can power homes quite effectively, notwithstanding the wind conditions. 

3. Altitude 

Altitude is a critical factor when it comes to the efficiency of wind turbines. And that’s especially true for horizontal turbines that call for high wind speeds. 

That’s because the higher a wind turbine’s altitude goes, the more wind speed it is exposed to. As such, a high-altitude wind turbine is likely to generate more electricity compared to one installed at a lower altitude. 

4. Additional factors 

Apart from the above factors, there are some additional factors too that can make a difference in the number of homes a wind turbine can power. And that includes: 

A. The design, size, and precision of the turbine blades. 

B. The turbine’s orientation towards the direction of the wind. 

C. How well the wind turbine has been maintained. 

Wind turbine: FAQs

vertical-axis wind turbine

How many wind turbines to power a house? 

You don’t need a lot of wind turbines to electrify your home. Nor do you need a very powerful turbine, for that matter. 

You see, like residential solar panels and shingles, there are smaller wind turbines readily available for individual homes, that too on a budget. Meaning you can easily switch to a home wind turbine and have your own off-the-grid sustainable energy. 

Note: if you’re looking to install a wind turbine on your property, we suggest you first look at your local and state codes and ensure these laws permit such projects. 

Where is a wind turbine installed? 

A wind turbine is installed both on-shore or on land and off-shore in the sea. In fact, the largest wind farms are off-shore sea wind farms. 

The off-shore wind farms have the advantage of high-speed winds at sea, something that many on-shore farms lack. However, residential wind turbines are all on-shore installations. 

You might also want to read – Light Pole Installation: A Step-by-step Guide


As you can see, the question of how many houses can a wind turbine power has no straightforward answer. 

Nevertheless, calculating the approximate energy generation by a wind turbine is no rocket science either, as some basic math is all you need. 

Looking for a wind turbine along with an exact estimation of how many houses it can power? 

You can get in touch with us! 

We have industry-leading wind energy solutions for both commercial and residential applications. Not to mention, our solutions are also the most cost-efficient on the market. In short, we’ve got all your needs covered. 



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