Is your charitable group looking to support or raise funds for a wind energy project? Or is your school looking to cut electric costs and overhead with a renewable wind project? Outlined here is a quick guide about what you need to know for project funds to get a wind turbine installed! Click here for a coordinating sample fundraising letter for wind energy.
Wind Energy Basics: What You Need to Know
- The price of wind energy is now very competitive – it can even cost less than natural gas or other electric sources. In fact, the price has declined by 90 percent since 1980, according to the Wind Energy Foundation.
- The cost of wind is entirely in the equipment and the installation. While it is significantly more expensive to install a larger capacity system, it puts out much more energy and has a greater ROI as a result. For example, A 10 kW system will cost around $64,000 and put out 21,500kWh of electric per year. A 5kW system will cost half as much at around $32,000, but it will only put out 8,900 kWh a year – less than half. (See the Renewable Energy Hub for more information.)
- Wind energy only works if you have wind of course, bot you don’t need as much as you might think. Click over to the NREL atlas to see if you fall in a zone with standard or excellent wind resources. Almost anywhere in the US except for the southeast and parts of the southwest falls in decent wind zones for small scale projects!
The US Department of Energy has kept an active page of possible funding sources for school projects, WINDExchange, as part of the Wind for Schools initiative. Twelve states can directly receive funding from this grant opportunity that includes STEM based curriculum for students. Schools only have to chip in a few thousand dollars depending on the size of the turbine!
While other Federal and state funding opportunities vary, there are more and more opportunities from local private foundations (such as the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation). You should be able to find a base for at least half your project costs as a result.
For nearly any opportunity, you will need to find matching funds from other local sources. Good places to start a search for possible funders, along with a personal appeal to your donors, include:
- Local utility companies, especially ones that are investing themselves in wind energy.
- Business funds for sponsorship or donation, from companies or corporate foundations that support education in general and “green” or environmental causes.
- Wind industry companies or installation specialists in your area that can use the project as a showcase.
- Local funding such as Rotary Clubs, Lions Club, or other supportive charities with active groups in your community.
More about environmental fundraising.