If you’re anything like me and find windmills both genius and oddly calming, the residential Skystream 3.7 windmill by Southwest Windpower may be the perfect addition to your backyard landscape. Available in 35-110 foot heights (determined by your site characteristics), this slim yet high-performance wind generator can produce 400 kilowatt hours of energy per month, up to 90% of an average household’s energy consumption. Skystream works efficiently with your local utility grid, too, switching back to grid power when wind speeds drop below 8 miles per hour.
So what’s the fine print? Skystream, while intended for residential use, requires roughly an acre of land to function properly, and costs $8500 including installation of the 35-foot tower. Southwest Windpower estimates the wind tower paying for itself in four to twelve years, depending on your energy consumption, weather patterns, and local utility rates.