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Home Wind Turbine
Several small home sized wind turbine options have come onto the market in the past couple of years. While new suppliers pop into the market every month, companies like Southwest Windpower and Bergy, which have been in the wind turbine business almost forever, continue to come out with new models on a regular basis. So you're thinking it's about time you had a home wind turbine. Where do you start?
Conservation - Reduce your load
Know Your Electrical Usage
Average Wind Speed
How Much Power from a Home Wind Turbine
Netmeter vs Off-Grid or Batteries
Tower and Extras
Vertical (VAWT) vs Horizontal (HAWT)
For an Urban location, the main difference between vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) and horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT) is their response to turbulent winds. A VAWT is better suited for Urban locations, where other buildings and trees cause the wind to be more turbulent (gusty, with severe direction changes). Both types of home wind turbine will function better with smooth air, but a VAWT does not need to rotate into the wind like a HAWT.
HAWT tend to produce more power with a smaller size, but historically have produced more noise. Modern designs have greatly reduced the amount of noise produced. You can normally mount a HAWT higher and thus get access to faster and smoother air (and therefore more power). Guyed towers, take a lot of physical space.
VAWT have been advertised as friendly to birds. It's a myth that large commercial wind turbines are bad for birds, unless someone erects one inside a migration path. For small home wind turbines, I would not have a bird feeder on my property. And yes, the local cats will kill many times more birds than a small wind turbine.
Let's go shopping......
Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT)
Here's a random sample of VAWT Home Wind Turbines. Note that other than the DIY (Do It Yourself) models, I'd consider these VAWT's to be very expensive for what you get.
Power: 1.2 kilowatts (kw)
Annual Production: 2,000 kw
Size: 30 ft tall, 2 ft wide
Includes: Inverter - ready to connect at 120V
Cost: around $ 5,000
Website: Windspire Overview
With 4 models available, all VAWT and ranging in price from $4,500 to $35,000, there may be a model just right for you. Let's look at the Delta I model: $5,500 includes shipping.
Website: Delta I
Power: 200 watts to 10 KW
Annual Production: varies
Includes: Controller & Dump Load
Cost: around $ 200w= $1,685. 10KW = $28,445
Website: Four Seasons Windpower
Power: 600 watts to 12 KW*
Annual Production: questionable
Note: Jan 11 2010, Wepower & Cleanfield announce intent to merge. Neither company reports their wind generator power production in standard terms nor publish the prices for their products. We find their products very expensive for what you get.
Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWT)
Here's a random sample of HAWT Home Wind Turbines.
4 foot PVC Blades
Just like with VAWT, the best priced home wind turbines are the ones you build yourself. Here's one from our site, which includes the plans and several pictures to help you through the building process.
Cost - about $100
Included: - just the wind turbine. Tower will cost you just as much as the wind turbine.
Website: DIY Wind Turbine
One of the oldest wind turbine manufacturing companies in existence, they are also one of the best. They have a full range of sizes for the HOME consumer.
Power: 200 watts to 3 KW
Annual Production: varies
Includes:Skystream 3.7 includes everything except the disconnect switch - ready to connect to your fuse panel for GRID-TIE.
Cost: around $599 and up
Video of Skystream 3.7: Skystream
Website: Southwest Windpower
Power: 450W, 750W & 900W
Includes: Charge Controller
Cost: 450W=$675, 750W=$1,125, 900W=$1,275
Website: ARI Green Energy
Power: 500W, & 2.5KW
Includes: Charge Controller or an Inverter
Cost: 500W=$5,600, 2.5KW=$9,200
NOTE: I can't see them ever selling a unit at these crazy prices!
Website: Home Energy Americas
Bergy has also been in the wind power business for several years.
Power:1 KW, & 10 KW
Includes: Charge Controller or an Inverter
Cost: 1 KW=$2,790, 10 KW=$ 23,500 or $29,500
NOTE: If the 10KW unit is configured to charge batteries, it produces 7.5KW and cost $23,500. At 10KW and Grid Intertie, with Inverter, it cost $29,500.
Honeywell has redesigned the small home wind turbine, by placing the generator along the outside edge of the blades. As a result, their home wind turbine will start to produce power at light winds of just 2 MPH.
Honeywell states that their wind turbine can be mounted VERY CLOSE to your rooftop. We know the wind speeds just at rooftop level are both slow and turbulent. I am very surprised at their recommended mounting.
Note also, that even though this wind turbine will produce power at 2 MPH wind speeds, it would only produce 60 cents worth of power, in a whole year. Thus, I would consider this a "marketing" ploy and not a reason to purchase this particular home wind turbine.
Still, if you mount this wind turbine where it will catch a good breeze, it should do well and at a reasonable price.
Power:2 KW, - 1,500 kwh per year.
Includes: Charge Controller and Inverter
Cost: 2 KW=$4,500,
This is just a short list of some of the wind turbine manufactures. Look around your immediate area for a supplier. It's always great to be able to talk face-to-face to the person who sold you your wind turbine. Also, please be aware that a huge number of new companies have come online in the past few months. Several are from China and offer very attractive pricing. It's hard to judge the quality of new vendors, without a track record. Let the buyer beware.
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