How to decide

t12zht12zh Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
I want to buy a Skystream 3.7 Grid Tie Wind Generator but do not know if it is the one i need.
I am new to this and do not know if it is a good idea to buy a unit that is intragul type power unit.
Should i buy seperate parts and pieces.
Greg

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,077 admin
    Re: How to decide

    Do you have good wind in your area (and few obstructions like trees, buildings, etc.)? In general, if you have good weather and sun--solar PV is better for day in and day out generation... Wind power tends to be more seasonal/storm related (when stormy no solar, lots of wind--so makes good backup for solar PV) in many areas.

    Just a quick look around some wind maps (on Bergey's site) seems to show the area around Pueblo Co. as not that windy.

    If you have some successful wind installations already nearby--that would be a good sign.

    Is this a "do it yourself" project--or a professional install for most of the work?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • t12zht12zh Solar Expert Posts: 62 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to decide

    It will be a do it myself.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: How to decide

    I would talk to real owners of this machine and not bogus referrals from the manufacturer. Once you have obtained that data, I would almost bet that will not go with that p.o.s. It doesn't work and putting all of the electronic components at the top of the tower is ridiculous. SWWP does not care how many times you have to lower and raise your tower to eventually never get this Dud to work.

    I am a wind advocate and I also believe in getting good old fashioned service, especially after the sale. There are people lining up to make a quick buck in this industry with no regards for support or service. Keep in mind, there is no current fix for the SkyDud, yet they wouldn't hesitate to sell and ship you a box of garbage.

    Kim
  • NoodlesNoodles Solar Expert Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Re: How to decide
    Keep in mind, there is no current fix for the SkyDud, yet they wouldn't hesitate to sell and ship you a box of garbage.

    Kim

    If you're speaking of the cold weather issue, the fix was available four days ago, after undergoing UL tests. Southwest Windpower posted it to their website and notified me by e-mail.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: How to decide
    Noodles wrote: »
    If you're speaking of the cold weather issue, the fix was available four days ago, after undergoing UL tests. Southwest Windpower posted it to their website and notified me by e-mail.

    One would assume that this particular turbine would have undergone extensive testing, ie COLD WEATHER testing, and other climate testing. It's obvious they did not, judging from the massive failures.
    This is yet another example of shipping out anything just to make a quick buck. I will argue that this whole industry needs to be held accountable for churning out garbage.
    kim
  • NoodlesNoodles Solar Expert Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Re: How to decide
    t12zh wrote: »
    I want to buy a Skystream 3.7 Grid Tie Wind Generator but do not know if it is the one i need.
    I am new to this and do not know if it is a good idea to buy a unit that is intragul type power unit.
    Should i buy seperate parts and pieces.
    Greg

    If you are in Pueblo, it looks like your wind resource is a "2". I am in a "3", almost "4" zone in Oklahoma, and my Skystream works well in this area. If you are truly in a "2" zone (not living on top of a hill or something), you would be better off to add PV and solar hot water heating, vs spending the time/money on a wind gen.

    Nothing wrong with the integrated inverter in the Skystream. I have been inside of the unit to replace some parts, and it is well built. SWWP just needs to continue to work on improving customer service and timely tech/warranty support(see below).

    Do you want backup power capability? If so, then you will need batteries and a DC wind gen with an inverter. Yes, the Skystream has the capability to "charge batteries", but you'll need to buy a seperate inverter and battery monitor unit for the Skystream. Definitely not cost effective.

    You can install a Skystream yourself, if you have the right experience with mechanics, electrical, etc, and you plan well. I installed mine by myself, without any assistance, including all the concrete, electrical work and guyed-tower assembly. Yes, I'm quite proud of my installation, and it was done safely. It looks and works great.

    Tech support for this unit has improved from last year. However, there is still one person who answers the "customer service" line that can put anyone in a bad mood. Once you learn how to bypass that lady and call tech support directly, tech support answers your questions, etc within a day or two. If they could take that lady off the customer service line, and hire a few more techs to improve the response time, this would be highly beneficial to the reputation of the company.

    Real Skystream owner here. Ask any question you'd like.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,036 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to decide
    Noodles wrote: »

    Real Skystream owner here. Ask any question you'd like.


    Photos of your rig, control panel, inverters, battery bank, charts ? Your's is the only success I've heard of on wind power.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,077 admin
    Re: How to decide

    Noodles,

    I too would be interested in your daily/weekly/monthly typical and cumulative power numbers...

    I can't install wind at my home (lots size and no prevailing winds to speak of), but I would like to see what a successful installation can do.

    The nice thing with Solar PV and Thermal, there are real numbers and charts that don't have to be derated by large factors to give real numbers that are backed up by user experiences.

    Wind, to date, small installations seem to be real light on logged numbers that are more than a few months of data before something breaks or there is 9 months of virtually no power generated.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • NoodlesNoodles Solar Expert Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Re: How to decide
    mike90045 wrote: »
    Photos of your rig, control panel, inverters, battery bank, charts ? Your's is the only success I've heard of on wind power.

    Photos attached. Sorry, I have no control panel, no inverter, and no battery bank. Just my AC disconnect switches, which aren't very exciting to look at. This is a grid-tied system. The tower is a 42 ft guyed tower. Each guy anchor and the tower base is 3 ft diameter, and 3 ft deep (dug by hand last Summer). It is located about 150 ft from my shop, and is tied into the main panel where the electrical service enters the property. The main circuit panel feeds a panel in the house from there.

    Charts? I have not been charting the output, since I don't have a seperate KWH meter for the wind gen. I completed the install last July. In the six months following the Skystream installation, I used 11195 KWH from the power company(probably less, but my meter was not set up for net-metering -fixed in Nov). For the same six months of last year, I used 15688 KWH. Yes, the house uses a lot of AC (3000 sq ft, all electric, 2 heat pumps, 2 hot water heaters and a 5 yr old that leaves the lights on all the time). My next projects are a solar hot water heater system and a PV array(already installed the Xantrex GT 3.3N inverter).

    Only successful wind power install? I doubt it.
  • NoodlesNoodles Solar Expert Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Re: How to decide
    BB. wrote: »
    Noodles,


    Wind, to date, small installations seem to be real light on logged numbers that are more than a few months of data before something breaks or there is 9 months of virtually no power generated.

    -Bill


    You guys are going to make me order a KWH meter and start logging, aren't you?

    My Skystream has not been totally without problems. I had a failure in Sept. SWWP sent me a replacement parts kit after about 3 weeks of calling/e-mail. I replaced the parts and it has worked fine. I developed the cold-weather issue a few weeks ago, where the turbine was shutting down in cold weather. Above 30deg, it starts right back up. SWWP developed the software fix for that, went through the UL approval process, and I'm awaiting the remote interface to allow me to upload the software by remote control vs tilting the tower down.

    Mike
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,036 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to decide
    Noodles wrote: »
    You guys are going to make me order a KWH meter and start logging, aren't you?

    That's the only way anyone can know if conservation is happening, or actual selling.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • NoodlesNoodles Solar Expert Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Re: How to decide
    mike90045 wrote: »
    That's the only way anyone can know if conservation is happening, or actual selling.

    You are correct, Sir. I will look into adding a meter inside the shop.

    I have taken current measurements on several occasions. If the gen is turning 100 rpm (about 8-10 mph wind), it is making over one amp on each phase. In a 20 mph wind (about 300-325 rpm), it exceeds 10 Amps per phase, which is more than advertised. On a typical day here in Southwest Oklahoma, the Skystream output is at 3-4A per phase. I'm in a good wind area and it blows consistently. You can see from the photo that nothing blocks the wind as it comes across the fields. The wind generator is making power and the electric meter spins backward quite often, or is slower with heavy loads on.

    Wind is not for everyone. It is something I took an interest in and followed through with the project. It works for me. As I mentioned, I'm also interested in adding PV and solar water heating, and I have an HVAC zone controller project I'm kicking around to reduce the need for two heat pumps.

    Mike
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to decide

    quote by noodles, "or is slower with heavy loads on".

    it would be slower or faster only by the wind speed as the grid is the load and is constant. curious though as to what precautions swwp took if the grid goes down as there would be nothing to stop the turbine from wildly spinning if they didn't take any precautions.
  • NoodlesNoodles Solar Expert Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Re: How to decide
    niel wrote: »
    quote by noodles, "or is slower with heavy loads on".

    it would be slower or faster only by the wind speed as the grid is the load and is constant. curious though as to what precautions swwp took if the grid goes down as there would be nothing to stop the turbine from wildly spinning if they didn't take any precautions.

    Meaning my main electric meter goes slowly forward when I have loads on in the house while the wind gen is spinning. The grid and the loads in the house are the total load as seen by the wind gen. For example, when the wind gen is spinning the meter backwards, and my wife turns on the clothes dryer(22A per phase), the meter then spins forward. If the wind gen wasn't turning, the meter would spin forward much faster. What I was trying to say is the wind gen is definitely producing power. Although I haven't begun the complete scientific power logging study of this particular unit (by installing another meter decicted to the wind gen), I can tell you that it puts out power, and I believe the manufacturer's claims of 400-500 kWH are pretty close to what I'm getting from the unit.

    The Skystream does have safety measures built into it. I have seen it work. It shuts down if grid power is not within specs, and it does not turn. Even in 70 mph winds, the blades might turn 1 rpm max. If I expect a severe storm (over 60 mph winds) I shut down my system with the manual disconnect located in my garage. If I'm not home, the Skystream will shut itself down anyway at 56 mph, if I remember correctly. As soon as I get the remote interface, I'll have the capability to turn the system off wirelessly without leaving the house.

    From the Skystream manual:

    3-2 Electronic Stall Regulation
    The Skystream 3.7 has the ability to adjust the rotational speed of its
    blades or even stop the blades if required by ambient conditions. This
    referred to as Stall Control and it is accomplished by adjusting the current
    draw from the alternator. The higher the current draw the greater the
    electromagnetic torque applied to the rotor and if enough torque is applied
    the blades will slow or even stop. In simple terms the inverter is demanding
    more power than the available wind can provide thus causing the blade
    rotational speed to decrease.
    As a safety feature the alternator is capable of producing approximately
    five times the torque required to control the turbine. This extra available
    power means that even if segments of the alternator windings are damaged
    there is still sufficient torque to stop the turbine.
    While Skystream is connected to the utility grid it constantly monitors that
    all conditions, for example grid voltage and frequency, are within limits.
    If the inverter determines that all operating conditions are within limits,
    it opens three Normally Closed (NC) relays, RL1, 2 and 3, removing the
    short from the alternator windings and allowing the blades to spin freely.
    Only then will it operate the DPDT Grid Relay RL_G to allow the inverter
    to export power to the grid. Refer to the Skystream Block Diagram in
    Appendix A. Should the inverter sense an abnormal condition, for example
    high current in the alternator windings by means of the current sensors on
    the relay board it will close relays RL1, 2, and 3 thereby stopping the turbine.
    In turn, the DPDT Relay RL_G will be operated to the position where
    the inverter power exporting circuitry is disconnected from the grid.
    3-3 Redundant Relay Switch Control
    As a redundant measure of safety to guarantee stopping the turbine in
    case of a winding fault or a lost connection to the alternator; there are
    seven connections to the alternator windings, but only three are necessary
    to control or stop the turbine. And as a final measure of safety, if the
    inverter is unable to control the rotational speed and Skystream exceeds
    approximately 400 rpm, the rectified voltage will exceed the Zener (Z)
    voltage on the relay board, causing the latching relay (RL4) to open. This
    will cause the relays RL1, 2, and 3 to close and apply all the available
    electromechanical torque to the rotor, stopping Skystream completely. The
    inverter power path will also be disconnected from the grid my means of
    relay RL_G. This is the final level of control and is only applied when all
    other methods of control have failed. As such, once set, (latched) RL4 may
    only be reset by gaining internal access to Skystream – it cannot be reset
    via the Remote Display.
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: How to decide
    Noodles wrote: »
    You guys are going to make me order a KWH meter and start logging, aren't you?

    I'm awaiting the remote interface to allow me to upload the software by remote control vs tilting the tower down.

    Mike

    No need, the remote interface will do that for you. A cut from the user's manual:

    USB Converter & DataLogger Software
    The USB converter allows you to connect the remote display to your computer and monitor Skystream real
    time. Specialized software allows you to create your own power curves, monitor performance remotely and
    even download and transmit the latest software directly to your Skystream to maximize performance. To
    connect Skystream to your computer, you must also use the wireless remote.
  • NoodlesNoodles Solar Expert Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Re: How to decide
    n3qik wrote: »
    No need, the remote interface will do that for you.
    [/I]

    One of the techs at SWWP told me that the "remote monitor/interface does not keep track of total power produced". He said the unit is more for troubleshooting than anything else, and suggested a separate meter for "accurate totals".

    I had one of the remote monitors here a few weeks ago. It did have a KWH function, but I did not have time to check it out thoroughly. I had to send it back because the dealer sent me one that had been returned by another customer. Sorry, but when I buy something "new", it better be "new", and not used by someone and returned. That is the dealer's fault(not NAWS) and not anything SWWP did.

    When I receive another remote monitor/interface, I'll update this post to confirm/deny the function.
    UPDATE: The remote kwh function is reasonably accurate, compared to my dedicated meter.

    Thanks! Mike
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,077 admin
    Re: How to decide

    See if you can find an old utility kWHr meter and wire that up to the wind turbine so that it will log power for you... I have had one for 40 years that I used for various testing situations (before the Kill-A-Watt become popular).

    In the end, actual logging of power produced is the only valid way of knowing what is happing with RE (and conservation). Humans are all too good at internally "fudging the numbers" to support their beliefs and desires.

    But it does sound like you are in an ideal wind zone for producing power.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • NoodlesNoodles Solar Expert Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Re: How to decide

    Thanks Bill. I found a KWH meter with a socket online tonight and I'm having it shipped here this week. I'll start gathering numbers and will report back.

    UPDATE: 296 kwh in the first month with my dedicated meter......

    I saw in another thread that the original poster on this thread has made himself a wind gen, so he's probably not interested in the Skystream info any longer.

    - Mike
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: How to decide

    Noodles,
    You sound like a SWWP company man to me.
    If the unit is well built as you claim, why are you already replacing parts inside of the nacelle?
    According to your MA dealer, his turbine has not run for a week staight at any given time for over a year and count them, 5, yes 5 'fixes' so far and no production. Just lies and deceit from your customer no-service center.

    People on this discussion list know about your company's reputation. In time, you will too when they close the doors because no one will invest in SWWP turbines.Kim

    Noodles wrote: »
    If you are in Pueblo, it looks like your wind resource is a "2". I am in a "3", almost "4" zone in Oklahoma, and my Skystream works well in this area. If you are truly in a "2" zone (not living on top of a hill or something), you would be better off to add PV and solar hot water heating, vs spending the time/money on a wind gen.

    Nothing wrong with the integrated inverter in the Skystream. I have been inside of the unit to replace some parts, and it is well built. SWWP just needs to continue to work on improving customer service and timely tech/warranty support(see below).

    Do you want backup power capability? If so, then you will need batteries and a DC wind gen with an inverter. Yes, the Skystream has the capability to "charge batteries", but you'll need to buy a seperate inverter and battery monitor unit for the Skystream. Definitely not cost effective.

    You can install a Skystream yourself, if you have the right experience with mechanics, electrical, etc, and you plan well. I installed mine by myself, without any assistance, including all the concrete, electrical work and guyed-tower assembly. Yes, I'm quite proud of my installation, and it was done safely. It looks and works great.

    Tech support for this unit has improved from last year. However, there is still one person who answers the "customer service" line that can put anyone in a bad mood. Once you learn how to bypass that lady and call tech support directly, tech support answers your questions, etc within a day or two. If they could take that lady off the customer service line, and hire a few more techs to improve the response time, this would be highly beneficial to the reputation of the company.

    Real Skystream owner here. Ask any question you'd like.
  • NoodlesNoodles Solar Expert Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Re: How to decide
    Noodles,
    You sound like a SWWP company man to me.
    If the unit is well built as you claim, why are you already replacing parts inside of the nacelle?
    According to your MA dealer, his turbine has not run for a week staight at any given time for over a year and count them, 5, yes 5 'fixes' so far and no production. Just lies and deceit from your customer no-service center.

    People on this discussion list know about your company's reputation. In time, you will too when they close the doors because no one will invest in SWWP turbines.Kim

    Ms. Cantrell,

    OK, you got me. I surrender.

    Mike
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,036 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: How to decide

    Make sure the brake mechanism is good:
    http://www.boingboing.net/2008/02/25/wind-turbine-self-de.html
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: How to decide

    That sure appears to be a big tower!
    http://jp.dk/uknews/article1277616.ece
    -S u f
    Here's the story:
    "Minister demands explanation for windmill collapse

    By The Copenhagen Post

    Published 25.02.08 00:00

    The climate minister will begin an investigation into two separate cases of Vestas wind turbines collapsing within the past week

    The climate minister, Connie Hedegaard, is calling for an investigation to determine the cause of two violent wind turbine collapses in Denmark in the past week.

    Both of the windmills were produced by Vestas, and Hedegaard's request to the Energy Board comes after other breakdowns both here and abroad have been reported in the past two months.

    'The problems with the turbines abroad have had to do with poor maintenance, and if that's the case here, then I expect a clear report on how we can ensure this problem is rectified,' Hedegaard told Berlingske Tidende newspaper.

    Her comments come on the heels of the government's new energy agreement ratified by parliament last week, which calls for the country to have 20 percent of its energy produced by sustainable sources by 2011.

    In first of the two collapses, near the city of Århus, a 10-year-old windmill began spinning out of control during high winds. A recording of the explosion-like collapse shows one of the wing blades breaking off, casting debris into the three other wings and shearing the 60- metre tower nearly in half.

    Vestas itself will also now conduct an internal investigation to determine why the wind turbines have been breaking down.

    'We've still got about 35,000 wind turbines across the globe that are operating fine,' said Peter Wenzel Kruse, Vestas's spokesperson. 'But they're not infallible. We're doing what we can and learning from our mistakes.'

    Farmer Keld Boye, who lives in Vig where the latest incident occurred on Sunday, was clearly shaken by the wind turbine's implosion.

    'I drive my tractor and my wife rides horses out there,' he said. 'Just think if we'd been out there when it happened.'

    A recording of the collapse can be seen on YouTube."
    mike90045 wrote: »
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: How to decide

    Does Noodles have any updates on his system?
    TIA.
    -S u f
  • NoodlesNoodles Solar Expert Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Re: How to decide
    Does Noodles have any updates on his system?
    TIA.
    -S u f

    Still turning. Been in service 9 months now(installed last July).

    432 kwh since installation of the dedicated meter(March 1st).

    Averaging about 8 kwh/day.
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