What's going on with SWWP?

marcoBmarcoB Registered Users Posts: 2
Just visited Southwest WindPower's website and saw the notices on the AIR and WHISPER turbines. I did a Google search to find out more but couldn't find any info on this, did find information about some layoffs though, and they've moved to Colorado. Just wondering if any of their dealers had inside knowledge on what has been happening there the past year, seems like a lot of changes.

Comments

  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?

    We stopped selling their products some months ago, so have not been keeping up with them much, but I am not surprised.
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 1,014 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?

    I think you may find some of their old products have now been bought by these guys...

    http://www.primuswindpower.com/

    I believe that SWWP still has the Skystreams and will honor some Whisper warranties.

    boB
  • BillFBillF Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?

    Not a surprise really. The drop in pv module prices really dinged residential wind (turbine & tower costs have risen) and I'm sure SWWP's sales have dropped off the cliff. Over the past two years I started doing the math with clients comparing grid tie costs of solar vs wind with expected energy production and solar would always come out on top especially when you factored in operational expenses, permitting requirements and related hassles. Of course going off grid is a different animal and having a wind turbine is a must regardless of other considerations.
    With that said I would like to add that the SS3.7 systems (dozen or so) I have installed since the SS3.7 was released are all working well and for grid tie users seems to have been a good fit. All are on 70' tilt up towers and in areas with good wind resources. Clients have all been warned that at some point in time blades will need replaced and bearings serviced.
    Here is a link to an article regarding layoffs in December of 2012: http://azdailysun.com/news/local/more-layoffs-at-turbine-plant/article_951ac781-d406-5025-841f-16d037b409d4.html
    I would expect a lot more changes in the solar and wind power industry both residential and commercial, as adjustments to current market conditions are made.
  • NEOHNEOH Solar Expert Posts: 74 ✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?
    BillF wrote: »
    Clients have all been warned that at some point in time blades will need replaced and bearings serviced.

    From the owners manual ...

    "... There are no periodic service requirements other than replacing the blades after 20 years. All bearings and rotating components were designed for a 20-year life at an IEC Wind Class II site, under the IEC 61400-2 Small Wind Safety Standard. This corresponds to a site with an average wind speed of 8.5 m/s..."

    When you say "... at some point in time ..." are you referring to the stated 20 year life or sooner?
  • BillFBillF Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?

    Sooner than 20 years. I would be surprised if the blades lasted ten years without showing significant erosion before then. I've had blades from Bergey's Exel and Kestrel both of which use leading edge tape start showing damage from airborne particulates less than two years after they've been installed. The SS3.7 blades do not have this tape. I believe a lot depends on the area the turbines are installed. Farm land with tilled soil and sandy areas will have more "grit" in the air which will cause pitting. Not a big problem with the Bergey Excel blades since they are solid along the leading edge. However the SS 3.7 and Kestrel blades are hollow. Bergey's XL.1 blades are solid through but will erode as well on the leading edge.
    Although the SS3.7 manual states a 20 year life span for various components one should not wait for a failure (sure to occur @ 20 yrs) but expect to replace or service before that time. There are "no periodic service requirements" as stated in your manual but annual inspections are recommended and blades are specifically singled out to look for cracks & nicks. It is unrealistic IMHO to expect a wind turbine to operate 20 years without repair or maintenance.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?
    BillF wrote: »
    There are "no periodic service requirements" as stated in your manual but annual inspections are recommended and blades are specifically singled out to look for cracks & nicks. It is unrealistic IMHO to expect a wind turbine to operate 20 years without repair or maintenance.

    A disconnect between the language used in this manual and common usage for cars, etc.: The periodic maintenance schedule for a car clearly includes inspections for particular parts as well as time-based replacements.
    (And that still does not specifically call out things which should be "obvious" but not time based, like putting in gas and changing windshield wiper blades.)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?

    A little birdy on the inside told me Yesterday 2/20/2013 was SWWP's last day of operations period. Skystream and All. Expect a big press release today.

    Ryan
  • marcoBmarcoB Registered Users Posts: 2
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?

    Oh wow.... does anyone have any inside knowledge on what will happen to deposits that had been placed for new turbines?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,923 admin
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?

    Why I use credit cards much more these days... The card company is (usually) responsible to refund your money--even if the vendor went out of business.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?
    marcoB wrote: »
    Oh wow.... does anyone have any inside knowledge on what will happen to deposits that had been placed for new turbines?

    If the company goes into bankruptcy, the customers who have paid deposits are usually considered unsecured creditors, since the equipment that they paid a deposit for probably does not exist.
    That puts them at the end of the line after everyone except stockholders.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • BillFBillF Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?

    Oh wow, this is sad news indeed. I've personally used and sold a number of their turbines since 1998. I hope all employees will be able to cope and adjust.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?
    NEOH wrote: »
    From the owners manual ...
    "... There are no periodic service requirements other than replacing the blades after 20 years. All bearings and rotating components were designed for a 20-year life

    That's nice to put in an owner's manual, but not totally accurate in the real world. Turbines that run at high tip speeds will require blade rebuilding about every 5 years or so. The leading edges erode with time and it's a simple "fix" to build them up with BondoGlass, sand them and repaint. If you let them go too far, and the leading edges get too eroded, the blade will have to be replaced and can't be refurbished any longer.

    I think it's pretty much of a stretch to expect 20 years from the blades on a SS3.7. They run too fast for the blades to last that long.
    --
    Chris
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    The leading edges erode with time and it's a simple "fix" to build them up with BondoGlass, sand them and repaint.
    Which then becomes the "sacrificial anode" for future erosion?
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?
    inetdog wrote: »
    Which then becomes the "sacrificial anode" for future erosion?

    Yes. But frankly, I've never had good luck with fiberglass blades. The Gel Coat tends to stress crack with age and then water gets in. Some of them have a foam core, which soaks up the water - but fiberglass itself is hydroscopic as well and gains weight with water.

    Wood blades, sealed and painted with DuPont Imron or PPG Delstar/Delthane are just about indestructible. Trees evolved over millions of years to handle flexing and swaying in the wind and wood blades inherit that characteristic from trees - so they don't stress crack. Properly sealed from moisture, wood blades will outlast fiberglass 2:1. The DuPont Imron coating was developed for the commercial transportation industry (aircraft and trucking), and was later adopted by the auto restoration business - being famous for being able to hit a body panel painted with Imron and the paint will flex but won't crack or chip. It is by far tougher than leading edge tape.

    The downside with Imron and its ilk is that is is very toxic to handle and spray. And most people that used to work with it are now dead from it from not wearing proper respirators with an outside air supply - so it has fallen out of favor due to its toxicity and difficulty in handling and application.
    --
    Chris
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,395 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?
    ChrisOlson wrote: »

    The downside with Imron and its ilk is that is is very toxic to handle and spray. And most people that used to work with it are now dead from it from not wearing proper respirators with an outside air supply - so it has fallen out of favor due to its toxicity and difficulty in handling and application.
    --
    Chris

    Imron has an isocyanate hardener which is highly toxic, but damn it is tough stuff.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?

    DuPont Imron is way tougher than aluminum or steel. I have some turbines that have been flying for 9 years with the blades painted with it and they never did erode. But the leading edges do collect bugs and dirt and get rough after awhile. Rather than trying to clean the leading edges with a scrubber I wet sanded them with 1000 grit and just resprayed the clear on it.
    --
    Chris
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?

    Well this looks like a bad sign. If they did not pay the rent????
    swwp.jpg 108.3K
  • ChasMtnManChasMtnMan Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?
    marcoB wrote: »
    Oh wow.... does anyone have any inside knowledge on what will happen to deposits that had been placed for new turbines?

    Also, what about all of us who still have years left on their 5-year warranty on their Skystream 3.7 wind turbine? Who will handle this?
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?
    ChasMtnMan wrote: »
    Also, what about all of us who still have years left on their 5-year warranty on their Skystream 3.7 wind turbine? Who will handle this?

    No one. Your warranty is even more worthless than the day it was written.
    Welcome to the real world. :cry:
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: What's going on with SWWP?

    My guess is NOBODY but that's just a guess.
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