$18k for your own windmill

SystemSystem Posts: 2,511 admin
When I read this in our Province wide newspaper this morning, my reaction, given what I've learned about this product on this form, was shock!

"MAVILLETTE, Digby County — Micro turbines are coming.
They’re not toys for rambunctious boys. They’re actually personal windmills for families in need of cheap electricity.

“It was designed to power a single home," said Robert Foster, who installed one only days ago.

A Skystream 3.7 micro turbine is up and spinning this week at his Digby County home.

http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/Business/9006684.html

Wayne

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,638 admin
    Re: $18k for your own windmill

    Hmmm,
    He [Robert Foster] works in the home improvement industry in Maine and summers at Mavillette. Now he manages a new Nova Scotia company, Western Shore Windpower, which specializes in residential wind*mills.

    Interesting to see if it will last 20 years with no maintenance (according to the article).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • TelcoTelco Solar Expert Posts: 201 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: $18k for your own windmill

    Wow... in need of cheap electricity. If it lasted 20 years with no maintenance at all, that 18Gs averages out to 75/mo for electricity. This is around my average monthly bill when you add them all up and divide by 12. If it does what most stuff does and pops its clogs at 5 years and one day (one day after the warranty runs out), it works out to 300/month, and according to the article that doesn't provide 100 percent of the power. Yipes.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,638 admin
    Re: $18k for your own windmill

    Well,

    To be fair, the turbine is $4,700 from NAWS--So, the balance of the cost is the tower and electrical/permit work (plus whatever the crane costs are)...

    So, the majority (2/3rds) of the installation capital costs will probably last 20 years.

    Assume 5 year life, $6,000 a pop to replace turbine (tax, shipping, crane rental, labor, etc.):

    18,000 + 3*$6,000 / (20yr*12mnth) = $150 per month

    Still not finding much in the way of posted wind power collection by month over a few years... However, I did run across this blog entry when trying to verify information in news paper article:
    Skystream 3.7 holds it's own in face of a wicked storm.
    What I saw last night was a first. The windmill had done exactly what it should have and shut itself down in the 65+ mph wind gusts, but even with it shut down the wind was still turning the blades fairly quickly. What was really crazy is that the wind gust were so harsh that it was actually rocking the tower back and forth like a screaming gorilla on a flag pole who just noticed a kid stole his banana. The Skystream handled it like a champ and when I woke this morning the winds had dropped back in the 30mph range and the Skystream was running at full power again. I'm not sure how long the Skystream had to shut itself down for, but I checked the meter this morning and it produced over 30 kWh last night.

    At this rate, we could produce as much electricity in one week as we did for the entire month of October. Awesome.
    So, from this post, it appears to generate 900 kWhrs a month from a 1.8 kW wind turbine, you have to live in an area were you can't have anything out side (picture posted of trashed trampoline in yard after the storm).

    Joshua Janes' blog has about 8 posts on installation and operation of his SkyStream. Lots of issues with local permits, firmware problems, and such... talking about ~180-235 kWhrs per month of power from the turbine (based on roughly two winter months of operation--was down for December because of the firmware problems)... JJ appears to be somewhat tied with SkyStream (does some web work for them?)--and removed some negative posts about cold weather shut down (apparently, frequency and temperature causes fail-safe to activate--have to open up the turbine to manual reset). New firmware (February?) is supposed to fix. Read the comments too--somewhat more information in them than the posts themselves.

    Take $150 per month costs / 235 kwhrs per month power = $0.64/kWhr

    Even if there is zero maintenance costs over 20 years, that is still $0.32 per kWhr...

    Comes back to--difficult to save money with Solar RE--spend it on conservation first.

    -Bill

    PS: Looking further, his www.keepturning.com SkyStream site appears to have more information...

    PPS: Some folks are reporting single months in the 300-560+ kWhr per March range...
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: $18k for your own windmill

    Well, everyone get out your pencils, paper, and calculators. We're going on a fact-finding mission about Skystream.

    Ok, I have some hard numbers about Skystream from Southwest's own website and a Skystream flier. On the Skystream website, it states the Skystream costs between $12,000 and $15,000 to install. On the flier, they claim the Skystream produces energy for less than the average cost of electricity in the United States, which this average price is .09 cents a kilowatt hour and in a 12 MPH average windspeed. In case anyone wants to know, this flier has fine print at the bottom that gives a date of 03/08.

    Ok, let's do the math. On the flier, it actually rates Skystream as below 400 kWh/month in a 12.3 Average Annual Wind Speed. But let's be generous and say 400 kWh/month in production. We'll also be generous and say you got that 12 MPH average for the year. So, that's 400 multiplied by .09 which gives us $36.00. Ok, now multiply that by 12 for 12 months. That gives us $432.00 in savings for the year. All right, now lets's go by Southwest's own installed price. We'll use $13,000 since it's kind of in the middle. So, divide 13,000 by 482 and you come up with 30.092592. That is how many years it will take for your Skystream to pay itself off: 30 years. I'm just doing the math here based off their own numbers, right off their own website and flier.

    Oddly enough, on the website, they say a .10 cents per kWh figure is best for a prospective Skystream owner. (So why they use .09 cents per kWh on the flier is kinda mysterious, but, oh well.) Ok, well, let's do them one better. Let's say .15 cents per kWh! Now let's do the math. That's 400 multiplied by .15 which gives us $60.00. 60 times 12 is $720.00. The install price we'll still say $13,000, so 13000 divided by 720 gives us 18.0555. That is how many years it will take for it to pay for itself: 18 years. Did I mention the warranty will long be over in both cases? This is far, far from the 5 year payback Southwest claims is possible. They say 5 year payback because the warranty is 5 years and people are, rightfully, afraid of something that does not pay itself off before the warranty is over. But, hey, in many cases it may not pay for itself before the 20 year lifespan is over, so what difference does the warranty make?

    Some other choice tidbits from the Skystream website is they say a 110 foot tower is available. Since when?! Call them up and ask for a price quote on the 110 foot tower. G'wan, I dare ya! But, no matter, the price of a 110 foot tower for this genny would probably give you a payback period measured in centuries, not decades. They don't have a 110 foot tower anyway. I guess it was the thought that counts.

    Some more math: Use a $15,000 install price and your 400 kWh monthly average shoots you into the 34 year payback period. Woo-hoo! The very best, most generous I can do is 500 kWh monthly average at a .15 cents per kWh and a $13,000 install price. That puts our payback at 14.444 years. Within lifepsan, but well out of warranty, but only 6 years left to spin your meter backwards. Draw your own conclusions on what's spinning backwards.

    Oh, on the Skystream website, they say it begins producing power in an 8 MPH breeze. It does: A whopping 75 kWh a month.

    All I'm saying is do the math. Beware of all these fluffy, feel-good "I wuvvvvv my Skystream!" stories out there. Many of these people are probably dealers. Skystream has simply not been out there in the REAL WORLD long enough for some of these people to be making the unrealistic claims they're making. Without a year or more of documented evidence, they're telling us this thing pays off their electric bill, cuts them a check for the excess so they can vacation in Ixtapa, tucks the kids in for bed (after gently reminding them to brush their teeth), makes a sandwich for them, and even looks so cool all the neighbors want one, too? Remember, the "cold weather problem" tells us they did not beta test these in cold weather, meaning a full year of testing was obviously not done. Just do the math. The facts are what they are.

    Kimberly
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,817 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: $18k for your own windmill
    Well, everyone get out your pencils, paper, and calculators. We're going on a fact-finding mission about Skystream.


    You are not holding anything back, are you ? ;)
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  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: $18k for your own windmill

    Kimberly I love your post. I wish our Provincial Newspaper would print that. But I know they never would.
    Way to go man, blow the stinkers out of the water!
    Wayne
  • backroadbackroad Solar Expert Posts: 185 ✭✭
    Re: $18k for your own windmill

    From what I understand and the added information fromNAWS, is that windmills should probably be saved for just pumping water into large storage tanks.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: $18k for your own windmill
    backroad wrote: »
    From what I understand and the added information fromNAWS, is that windmills should probably be saved for just pumping water into large storage tanks.

    Even for water pumping, you need most water in the summer, but that is usually the time of the least wind and most sun. The best use for wind so far that we have found is for providing additional power in winter for solar installations that have lots of clouds.

    At this point we are less than totally impressed by wind for producing any real power for small scale installations (small scale = less than megawatt size). :blush:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,638 admin
    Re: $18k for your own windmill

    Wind-Sun, on their Wind-Power page, has this linked

    Small and Household-size Wind Turbines (or Is Wind The Answer? Read This First)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: $18k for your own windmill

    You should factor out any incentives offered by the gov like tax credits. I also have seen the head unit on ebay for under 2k. Make your own tower and the cost could be as little as 5k. Just saying.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,638 admin
    Re: $18k for your own windmill

    Dugansz,

    Always interested in learning from other's experiences...

    Who is the mfg. and what is the model of turbine you have--is there a link to the specifications/manual online? Do you have a location and 12 month listing of kWhrs per month for your turbine? Is it on Grid or Off-Grid? How is the noise and how long has it been running. Are you happy with it? What did you do for lightening protection (if that is an issue where you live)? If you require permits for your area, was that a problem with the local building department?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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