Truth About Skystream & SWWP

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  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    Well, Conergy is not carrying SWWP products anymore. Hmmm...they were a huge SWWP account, too.

    In fact, they're not carrying small wind of any type anymore period. Well, you get burned on hot soup, you blow on cold yogurt...

    See here:
    http://www.conergy.us/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-289/
  • peterakopeterako Solar Expert Posts: 144 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    Oops that means that my local spare parts are away.:cry:

    I i just found out the the remote display from my 200 is constant resetting.:grr

    bearings and bolts i can find local easy but there electronic parts are a problem from now on i am afraid.

    greetings from Greece
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    SWWP has now gone through 4 human resources managers in five months. What does that tell ya?

    Conergy, though, that's very interesting. You know, if small wind really was as big and great and puppy-smoochingly wonderful as SWWP says, why did Conergy stop selling small wind? Obviously it doesn't sell that well. And, too many problems. No one wants to deal with that long-term. You don't want to have merchandise sitting on your shelf providing homes for spiders.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,176 admin
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    Cross link another Skystream User Experience to this thread:

    Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP
    I want to say a few things. This is still America and we still have a First Amendment. I'm not revealing any company secrets in what I'm going to say, so if SWWP is reading this, they need to chill out.

    The first rounds of layoffs was hard enough. You know, you spend ten years in a place, you get to know people well. They're your friends. I know, business doesn't run on friendship. But there's more to it.

    When I started at SWWP, we were at 2131 N. First Street, Flagstaff, Arizona. I can still remember Northern Arizona Wind and Sun backing a pick-up to the loading dock to pick up an Air unit or two. I can still remember walk-in repairs for the Air from people living in what are called "The Forties" here (you'd have to live here to know The Forties.) We had a small crew and we all cared about the product and each other. A lot of the improvements came out of production and warranty. We had ideas on making the product better; everyone looked for them. When we'd make a monthly goal, the ops manager or David himself would take us to La Fonda or Dara Thai for lunch.

    Now I see this second round of layoffs and wonder who else has lost their job. I would know each and every one of them. I know of two of them so far. One of whom I worked with from day one and one started a month after I did. These are friends of mine. I don't know how the people who are being laid off are going to make it. Some of them have mortgage payments to make. This was just as true of the people laid off in the first round. I think back to the "old days" when we were all there at 2131 working together and it makes me sad to see what SWWP has become. I wonder if the newer employees know that we "old employees" basically built SWWP.

    Companies change, it's true. But how much gets lost in that "change"? Isn't that the question? The local paper says the company is moving to Phoenix and people have remarked in the "Comments" section online they may move manufacturing to China. If that's true, what a genuine shame. I remember how happy SWWP was when we had "Made in USA" added to the die for Air body castings. Companies tend to think that employees are replaceable, like parts in a machine. In some cases, that may be true. But what of the belief that human beings are replaceable? Has anyone pondered that? Especially when they are being deprived of the ability to pay for food, rent/house payments, electricity, gas, etc.? Especially when they did a good job. How can you be claiming to be trying to "save the planet" if you treat human beings this way?

    I lost my job and my friends lost their jobs. Now more friends have lost their jobs. How many more will lose their jobs? The company we all built is done with us. We'll go on, having to start all over again since companies rarely start you at your last wage. This town is tough to find jobs in, especially good paying jobs. This county thinks a teacher's aide for at-risk youth is only worth $12.00 an hour. That's probably why youth remains at-risk. Some people will probably have to move out of Flagstaff to find work.

    I'm just putting a human face on the whole thing here. So far, 29 people have lost their jobs at Southwest Windpower. Many had put in the time with the intention of making this their career. Perhaps to retire from SWWP. And now, they can't. They'll have to start over at 40+ years old in a tight job market. And if we did lose our jobs because people in China work cheaper, all I can say is it is sickening. What the hell happened to this country?

    I am new and just read what you wrote. Here in Texas, Jeld Wen just shut it's doors in this town, I have their product in my house. When I had a problem with one of my Windows I called them. They ask who installed it, who sold it, what size, what is your name and where do you live, do you need to have it installed or can you do it. The window came within a couple of days. The other company gives me the run around.
    Maybe if you stayed online and helped us windpeople with what you know, you could get a business started as an consultant, charging a fee.
    Sure I hate to pay, but you know I blew all this money, and an educated guess would help a lot of us!
    Babysitter
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    Well, it appears SWWP has a new CEO:

    http://www.pr-inside.com/southwest-windpower-names-r-dixon-thayer-r1611541.htm

    See anything there that talks about this new CEO's wind energy experience? See anything there that talks about him having any renewable energy experience at all? It's par for the course; none of the top execs have any.

    They're still laying off long-time SWWP employees any chance they get. Let's see, there's only three employees left who were there from the beginning of Skystream. Soon, there won't be anyone there who was there from the beginning of Skystream. I also take notice that SWWP has an ad in the local newspaper for a Customer Service Rep about once each month. Gee, in this economy, they can't keep a customer service rep more than a month? Makes ya wonder what kind of customer calls are coming in, eh? I think we can all guess about that fairly easy. And, gee, there's plenty of laid-off SWWP employees who know all about Skystream but none ever get a callback for these job openings. I guess they'd rather have someone with zero experience to handle their customers than someone with several years of experience.

    I don't see anything in the article about the new CEO detailing how they're going to take care of problems everyone pretty much knows about. They want to "turn around" the company, but how? You can't boost sales unless you have a quality product that works. Where is the committment to improve quality? I suspect Frank sold the layoffs by claiming it was the long-term employees who were the "problem". Especially seeing WHO he laid off as opposed to WHO didn't get laid off. But, how every interesting, things actually got WORSE after they laid off everyone.

    Well, here's how you turn the company around:

    First, you admit your mistakes. Then you make a committment to correct them. This starts with everything being on hold until you get your product solid, quality, and outstanding. Hey, when SWWP bought World Power, it was realized then that a bunch of cash and time needed to be put into improving those turbines and many improvements were made. (Of course, there's almost no one left at SWWP now that remember that...) It also bears mentioning that several of the product improvements for the Air came off the production line and the warranty department. See, when you have loyal, long term employees, they care about the product. And that leads us to:

    Second, you bring back as many of the original employees that you laid off as you can find. These are people who put in the time there, who cared about the product, and cared about the customers. The knowledge and skills that went out the door with them can't be replaced by someone off-the-streets, no matter what your new managers tell you. If those employees didn't care about the company, products, or customers, they wouldn't have stayed working there all those years.

    Third, you take care of your customers. If they're on here posting, that means your customer service department or tech support failed and, hence, that means your management failed. Take responsibility for your own actions. Hiring new customer service people doesn't fix that problem.

    Fourth, you gotta crawl before you can walk. Too much emphasis was placed on getting to be a gigantic corporation overnight. That's not how small wind works. Sorry. That's one of the pitfalls of not having people experienced in small wind or at least renewable energy in your upper management. It helps to listen to the people who had "been there, done that"---of course, hardly any are left there now...
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    Perhaps not having wind energy experience is a plus - they don't come in with any preconceived rosy bias and might take a realistic look at the problems.
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    That's possible, but that's what we thought about the previous CEO. I suspect this guy was chosen with the thought of increasing international sales. Possibly a merger.

    To be honest, I hope he will do the right thing. I hope he keeps the company in the United States, and in Flagstaff. I hope the remaining employees are able to keep their jobs. It hasn't been easy for any of us since the layoffs. I don't wish that on the other employees there. I hope he pushes to make the product right and take care of the existing customers. We shall see.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    just a quick suggestion
    if you get on well with quite a few of your fellow workmates why not look into getting a bit of cash together and you guys have all the knowledge to put one together and into production, alot of companys over here in aust have pissed off employees so they have left and statred there own operation and quite often become more sucessfull than the company they left.
    just something to ponder
    Stu
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    Thank you to all the poster. I was going to sign a purchase agreement next week for a Skystream 3.7.

    I won't get personal but the two dealer I was using to bid against each get a zero for honesty.
  • Seeking restitutionSeeking restitution Registered Users Posts: 1
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    I've noticed there are a lot of cases reported on this and other threads and blogs, regarding dismal Skystream production performance, as well as notoriously poor technical support and service on the part of SWWP. My question is - do the buyers of this product not have any recourse to force SWWP to make good on their responsibility as manufacturer and supplier? Or do we just have to take it lying down?

    Is there not relevant and effective legislation in place regarding manufacturer's liability for design, materials and manufacturing defects? Is SWWP not obligated to honor their warranty, and if so do they have any limitations of liability?

    Is there a Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau with a mandate to hear and handle complaints from such victims? Is anyone aware of successful warranty claims, money back guarantees executed, product returns, reimbursements on the part of SWWP for bad products / false advertising? Any class action or other legal suits filed against SWWP in this context? Known results?

    Look forward to any feedback ...
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,029 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP
    Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau

    Those are basically, Clubs, like Elks, Consumer Reports or Rotary. They can influence their members, but have no "force of law".
    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
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  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    There have been some really great people that have helped me with the problems I have had with my Whisper 500 and more recently with my Skystream. It's sad to see that this is the best of the small wind companies.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    i'd hardly call swwp the best of the small wind companies, but it is probably the most widely known.
    bergey and awp just to name 2 off of the top of my head are better than swwp and in fact most other companies may be better than swwp. our host carries tlg of which i haven't heard much on either positively or negatively and with no negatives that may qualify them to be better than swwp.:roll:

    i'm feeling old when i come from an era that the terms rock n roll and dude didn't go hand in hand.:cry:
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP
    niel wrote: »

    i'm feeling old when i come from an era that the terms rock n roll and dude didn't go hand in hand.:cry:

    :confused: They don't? :confused:
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    There are any number of companies that put SWWP to shame. Their products do cost more though - you pays for what you gets!
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    What can I say? In Tejas, I am trapped between to worlds! When it comes to replacing my wind turbine I think I will go with Solar PV. I'm just fed up with being lied to and then ignored by SWWP. Frankly, there does not seem to be much difference between the wind turbine companies that I have experienced. The one person at SWWP that always took care of my issues in an honest and professional manner, took a job with another company this past January. The represenitive at SWWP that gave me the bad news would not say where this gentleman is working now, but if I knew I might consider another wind turbine. :cool:
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    that does not mean he took another wind generation job as swwp let go of many of their employees and now have ties with china. truth squad used to work for them and he was the one who informed us as to confirming what many of us suspected of swwp. look further into this section to find threads about it.

    i agree go with pvs.
  • scottjscottj Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP
    There have been some really great people that have helped me with the problems I have had with my Whisper 500 and more recently with my Skystream. It's sad to see that this is the best of the small wind companies.
    I have dealt w/ most of the "small" wind companies, Bergey far surpasses swwp
  • 65DegN65DegN Solar Expert Posts: 106 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    Lots of these Sky Streams being put up around here, Proven machines too and most of them are being put up on short towers, some BELOW THE TREES!
    I kid you not. A $41,000 6KW installation on a 49' tower in 70 foot trees producing about the same power as my 1.5 KW solar array that cost me ~$6K.
    Another $60K Proven turbine installation well below the trees, looks like a 40' tower, payback is probably 100 years.
    The sales people are telling the public that the payback time is 7 years.
    Seems the other installers around here have no shame or knowlege but are great snake-oil salesmen.
    They are sucking up all the money in this area that is destined for renewable energy with bogus claims and hype that will eventually leave a real bad taste in peoples mouths when they realize that payback is nothing resembling 7 years.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,176 admin
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    My suggestion is to ask anyone with a wind turbine, or selling a wind turbine, to show you the monthly power generation from a kWH meter mounted on the turbine feed...

    From what I can tell, hardly anyone has real honest to god data from over a 1 year period (let alone a two - five year period) that shows economically viable power output.

    It would be interesting to see if any of the turbines you type about actually have utility grade power meters (or DC equivalent) on their output (and not just the vendor supplied numbers like the Skystream radio links).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    The laws of physics been repealed, have they?

    There's a word that comes to mind, but I'm too polite to use it. It's akin to "spam".
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    Well, SWWP just laid off another 11 workers. See here:

    http://azdailysun.com/news/local/article_d616be75-70bf-5050-95e9-e8411a7d0cc9.html

    On NPR, they were claiming "knockoffs" from China were responsible for them losing business. Uh-huh...sure. Well, why then was SWWP sourcing so many parts from China? Why were they opening up assembly lines in China? Why was there a Chinese factory website showing Skystreams? You know the old adage: "Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas." I doubt that's true about competition from China, but if it were, sounds like they made the bed they now must lie in. Er, sleep in. :blush:

    I'm sorry to hear about people losing their jobs so close to the holidays. It appears to SWWP management, the only rule is "To thine own butt be true." In addition, SWWP got around a half mil of federal stimulus money to create jobs. I'd say they need to give it back. Because that money is for CREATING jobs, not laying people off.
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    Well, well, it also appears SWWP's old CEO Frank Greco has a new gig in wind energy here:

    http://www.xzeres.com/news/frank-greco-announced-as-chief-executive-officer/

    Notice where they talk about the "China Joint Venture" for SWWP. Hmmmm....and SWWP was just whining that "competition from Asian (aka Chinese) knockoffs" was why they had to lay off 11 employees. Something is very fishy.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    Great:blush:, i'm an installer for xzeres wind systems. I'd hate to see production move to China. Xzeres' sales person that i've dealt with seems to be a good guy. I wish more wind companies were like Bergey. BTW don't even get me started on Redriven wind turbines.:grr
  • dolcesailsdolcesails Registered Users Posts: 11
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    Re SWWP
    I'm sorry to read all this about SWWP mostly for the employees, that have lost their jobs, I've seen alot of those AIR-X around wondering how many of them have had problems, I bought a marine air-x used it didn't have any output 200.00 later it worked fine I also have a brand new never used 403 still in the box make me wonder should I get rid of them now before I'll never find parts for them, very little is out there for the 403 hardly no electronics, are the Sun Force generators in the same boat as the air-x
  • bmetbmet Solar Expert Posts: 630 ✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    I appreciate Truth Squad coming forward. My brother had looked into SkyStream, but decided he wasn't able to afford it. Now I can at least point him to these discussions.
  • MisterBMisterB Solar Expert Posts: 156 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    I'm another one that appreciates what Truth Squad has had to say about Southwest Windpower. I've always been dubious of their Air 403/X turbines and now I know why. This is a company that is more into marketing than product. And their market dominance is impressive. I have one of 4 wind turbines in my area and the only one that is not an Air X is mine.

    And the corollary to this is that small wind technology is still back where it was in the 1980s. Having one company dominate the market by hyping an inferior product and stiffling competition has not helped the technology develop. I was just about to buy a 500 watt "Marine Grade Turbine" from World Power Technology when they were bought out by Southwest Windpower and the 500 watt World Power turbines were discontinued, more than likely because they directly competed with and were better than the Air 403s.

    I live in a totally off grid situation on relatively low power but if I was looking into putting in a grid tied system with the goal of the meter flowing backwards, I would be very cautious about wind power. Solar is much more predictable and cost effective and doing it right doesn't involve putting a turbine so high in the air that you might have to get a variance from your local building regulations.
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    There was an article in the Flagstaff newspaper a few weeks back that was talking about whether or not SWWP would be moving. It came out that SWWP had purchased another company called Deerpath Energy. Hmmm....plenty of money to buy companies, but none to keep loyal employees? Kinda makes ya wonder where the customers fit in to the picture if that's how much they value their employees, huh? Anyway, the article said that the CEO of SWWP was not going to move the company, that he was committed to staying in Flagstaff, yada yada. Uh-huh. I also heard back in the day that "...no one has to worry about being laid off..." SWWPs promises are worth their weight in gold. Worth their weight in gold? Well, yes---what do words weigh? Nothing. Actions are what matters.

    And, yes, small wind technology is taking bold leaps backwards thanks to the thinking that you can engineer a product through glamorous marketing. And, yes, to answer a poster's question, Sunforce turbines were made by SWWP. I've said it before, I'll say it again. Based on what I've seen, reliable small wind is a good 50 to 75 years into the future. I mean, people were doodling around with small wind for electricity back in the 1930s-1940s with little gennies made to power home radios in the days before the Rural Electrification Administration brought power to rural areas. I think Sears and RCA were selling "kits" with the gennie, tower, and radio back then. Then in the 1970s, people started getting into this on a bigger scale. Well, we're now decades later and where are we at? Unreliable small wind. It's not that the technology isn't yet there or there's no minds capable of doing it. It's that companies want to "get rich quick" and don't want to be in it for the long haul. These companies bring in guys that are not alternative energy people and put them in executive positions. And those guys want the quick buck so they can deploy golden parachutes. They don't have the actual interest in wind energy beyond "How can I exploit the public interest in that to make me rich?" This is why the products don't work. The next company to start building small wind turbines needs to keep focused with their eye on the ball at all times. And who gives a darn if some guy was a successful CEO over at some defense contractor---what is his REASON for wanting to come do wind? You need to keep your decision-makers clean and to a core of people dedicated to wind energy.
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    Bravo!
    What seems to be needed is a Billionaire type to decide to run with the ball...deeeep pockets,with a social conscience and integrity.

    Ralph

    PS Still happy with my H80 circa 2003/2004. This spring I replaced the bearings and repaired the pivot bushing (steel vs aluminum). Fingers crossed about longevity.
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