opinions about wind generators

Hello,i'm new to this idea about making electricity from wind turbines.i live in Pa with rolling hills on open farmland with 10.5 mph annual wind speed measured at 50 feet.is that enough wind speed to justify building a turbine ?any comments would be appreciated

Comments

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    there are a few areas that are rated well for wind power in pa and i believe it's primarily along the western edge of the mountains and like the county of somerset where larger turbines are being employed by utilities. i'm sure there are other more isolated areas too that have good ratings and the problem isn't so much the winds, but rather that there aren't any small wind generators that seem to measure up and the costs seem to exceed that of pv
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,482 admin
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    Fury,

    In the interest of full disclosure--I am not a fan of wind power.

    So, first some links to various threads and sources for wind power:
    BB. wrote: »
    Add links about wind power:

    Wind Power Links
    www.otherpower.com (good forum for DYI Wind Power)
    Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    And a general DYI Solar Builder site:

    www.builditsolar.com

    -Bill

    Can you let us know what your power needs are? Off-Grid or do you have utility power (Grid Tied an option). Are you looking to get "fill-in power" for stormy weather when solar panels are not useful? Are you on a coastal bluff with lots of marine layer (little sun) and lots of wind?

    Are you looking to save money on your electric bill or are you looking to power a remote operation (such as water pumping)?

    Wind can work in limited situations... But be aware wind turbines needs lots of maintenance and repairs. Turbines need to be mounted high (60'+ is a good start) and away from trees/homes/buildings (300-500' radius, 30'+ higher than obstruction) and away from homes/people (blades and entire turbines/towers are known to fail--plus the can be noise and even the flashes from morning/evening sun going through the blades can be highly disturbing).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • gtxkidgtxkid Solar Expert Posts: 34 ✭✭
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    I would start with something small.
    See if you like it.
    Will give you an idea about what commes next.

    I put up a pole myself and built a car alt. type wind generator.
    For me i learned i want a larger one.
    PV And wind go together good.

    Greg
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    Wise choice in wind turbines. 99% of the wind products out there are junk. The other 1% was PMAs like you've built and I've got. Try not to let anyone discourage your choices. You've certainly made the right one. I just got done writing an Ezine about this subject. It might just change your outlook on things. It's called "Wind Turbines Overrated ?".
    Nature's Design & Green Energy on FaceBook : Stop by and "Like" us anytime.. Many up-to-date articles about Renewables every day.
    WWW.GreenAnything.Net    Ad free website.
    Lots of DIY Renewable Energy Projects on ETSY : Solar Panel builds, Wind Turbine builds, Rain Barrel build,etc.  
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,369 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about wind generators
    I just got done writing an Ezine about this subject. It might just change your outlook on things. It's called "Wind Turbines Overrated ?".

    Link to article please ?
    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: 29,482 admin
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    Does not appear to be published yet... I have done a couple searches looking for it.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,369 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    I found a review about the "honeywell" rooftop DuctedWT

    http://www.wind-works.org/SmallTurbines/Windtronics760EstimatedGeneration.html

    Earthtronic's Honeywell Windtronics WT 6500--A Review
    October 16, 2009 By Paul Gipe

    Which lead me to a comparison test site:
    http://www.wind-works.org/wulf/index.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 ,

  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    Bill,

    It's on my website if you remember what that was. I could publish it on "YouPublish" also. I think I'll go do that.
    Nature's Design & Green Energy on FaceBook : Stop by and "Like" us anytime.. Many up-to-date articles about Renewables every day.
    WWW.GreenAnything.Net    Ad free website.
    Lots of DIY Renewable Energy Projects on ETSY : Solar Panel builds, Wind Turbine builds, Rain Barrel build,etc.  
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,482 admin
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    Here is GPM's webpage with the article in PDF Download form.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    Thanks BB.

    Didn't know how or if the Ezine would be approved so I didn't post a link to the page. I'll keep the ads away from my Ezine Page for future use.
    Nature's Design & Green Energy on FaceBook : Stop by and "Like" us anytime.. Many up-to-date articles about Renewables every day.
    WWW.GreenAnything.Net    Ad free website.
    Lots of DIY Renewable Energy Projects on ETSY : Solar Panel builds, Wind Turbine builds, Rain Barrel build,etc.  
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    Buy yourself a weather station with an anemometer and verify the wind readings at the elevation you propose to place the turbine. After a year you will probably have an idea of the power in the wind.

    Then, to find a turbine to capture that! At least you would have that year to do the homework.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,223 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    10 mph on average over the course of a year is not much wind. If you look at the curve, you will see that the number nears zero. Couple that with high wind issues, maintenance issues, costs etc, I would consider Pv first.
  • EhutchEhutch Registered Users Posts: 9
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    On the subject of "light wind" sites and the Whisper 200 in particular....

    I have a 1.3kW solar array for a battery backup system with 22kWh of batteries and OutBack inverters. The system works great (except for the FLEXnetDC monitoring tool which I don't care for at all). I put up a Whisper 200 on a 30' pole. The 30' is a zoning issue and avoided hassles. It is 30' too short!. The Whisper 200 went up before the solar array and for a month or two generated approximately 2kWh per day. That was very close to the desired rate. 2kWh/day, would return the 30 cents, or so, per day that the money used to build it used to earn at the credit union. 2kWh per day added to the output of the solar array would also power the "protected" circuits of the backup system indefinitely. These are: deep well pump, refrigerator, freezer, boiler some lights and computers.

    As soon as the solar system began to generate, the Whisper 200 produced nothing (only about ten kWh all summer). Unfortunately summer nights in Vermont are mostly whisper calm. The voltage rarely gets high enough to exceed the FMX-80's PV charging voltage. One milivolt less is enough to keep the turbine from being productive. It sat out there spinning every day like a beautiful lawn ornament but produced nothing. Measuring the voltage on one phase of the three phase wild ac coming in shows that it generally runs about 30V in light wind. If the batteries are charging at about 55 V the simple three phase bridge rectifier in the Whisper's controller needs to see at least 38V to produce any output. Our site is a low wind velocity site averaging ten mph or less (but we see storms of 80mph or more). The good news is that so far the turbine and tower have suffered no damage.

    I have been told that the folks at Midnight Solar have the "Classic" controller almost ready and that it will solve the "low voltage" problem, but I got tired of waiting for commercial release.

    I was ready to call the Whisper 200 a useless toy, but found that by bootstrapping around the controller with a polyphase voltage doubling bridge rectifier circuit, the turbine can start harvesting useful energy with as little as about 19V of input. The circuit is fairly complex 18 capacitors and 27 diodes (and some fuses for safety and to protect the turbine in case the circuit melts down,) but the parts are all cheap and the unit can be assembled from new parts for about $20. Unfortunately the current goes around the Whisper controller and the FLEXnetDC seems to discard the data, so I can't actually measure the increased output except with an ammeter (and I can see the battery voltage so I know the power level). But it isn't accumulated in kWh per day.

    The bootstrap circuit starts to generate a few watts in very light wind and passes up to 75 Watts in wind that produced no output at all before. It also controls the wild spinning under no load (when the input is less than 40Vac). The 75W maximum levels off when the Whisper controller kicks in clamping the input voltage (at about .707 x the battery charging voltage). The bootstrapped current increases slightly with frequency as the total power output (through the Whisper controller) increases in strong winds. The functions of the Whisper controller seem to be perfectly normal up to full power. When the shunt load is engaged the input voltage drops below 20Vac so the bootstrap current is also terminated. Therefore the entire output of the turbine remains under the control of the Whisper controller so it can't overcharge the batteries.

    With this circuit in place my satisfaction with the Whisper 200 on a short tower on a "light wind" site is much improved. The output is far from the total possible output at a better site. It will never "pay for itself" unless the utility rates triple (which could happen) but I am satisfied.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,482 admin
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    Do you have the '200 connected to the PV input of the FM-80? Or is the '200 connected directly the the +/- of the battery bank (behind an appropriate fuse/breaker)?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • EhutchEhutch Registered Users Posts: 9
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    I have the W-200 connected directly to the battery ((through a breaker). The negative goes through a shunt to the common neg connection. The FLEXnetDC should record the kWh, but if it does I don't know how to read it.

    The FM-80 input is for the PV array (also through GFI and appropriate breakers). Its neg goes through a different shunt to the common neg.
  • peterakopeterako Solar Expert Posts: 144 ✭✭
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    I have two SWWP wind generators a 100 defect and local there are no spare parts.:grr
    A 200 Still flying but after several repairs and updating the tail size.
    It is on a 15 M ( 50 feet ) pipe, and this on the hill top, the olive trees are shaped by the wind on the hill top. i seldom see the 200 running above 850W. I am looking around for a new setup but until this moment i am not happy whit the designs on sell.

    Greetings from Greece.8)
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    Why couldn't a turbine be run by a ceiling fan motor? WE POWER has a 5.5 kwh wind magnet turbine that supposedly has very little drag?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,482 admin
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    We Power is another vertical axis wind turbine... Pictures tend to show them mounted too close to the ground and/or around signs and buildings. In general, not a good place for any wind turbine.

    www.wepower.us

    Regarding low drag and vs power.

    A the propeller on a turboprop aircraft is easy to turn by hand... However, it requires a multi hundred to thousands of horse power turbine behind it to turn it at speed and move the aircraft.

    Say you have a 10kWatt VAWT that turns at 300 RPM guess. (10,000 watts / 746 Watts = 13.4 HP)... The formula between Torque, RPM, and HP is:

    (Torque X RPM) / 5252 = Horsepower

    Torque = HP * 5252 / RPM = 13.4 HP * 5252 / 300 RPM = 235 Ft Lbs.

    ~20' dia. for 12 kW model, or 10' radius.

    235 ft.lbs / 10' = 23.5 lbs of force (at 300 RPM).

    So, it does not take much force to generate 10kW... But you have to do it at 300 RPM.

    So, even if you have zero drag... The driving force still need to supply 13.4 HP of energy... A 1/4 HP ceiling fan motor would not have the ability to generate the torque and RPM to generate the kWatts you are asking for...

    Nothing is free.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    WePower seems to be just another of the shysters looking to get into Unc Sam's pocket for incentive/subsidy money.

    The thing (12 kW) is rated at storm conditions - 29 mph winds. In reality it may put out 3000 kWh per year (not 42,000) in 11 mph winds - at 10 cents that would be 300$

    No NREL testing or anything like that. No mention of third party tests. Just take their word that the thing even works!

    No prices on their site - only information on how to get rebates! But you can fill out a sheet to reserve one of the turkeys!
  • SheldonSheldon Solar Expert Posts: 51 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: opinions about wind generators
    Ehutch wrote: »
    On the subject of "light wind" sites and the Whisper 200 in particular....

    I was ready to call the Whisper 200 a useless toy, but found that by bootstrapping around the controller with a polyphase voltage doubling bridge rectifier circuit, the turbine can start harvesting useful energy with as little as about 19V of input. The circuit is fairly complex 18 capacitors and 27 diodes (and some fuses for safety and to protect the turbine in case the circuit melts down,) but the parts are all cheap and the unit can be assembled from new parts for about $20. Unfortunately the current goes around the Whisper controller and the FLEXnetDC seems to discard the data, so I can't actually measure the increased output except with an ammeter (and I can see the battery voltage so I know the power level). But it isn't accumulated in kWh per day.

    The bootstrap circuit starts to generate a few watts in very light wind and passes up to 75 Watts in wind that produced no output at all before. It also controls the wild spinning under no load (when the input is less than 40Vac). The 75W maximum levels off when the Whisper controller kicks in clamping the input voltage (at about .707 x the battery charging voltage). The bootstrapped current increases slightly with frequency as the total power output (through the Whisper controller) increases in strong winds. The functions of the Whisper controller seem to be perfectly normal up to full power. When the shunt load is engaged the input voltage drops below 20Vac so the bootstrap current is also terminated. Therefore the entire output of the turbine remains under the control of the Whisper controller so it can't overcharge the batteries.

    With this circuit in place my satisfaction with the Whisper 200 on a short tower on a "light wind" site is much improved. The output is far from the total possible output at a better site. It will never "pay for itself" unless the utility rates triple (which could happen) but I am satisfied.

    Would you be willing to share your schematic?
  • EhutchEhutch Registered Users Posts: 9
    Re: opinions about wind generators
    Sheldon wrote: »
    Would you be willing to share your schematic?

    Yes.
    It is a fairly simple circuit. I seem to be having trouble attaching the image. to include it here. I would be happy to email a copy. The circuit was drawn with a program called DIA (Ubuntu Linux), and I have it exported as jpeg which can be opened with gimp. I am not very skilled with DIA so it is ugly. I also added 20k 1/4W resistors to shunt the "charged" capacitors, and a 4A series diode to prevent a phantom load when it is not generating. Those parts are not in the image.

    Contact me at [email protected].

    So the image was attached. The image seems to be clipped. The curved jumpers on the right side should attach to a vertical + buss which is passed to the + termiinal through the series diode. The three phase ac connects to the right side The little connector circles seem to have been clipped. All capacitors are 180Mfd 100V, and the diodes are 1N4004. I put 2.5A circuit breakers on the AC side and a 5A DC breaker on the DC+. In 60mph+ 2 of the 2.5A breakers pop and disconnect the circuit (but there is no damage). I suppose higher current breakers could be used. (I don't mind resetting them and they very conservatively protect the circuit).

    Ed
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: opinions about wind generators

    İ managed to get an article about the Jellyfish wind turbine from Clarian pulled from Ecobot today. The people had posted the article in good faith that the previous party understood what they wrote.

    Clarian suggests it is possible to take an electric cord from their turbine or special PV arrangement and plug it into a wall socket - back feeding your household electrical system with no apparent protection!

    No power curves, technical data or anything - just talk.

    There were a lot of articles on this system a year back then it has died down it looks like. Maybe they got more pocket money from some fool investor.
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