Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

nurmomnurmom Registered Users Posts: 9
After 1 year of zoning, planning and paperwork, our Skystream went up in Feb 2009.
We saw a reduction in our electric bill of 10-12% in the first 3 months. Not the "40-70%" quoted by the company. We saw maybe a 3- 5% reduction over the summer. Upon multiple phone calls to the installer, we were told " this has been an off year for wind-- give it time". I have tried to call Skystream. I actually was in contact with an employee one day. I was able to download and send a days woth of wind audits from my Skystream for analysis, as told by the employee-- to have no further response, despite repeated attempts to contact him again.

We have had the electrician check the wiring and the electric company switch out the net meter-- thinking it was faulty.

Has anyone had any recourse or results with this turbine company?

I live in coastal Connecticut on farm land. We had been told it was an ideal spot for a wind turbine. My husband has given up on trying to get the installer to return phone calls or give us any answers. I am fed up with monthly home equity bill I am paying for this lawn ornament that will not" pay for itself in 7-10 years".

I have talked to 2 local solar companies in the area, both stating they have gotten out of or stayed away from wind-- because it does not produce or is not reliable.

I am looking for any help or direction.

Michele
«13

Comments

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    there are many threads concerning swwp, but this one is the largest going,
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=4981
    aside from the turbine's shortcomings, is the wind high and consistent? also, is it mounted high enough and clear of trees, buildings, etc.?
    those installers are fairly much correct in their analysis of the small wind turbine market today. you probably would've done so much better putting $20,000 into solar.
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    Michele,

    Visit this site for info on State & Fed rebates/tax credits. http://www.dsireusa.org/
    Choose your state and see what's available for rebate. The Fed is an automatic tax credit of 30%. $6000 in tax credits. These are 1 to 1 credits meaning for every dollar you pay into Federal tax, a dollar you get back making one hefty tax return. Any credit you don't use is rolled over to the following year. Not to worry about the Equity loan. I myself have spent a good chunk of change to install my system. The State of Illinois has reinstated its rebate program last Friday and offers another 30% for a limited time. $12,000 worth of credits should help pay this off in much less than 4-7 years. I've even wrote some articles about this on my Ezine page.

    Sounds like someone installed the system, therefore, they should put your name into the states rebate program if any. I'd call them for this rather than the output of the system. There has been a lack of wind in my neck of the prairie, so don't frown too much. I'm hoping for a milder winter. Hope this helps....

    Also, here are the US wind maps. Click on your state to see average wind speeds and data: http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_maps.asp
    Nature's Design & Green Energy on FaceBook : Stop by and "Like" us anytime.. Many up-to-date articles about Renewables every day.
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  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    The point isn't rebates. The point is that the product doesn't do what it's advertised to do. Windmapping won't help her now; she's already got the thing. The dealer should have done that.
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    The point is to take some burden off ones shoulders.

    Let's get something straight. My case was this: I invested in a nearly 26k solar water/radiant floor heating system. It took them 3-1/2 weeks to finish. Fact: They did NOT post any paperwork for the next two months and the state official proved that. I had to complain to the BBB to get them to post anything much less fix some electrical & water issues myself. Finally after 3 months, the application data and signatures where sent to me to file in my state for a rebate.

    These days you have to do everybody else's homework and hand it in yourself.
    What's the harm in investigating your own cause ?

    I was told that 60-70% of my heating bill would be eliminated. Turns out that it's nothing but a 20-30% reduction in my electric and a 20% increase in LP Gas use for winter. I'm only saving $$ in the summer because the Sun is out 90% of the days. 26 grand. My wife is upset because of the same reasons stated here.
    What do I tell her ? I tell her the truth.

    Sometimes you have to try things in order to learn the hard way.
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  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    People need to hold the manufacturers' feet to the fire on these things. That's the only way things like this will stop happening. Companies bank on people just giving up or being able to stall them with BS.

    Ok, so maybe she gets a federal rebate. Now how about the fact that the turbine isn't doing what it's claimed to do. Sounds like the taxpayers take in the shorts to me, funding something that doesn't do what it's supposed to. And she's still out several thousands of dollars. Is this right?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,212 admin
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    GPM was, I think, trying to help and reduce the out of pocket costs as much as possible (reduce the financial damage using rebates/credits).

    Next question is what can be done to "fix" the installation... At this point, it is questionable whether or not to dump any more time and/or money down the Skystream installation.

    My two cents are that it is not worth out of pocket time or money into the Skystream itself. Even if you got it running 100% (and there are apparently those out there who have)--I am not sure that it would run this way for more than a year or so before something else fails and you are right back to where you are now.

    So, the next question would be can you salvage the rest of the installation. You have a tower and 240 VAC power to the base. And, you probably have the majority of your cash expenses into the tower and power--the turbine itself is less than 50% of the install costs.

    Is the tower at least 60' tall, at least 30' above any obstructions within 300-500+ feet? Are the trees in your area "flagging" (shaped by prevailing winds)? If the answer is no to either question, then is is not worth dumping anymore money into the installation. To short of tower/obstructions would require a 100% new tower install (not worth the money to "save utility costs"). If the trees are not "flagging" -- you do not have enough wind--again not worth trying to capture wind with any turbine (even if it worked).

    If the tower is 60' or higher and in good airflow, is the tower mechanically sound and capable of installing another brand of turbine? There are a few vendors with better history--but you will have to install other hardware--such as a GT Inverter at the base of the tower... If you are really committed to wind you might wish to follow this path.... But I, personally, do not believe that small wind is a cost effective system for most people at this time (especially if they have grid power).

    If you decide to abandon small wind on your site for the time being--you may want to (pay) take down the turbine and the pole at this time. It appears that Connecticut is not a very active lightning region. But, removing a lightning magnet from your area may be a good idea (at least pull/disconnect the AC wiring from the tower to prevent some of the strike energy from being directed to your home).

    I would suggest that a solar based system, either thermal for domestic hot water or Photo Voltaic for Grid Tied power would be a better investment vs the wind turbine--but check the numbers very closely. Generally solar thermal has a better rate of return vs solar GT... But solar thermal usually requires more maintenance (pumps, water tanks, piping) than solar GT (just clean the panels once in a while for optimum power production).

    However, Connecticut is probably not a good place for solar power either (perhaps a lot of "marine layer" for much of the area). Solar needs sun to produce power. Clouds/haze/etc. cut production dramatically. We can help you with calculating the power and return on investment for a Solar PV system (there are tools out there that do a pretty good job of forecasting output from PV arrays--unlike wind which is a highly local phenomenon).

    And, lastly, back to the turbine installation... Is a small claims court action for non-performance / failure to service warranty / false advertising possible for your area? In California, we have a $10,000 limit for small claims (damages may exceed that amount?) and/or you could file two suits (one against the installer, the other against SWWP).

    -Bill

    PS: Given that there may be state rebates involved--you might try the sate Attorney General's office and see if they have an interest in pursuing legal action as the fraud is not only against you, it is against the state and federal governments (in response to Truth Squad's comment).
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    BB, what you say makes sense. GPM, sorry for the abruptness. One thing I would caution on, though, is mounting another brand of turbine on that tower. If the tower is a standard monopole purchased from SWWP, that tower is designed specifically for the Skystream. Putting a different turbine on it may change the load-bearing characteristics; i.e. it may not be safe or the tower may sway or oscillate. This would be especially so if the different turbine was heavier or had a larger swept area.
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    "Sounds like the taxpayers take it in the shorts to me, funding something that doesn't do what it's supposed to. And she's still out several thousands of dollars. Is this right? "

    I'm afraid that's what Businesses call "The Sales Pitch". We all trust them until the point something is not up to spec. Then it's too late.

    I'd feel bad selling something that is known to "Not live up to things".


    There is another lifetime credit that can be redeemed. Check with your local towns Assessment Officer. My county has paperwork stating that I get a Renewable Energy exemption when I file for it. It's easy to do, just fill it out and declare the value of the system, send it in. Assessment, by (Illinois) law cannot raise your property taxes by adding any Renewable Energy System Cost for the life of your home. Check your states rules for county exemptions. And it will increase the value of your home by double the system when you go to sell the house. Example: $250,000 home plus $50,000 x 2 = $350,000 value. This turns your home into an "Energy Efficient" home. Whatever savings I get from this through my property taxes, I'll let you know the difference when the taxes show up next year.
    Nature's Design & Green Energy on FaceBook : Stop by and "Like" us anytime.. Many up-to-date articles about Renewables every day.
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  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,212 admin
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    Could possibly file for a total loss on the investment due to failure or "theft" from your state/fed income taxes (be careful to follow the rules--the IRS is much less fun to deal with if they get mad/even).

    Depending on where you live (as GPM said, some states exempt green energy installations from property taxes)--you may have increased the value of your home (and property tax) by the value of your "home improvement". Taking a "loss" on the device and pulling it down may allow you to reduce the improvements and taxes for your property.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    There we go...


    Post a sales flier to the public for a guided tour of Skystream 2009. $10.00 per head per visit. Show lasts 10 minutes, lemonade & hotdogs provided. One per customer per day.
    Nature's Design & Green Energy on FaceBook : Stop by and "Like" us anytime.. Many up-to-date articles about Renewables every day.
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  • blackswan555blackswan555 Solar Expert Posts: 246 ✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    Cut it into un-usable sized pieces and deliver it to the company that sold it to you, Tipped out of a truck in their main entrance, Inform TV / Radio/ Press / Trading standards and anyone else that will turn up, If nothing else it would be worth it for the grin :D and may stop them doing it again, (or at least lose them a fair few customers)

    Have a good one
    Tim

    PS, I am genuinely sorry to hear about you problem,
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament
    The point is to take some burden off ones shoulders.

    I was told that 60-70% of my heating bill would be eliminated. Turns out that it's nothing but a 20-30% reduction in my electric and a 20% increase in LP Gas use for winter. I'm only saving $$ in the summer because the Sun is out 90% of the days. 26 grand. My wife is upset because of the same reasons stated here.
    What do I tell her ? I tell her the truth.

    Sometimes you have to try things in order to learn the hard way.

    It is unfortunate that we see a bunch more "after the fact" postings here about things that have not lived up to their claims than "before purchase". With all the (so-called) green hype out there now, we are seeing more and more inflated claims - wind and solar hot water, such as your case, are only part of it.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    With no offense to anyone,

    But couple crappy sales people (at what ever level you wish to describe them) with folks that are genuinely interested in doing the right thing, add in a level of "Ready, fire, Aim! and you have a recipe for situations such as this.

    My personal bottom line is, I know of no "successful" small scale wind, with the exception of those that are installed/maintained by "tinkerers". Any non-technical homeowner who thinks that they are going to get anywhere near the performance "advertised" is way more than likely to be very sorry.

    I think it takes much due diligence, and much hard thinking to avoid the dangers.

    Tony

    PS Sorry for the OP's experience. I would hope that someone in here supply chain would belly up to the bar on this,, but I bet they won't. I also wouldn't put another nickel in to "try to make it better" My guess it will only make it more expensive net/net.

    T
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    People need to realize something. "Green" is a huge marketing gimmick. In fact, there's a big advertising agency that specializes in aiding corporations sell "green" products and that's how the, in turn, sell their advertising agency.

    That a company touts itself as "green" doesn't mean it is. Trust me on that one. Companies want to sell merchandise, so they'll glom on to the "green" fad to do that. See, what we've forgotten is the word "conservation" here. "Green" doesn't mean doodly-squat. A country could build a "green nuclear weapon" out of recycled materials. See what I mean? Green is hype. There aren't any standards out there that demand proof of the manufacturers.

    Here's a few tips:

    1.) A reputable manufacturer should be able to supply you with at least 10 people across the country that have had their product for a year. Granted, these could be shills, but asking for real-world people to talk to can help. You hear all about the "We've sold THOUSANDS!!!" Ok, well, let me talk to a few of them then.

    2.) The manufacturer should be forthcoming with proof of at least year of testing of several of the product in varied environments. What's happening all to often is they test one (and a cherry-picked one at that) at one site and extrapolate their power curves off that. If they say things like "Over 5 years in development", that's hogwash. Of course it took time to develop! What you want to know is how long they tested it, how many, and where. If the people at the manufacturer you talk to don't know or can't prove it, they're BSing you.

    3.) Find out how long they've had the majority of their dealers. Call them and ask them how long they've been selling the product. Manufacturers with bad product don't tend to keep dealers too long, because the dealers get tired of the headaches. A solid product will have dealers that have been selling it for years and will be up-front about what the product can and can't do. I'd also be a little leery of "jack-of-all-trades" types that are selling renewable energy as a sideline of their air conditioner storefront or some other non-linked type of business. I'm not saying don't buy from them, but do ask how long they've been selling and installing the product. Too many people jump into the business knowing nothing except "I'm gonna get rich on green energy! The manufacturer sez so!" And I wouldn't buy ANYTHING off of eBay. How's the guy on eBay going to service the product? Buy from a good dealer and, really, pay him the extra dollar he asks if he's reputable.

    4.) Don't fall for the "Free Lunch". In other words, don't fall for hyped up sales slogans like "spin your meter backwards". Nothing is going to spin your meter backwards at a minimal expense to you out-of-pocket. People get it into their heads that they're going to install this product and get checks from the power company. That's not how that works. If you're getting into this to "make money", guess what? You're not going to. You can't plop a windmill in your yard and expect to have TVs in every room on 24/7, electric hairbrushes and every other appliance known to man and think you're going to save big on your electric bill or even "sock it to" the electric company. You have to practice conservation. Anyone that tells you otherwise and promises pie-in-the-sky is BSing you.

    5.) You might also ask how many employees out of all employees of that manufacturer own the product. That's not a hard and fast rule, but it will give you some insight into it.

    6.) Ask about what recourse (refunds, replacement product) you have if the product doesn't perform as advertised and GET THAT IN WRITING. A manufacturer should be willing to stand behind its products and customers.

    7.) Ask about who pays the service costs if a service call under warranty has to be done. Get that in writing.


    It's unfortunate, but as we've all seen from the Wall Street debacle, there's a lot of unethical companies out there. So, protect yourself.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,212 admin
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    Everyone, "nurmom" has not been back since the original post... We should probably let the thread sit for now until "nurmom" comes back and lets us know if there are any other questions about the installation.

    I don't think there are any quick fixes here--and this thread is (another) good warning specifically about Skystream and small wind in general.

    -Bill

    PS: Add some wind links for anyone interested in the details (probably not useful for "Nurmom"--already has "lived" much of the information in the links below):

    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
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nurmomnurmom Registered Users Posts: 9
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    Thanks for many differnent thoughts on the issue.
    We have a 45' monopole tower, clear of trees, buildings etc. It is essentially next to hay fields and a large pond. Wind year round. For years we commented "If only we could harvest the wind, we would be all set". Then we came to purchasing this windmill. Hindsight!!! Oh, well. Can't think about that, it's a done deal-- now looking for a solution.

    Yes, it raised the value of our property, thus raising our home owners insurance. I don't think taking it down and posting a loss is really what my husband had in mind

    I know I need to read the many posts on SWWP, but is anyone familiar with the company " stepping up to the plate"?
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    NurMom,

    Sounds like you purchased last year. Unfortunately, CT only does Solar Rebate programs, however, does seem to have a PTC (Production Tax Credit) for up to 5kw produced with a Grid-Tie system. Grid-Tie means hooked up directly to the telephone pole through a meter that runs backwards. It may not matter what type of power source it comes from to qualify. Also there is a property tax exemption form to fill out.

    You've already fulfilled your Fed tax rebate, unless there was some extra rolled-over into this coming tax year ?

    The $6000 rebate have been ruled out. I too, have wished that I'd found this forum before purchasing anything of this magnitude.

    I'm afraid the gang is right. Solar would have been the better option.

    -- based on the 2.4kW--

    A system of this size would only produce up to 24% of your households power needs based on the typical home requiring 10kw per month. The real quote should be between 0-24%
    Nature's Design & Green Energy on FaceBook : Stop by and "Like" us anytime.. Many up-to-date articles about Renewables every day.
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  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,212 admin
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    I guess the answer is that SWWP has stepped up on occasion to fix problems. But many times the customer has to make themselves such a pest that SWWP figures doing something is better than nothing.

    The link to the Keep Turning Blog (as I understand the history) started with all of the problems of the wind turbine--company fixed issues--and then the site pulled most of the previous posts and became a pro-SWWP site.

    I am not sure that there is anything we can do here to help... SWWP has probably been focusing on the marketing rather than the design/mfg. recently (if not always). I am not sure that they have (are really trying, or even capable) to address some of the more fundamental issues.

    You can read this thread for some of the corporate issues on this thread:

    Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    It sounds like, that when the Skystream actually runs--it can be one of the better "small wind" energy producers. But, unfortunately, as true with almost all other current Mfg. of small wind out there, there is no reliable small wind turbines out there (combined with inappropriate installations).

    Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    If you where interested in setting up a small DC/Battery Based Wind Turbine on the existing site (for emergency power, and powering small devices from wind)--there may be a few options out there and some people can add their positive experiences.

    And an article from a Pro-Small Wind advocate/consultant about Skystream/SWWP.

    Other than pestering until you get help (Better Business Bureau, "bad publicity", etc.).., Small Claims Court is probably your only other financially viable option.

    -Bill

    Note: the above is my personal opinions based on my readings and engineering experience (not specifically with wind turbines).... Your experiences may vary.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament
    BB. wrote: »
    The link to the Keep Turning Blog (as I understand the history) started with all of the problems of the wind turbine--company fixed issues--and then the site pulled most of the previous posts and became a pro-SWWP site.

    That blog has become somewhat sad anymore. Used to be some interesting reading, but they took off anything about how they got all of their problems fixed and became what now looks like a shill site. I see they are selling advertising and T-shirts...

    And their user posts dropped down to almost nothing - we get more posts here in 1-2 days about wind than they have had since revamping the site in June.
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    It IS a shill site.
  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    I am curious if the Skystream installed with a lot of hype a few years ago at Walkers point (the Bush family compound in Maine), is still there and running? Alledgedly Bush senior didnt pay anything for it, and I expect it was mostly there for show, so I expect as long as it didnt self destruct, its served its purpose for a bit of greenwash. I imagine if it did have a problem, the CEO from SWWP would be on a plane to service it, when George senior called;)
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    Oh, people like George HW Bush get preferential treatment. The average customer, well, you have to wait your turn in the queue. And, yes, it's all greenwashing. Especially since Chevron Oil and General Electric are two of SWWP's major investors.
  • WisJimWisJim Solar Expert Posts: 59 ✭✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament
    nurmom wrote: »
    Thanks for many different thoughts on the issue.
    We have a 45' monopole tower, clear of trees, buildings etc. It is essentially next to hay fields and a large pond. Wind year round. For years we commented "If only we could harvest the wind, we would be all set". Then we came to purchasing this windmill. Hindsight!!! Oh, well. Can't think about that, it's a done deal-- now looking for a solution.

    In Wisconsin, you couldn't get a rebate on a system with a tower that short . Is the bottom of the Skystream rotor at least 30 feet above everything within 500 feet? That would mean that there s nothing within 500feet that is over maybe 4 or 5 feet high--no trees, no shrubs, no buildings, etc.

    I would say that if a dealer installed it on a 45 foot tower, he is either incompetent or a crook or ignorant. It is worthwhile to get a professional site assessment by a certified assessor before investing in a wind turbine, but of course it is too late for that now, for you.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    From what I've been reading in the threads about SWWP, sounds like business war, Andrew Carnegie style.
    Creating bad press/word of mouth for 1 wind turbine company can cause a serious issue for the entire market. The people interested in going green are not necessarily engineers or engineering minded.
    How many people change their own oil for their car. Killowhat?
    The threat is local generative energy for these companies. They want dependence on their product. Whether it is oil, hydrogen, natural gas, electricity, what ever. They are trying to maintain their infrastructure and are willing to do whatever it takes to maintain that.
    What is the total value of a gasoline powered car to the industries it supports?
    (nough politican)

    @nurmom

    Maybe you can salvage the tower and build your own wind generator similar to Dan Bartman & Dan Fink or Alfred T. Forbes.
    Check out the Midnite Solar website, for the "Classic". Look at their beta test locations. There is a 2000kw home built wind turbine at one location. The homebuilt, pre "Classic" controller, produced 600kwh per month in months with good wind. Post "Classic" controller, energy production is 3000kwh per month.
    I believe the cost is under $1000 to build it yourself.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament
    Dynamo wrote: »
    From what I've been reading in the threads about SWWP, sounds like business war, Andrew Carnegie style.
    Creating bad press/word of mouth for 1 wind turbine company can cause a serious issue for the entire market. The people interested in going green are not necessarily engineers or engineering minded.
    It is not just one wind company that has gotten bad press, it is pretty much all small wind turbines. The SkyStream just happens to be the most prominent one, mainly because of one big mistake they made in marketing it as something simple and easy to install - which it is not. Just for one example, tower alignment to exact vertical is critical. SWWP is now trying to address at least some of the issues, for example now selling the turbine, tower, and grid tie equipment as a single package rather than piecemeal parts, which also led to some problems.

    And your comment about being "green" and wind turbines points out a big part of the problem - both turbines and solar arrays require a certain amount of skills to install correctly, and many people simply don't have them.

    But lately a large part of the "green" marketing has been towards the people least likely to do a correct install. RE systems are just like anything else that requires some skills, whether it is plumbing, welding, or auto repair.
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    Seems everything in this world is much less than perfect. The advertising is getting very good and the products are getting worse. Worse yet, no one seems to know any answers unless you have $$ to burn on repairs or maintenance. This is just something that all of us have to grin and bare with RE systems. I would be embarrassed to sell products that didn't work well and would be out of business myself. Good products may be the reasons why business start up, but they sure don't stay that way. Money first, then the people....Business Philosophy 101. Obviously one class that I flunked out miserably !
    Nature's Design & Green Energy on FaceBook : Stop by and "Like" us anytime.. Many up-to-date articles about Renewables every day.
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  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    Well, Dynamo, what Windsun said is 100% correct. Especially this:
    "But lately a large part of the "green" marketing has been towards the people least likely to do a correct install."

    SWWP specifically set out to do that with the Skystream. They hired a marketing firm to specifically target people on the "green" issue. They had bumper stickers printed up that said "Stopping global warming---one backyard at a time". The whole intention was to make this a backyard wind turbine for homeowners, which is why they started calling it a Residential Power Appliance. The reason why was because they couldn't make the kind of profits they wanted in off-grid small wind. The only way to CHA-CHING! get rich quick was to sell these at a rate of "three thousand per month to start" which is what the original starting sales projection was. This was how they convinced investors there was a lot of money to be made here, over the caution of those who knew better.

    Those of us who had been there for several years had already seen this movie before with the "roof mount kits" for the Air series. Though, to be fair, the idea with those were off-grid houses. Anyone with a few years of experience in small wind knows you don't park wind turbines in suburban backyards.

    The fact is, those of us who had been there for years tried like he** to fight for quality and the customer. You'll notice we're no longer there. Gee, wonder why? People came in there with zero renewable energy experience and they, in turn, got rid of the people who had kept that company going since 2000 when things started going pear-shaped. We put in the sweat equity, did without raises for years in a row, and put in the extra effort for the customer and the company. In the end, the money is what won out. Not the customer, not small wind, and certainly not the loyal employees who stood by the company for a decade. Each must decide for him or herself if a company like that will be loyal to them as the customer.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    The issue isn't whether suburban homes can harvest wind. It only takes 6 to 7 mph of wind to turn a blade. The issue is towers. Communities see a 60' tower on a quarter acre property as an eyesore, instead of fulfilling a need. But I bet when the price of oil is at $200 a barrel, they'll be the first one to try and put one at their home.
    In my town, they'll give me a variance for a 60' flag pole, but not for a 60' wind tower.
    Anyone with a few years of experience in small wind knows you don't park wind turbines in suburban backyards.
    I have my Home Built Wind generator, a 48 volt Homebrew, in the basement.
    I was hoping the "Classic" would be on the market by now. It seems very promising.

    @Truth Squad
    What do you do now for work?
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    "I have my Home Built Wind generator, a 48 volt Homebrew, in the basement."

    i know how you meant this, but a funny question came to my mind the instant i saw your question. don't take this thought wrong. are there big winds in your basement?:p
  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Skystream--$20,000 lawn ornament

    Dynamo said:
    "The issue isn't whether suburban homes can harvest wind. It only takes 6 to 7 mph of wind to turn a blade. The issue is towers. Communities see a 60' tower on a quarter acre property as an eyesore, instead of fulfilling a need. But I bet when the price of oil is at $200 a barrel, they'll be the first one to try and put one at their home."

    Yeah, well, let us know when you invent that magical turbine that harvests enough wind in a 6 to 7 MPH windspeed to power a suburban home and isn't the size of a heavy-lift helicopter engine and rotor. Many small wind manufacturers have been chasing that unicorn for over a decade and still haven't found it. Maybe it only takes 6 to 7 MPH to spin a blade, but it takes far more than that to get any appreciable power over the long run.

    The issue isn't just towers. The issue is manufacturers shortcutting and placing profits at all costs over quality and a reliable product. I'll tell you something else. You go placing turbines with rapidly-spinning composite blades into every backyard in America, and you will some deaths and injuries within a year. When one of these turbines runs away and all it has is electronic overspeed protection (that failed), the blades shatter. Shattered blades can fly some amazing distances and have some very fascinating penetration power.

    The point is, where is the accountability for the manufacturers? So oil might be $200 a barrel someday, so what? If that's so, where is the fire under the butt of the manufacturers to produce a quality, reliable product? Where is the demand from the public for real alternatives and not some touchy-feely "Gosh, we're green because we sez so..." greenwashing campaign that markets unreliable crap in the interest of rapid short-term profits to cash in on the green fad? Putting up a 60' tower isn't the solution. Putting a QUALITY, RELIABLE turbine on the top of that tower is the solution.
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