Wind Generator Suggestion

SystemSystem Posts: 2,511 admin
Hello Everyone. I'm currently in the market for a wind generator in California on a 4 acre property. I'm looking to spend roughly $10,000-$19,000 turn key cost (including installation) and what would be the best suited wind generator for my situation. Because I am relatively unfamiliar to generators I'm looking for one that is easy to use and produces maximum output. Thank you for any input or advise.


  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wind Generator Suggestion

    the trouble with max output is that it is the max output and not the norm. the power is derived from the wind and is dependent upon the wind speed so lower outputs will be the norm. furthermore, wind turbines are high maintenance with all of their moving parts. lastly, small wind hasn't been the most reliable as far as quality goes. if you do this be cautious and be sure it would be properly mounted and high enough above the surrounding buildings, trees, etc.
    if it were me i'd put that $ into solar as you would have reliable power and more of it.
    give the guys more details as will it be off grid or gt, what kind of loads you will need to power if off grid and anything else pertinent that may help us help you.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wind Generator Suggestion

    Thank you for the quick response. Sorry I'm kinda unfamiliar with the technical details and terms so excuse me if my responses are unclear. I'm assuming on grid is integrated with the house. In that case, yes i plan on making it on grid. i live in a relatively flat land (34°30′41″N 117°12′43″W) 2,946 ft above sea level. I usually get winds during the evening regularly due to being located between mountain ranges. As for obstructions there are not much things in the way. My property is a 4 acre peach farm located in a residential neighborhood, nothing much higher than your standard 1 story house. i was looking at the Skystream on the standard pole but after reading threads on this website about the unsatisfactory results I'm not too sure anymore or at the very least upgrade the tower height. If i were to take the solar option how much power could i generate per month. Would my investment payoff better if i went the solar route?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,638 admin
    Re: Wind Generator Suggestion

    Backing up a moment... Generally conservation will be your best return on investment. Older homes, people who have not really made an effort to conserve (not wasteful--just life happened)--It is quite possible to save upwards of 50% on your utility bill.

    And, in California (at least with the major utilities), we have tiered rate usage--If you are more than ~1,000 kWH per month, you can pay upwards of $0.40-$0.60 per kWH in some cases. If you can get your bill below ~300 kWH per month, you will pay ~$0.12 per kWH. (At least for PG&E in Northern California, the rate plans are very complex as can be tier levels--and throw in Time of Use plans for solar grid tied systems).

    If your home is new, you have energy star appliances, you use laptops instead of desktop computers, have a high SEER heating system, well designed/insulated home (lots of ceiling insulation, double pane windows, skylights, CFL/Florescent lamps)--then you are well on your way to saving money.

    I am guessing you are in Apple Valley area? You can use the PV Watts website to estimate monthly/yearly power generation from grid tied solar PV system...

    Using Dagget California, everything set to default (4kW solar array):
    "Station Identification"
    "Lat (deg N):", 34.87
    "Long (deg W):", 116.78
    "Elev (m): ", 588
    "PV System Specifications"
    "DC Rating:"," 4.0 kW"
    "DC to AC Derate Factor:"," 0.770"
    "AC Rating:"," 3.1 kW"
    "Array Type: Fixed Tilt"
    "Array Tilt:"," 34.9"
    "Array Azimuth:","180.0"

    "Energy Specifications"
    "Cost of Electricity:","12.5 cents/kWh"

    "Month", "Solar Radiation (kWh/m^2/day)", "AC Energy (kWh)", "Energy Value ($)"
    1, 5.59, 510, 63.75
    2, 6.03, 481, 60.12
    3, 7.10, 630, 78.75
    4, 7.74, 653, 81.62
    5, 7.42, 627, 78.38
    6, 7.42, 591, 73.88
    7, 7.33, 588, 73.50
    8, 7.40, 598, 74.75
    9, 7.34, 589, 73.62
    10, 6.76, 582, 72.75
    11, 5.78, 498, 62.25
    12, 5.20, 479, 59.88
    "Year", 6.76, 6825, 853.12

    You will average around 500-600 kWH per month or 6,825 kWH per year.

    A 4 kW GT array will cost you around $6-$8 per watt--so $24-$32,000, less 30% Federal tax credit and any state/local rebates/credits.

    Regarding wind--Do the trees "flag" (shaped by wind), are you willing to install a 60+ foot tall tower?

    The turbines are pretty cheap--it is the towers and the maintenance (inspection, tightening hardware, repairs with a crane truck/lay machine down flat) costs that can really hurt.

    A Skystream, when operating well in a windy area can generate a fair amount of power (see this guy's site--opps, looks like the blog site is down/gone). However, even now (I guess) the guy's output has dropped after two years (and a lot of work at the beginning to make it work in the first place).

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Wind Generator Suggestion

    From what I've read, you need an *average* wind speed of about 10mph for small wind to work well. That's actually quite a lot, especially if you get most of your breeze in the evenings - it would have to be pretty stiff to make up for the low wind all day and then average out to 10mph.

    I would invest first in a weather station with anemometer, and mount the anemometer as high as possible and get some data before even considering putting 20k into a wind turbine.

    If you do though, the TLG seems to have a good number of satisfied customers. NAWS, the host of this forum is a dealer. They had one for testing but I don't know if the results ever got posted, but NAWS does say good things about it on their web site:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,638 admin
    Re: Wind Generator Suggestion

    Also Proven and ARE have been suggested as good "small wind" units.

    Add some more links about wind power (you have already read at least one):

    Wind Power Links (good forum for DIY Wind Power)
    Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    And a general DIY Solar Builder site:

    -Bill "not a wind guy" B.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Wind Generator Suggestion

    are? don't you mean awp? link is no good on it either. burgey is said to be ok as well.

    gt is short for grid tied and that means a utility connection. do some reading here on the forum to further educate yourself and even home power magazine is good reading. you can search for their website and see if they still offer a free issue you can download. in fact i'll do it for you as it's been awhile since i went there.
    you can see in the blued area on the left and down below the login it says sample issue. in the meantime while educating yourself further you can work on conservation. a meter like the kill-a-watt can make realtime measurements of power usage and can even add up the killowatt hours (kwh) for you.
    i suggest if you may still want to try a wind turbine that you go with solar first and then dabble in the wind later after you are more familiar with all of the ins and outs of it.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,638 admin
    Re: Wind Generator Suggestion

    Thank you Niel,

    I fixed the ARE link... And I guess the company calls itself XEZRES now.

    -Bill "nobody tells me anything" B.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
Sign In or Register to comment.