Does this forum cover wind energy?

timsjstimsjs Registered Users Posts: 6
I'm just considering a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine and wondered if this is the right location to ask for some help. I know it's called "Solar Beginners Corner" but "wind" is listed. If this is not the place, then where would you suggest.

Thanks for any help. Tim


  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,395 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Does this forum cover wind energy?

    Wind is discussed here but the general consensus is that small wind has such site special needs to be successful that the costs don't make sense. You will get lots of good feedback about your location, turbine types, etc. Most that have wind as an off grid, use it as supplement to the solar setups they have. Most people with the grid available find solar provide better pay back for $$$ spent.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,997 admin
    Re: Does this forum cover wind energy?

    There are a couple forums that focus more on DIY wind than we do:

    You are certainly more than welcome to post your questions in the wind section of the forum.

    Probably, if you post a construction question, we will probably be asking you about your local wind conditions and mounting options (how much wind, how high above obstructions). And what your expectations are (XXX watt rated turbine averaging XX watt output, etc.).

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • timsjstimsjs Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Does this forum cover wind energy?

    Bill - Thanks for the links, I'll definitely look at them. Solar Dave - thanks for the suggestion about solar. Like you, I'm sure solar would have a better rate of return in $$$ but I'm also plan on using the wind turbine as a learning tool for my self, my kids and grandkids not to belittle the satisfaction of cutting out any portion that I might have to pay the utility companies.

    My specifics are: I'm limited to new construction altitude of 10 meters(33') because I'm located in a small airport's traffic pattern. That and I'm, somewhat, limited to the amount of of installation area. A VAWT(Vertical Axis Wind Turbine), generally, has a smaller construction and operation space required as opposed to a HAWT(Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine).

    I'm considering a VAWT manufactured by Urban Green Energy called Eddy. Has any one heard of it or had any experience with it? It is rated to start generating electricity at wind speeds of 7.5 mph(3.2m/s). Do you, in your experience, think actual performance will achieve rated?

    I appreciate any input or information you may have. Tim
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,997 admin
    Re: Does this forum cover wind energy?

    I guess this is the Manufacturer?

    Cut-in speed is not really a useful number---That is the wind speed at which the turbine generates more than zero Watts.

    Also, this appears to be a new design (first for company?). I would recommend waiting at least 1 year and then see a few that have been installed and running in a windy environment.

    You can read about Mariah VAWT that actually when through testing at a government lab... Wind turbines are mechanical units installed in very tough conditions (wind/water/sun/temperature extremes/lightning/etc.)... And it takes a year (or a few years) for vendors to work out the design and construction issues (electrical and mechanical).

    For example, here is the 2008 Mariah test results:

    What are your expectations of power from the unit in kWH per month/per year that would make it worth while for you?

    Small wind turbines seem to be way oversold in their terms of ability to produce power, where they need to be mounted, and long term reliability.

    Please beware... I am not a fan of small wind. The following links tend to support my view of the world and others may have different opinions (my lot is too small, too many trees/homes in area, and I don't live in a windy location--base of hill--not at top).

    Wind Power Links
    Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    Truth About Skystream & SWWP

    Basically, VAWT are sold as being the solution for urban wind where there are large obstructions because they can take wind power instantly from any direction unlike a HAWT that needs to point into the wind and units can be mounted on roof (the Eddy has a "roof mount" option).

    Simple fact is that you need lots of wind (trees should "flagging" from prevailing winds), you need to be 30' above any obstructions within 500 feet, higher towers are better (60' minimum recommendation), never mount a turbine on a roof/attached to a home (noise and may shake the home apart), turbulent wind has little power, wind energy goes up with the cube of the wind speed--low wind speed has very little energy, Sweep Area is key to wind energy--larger area, more power, etc....

    Also, check the rated output at what battery bank voltage (if DC charger). Many wind turbines only have one alternator voltage option... At 12 volts they will have cut-in at ~8 mph... On a 48 volt battery bank, its cut-in speed was over 20 mph...

    In the end, many of these small wind vendors have little capital, only build to order (and payment before delivery), and have delivery delays.

    Customer comments, like this one, are not uncommon (I think it is for their "4k model") for any of these small wind vendors:
    NewTurbineGuy says:
    October 2, 2010 at 4:50 pm
    Nice product but wait to judge until yours arrives and is working. We ordered our UGE 4kW in February and its now October an it has yet to arrive… well in the correct color. There are two turbine options size and color and they got color wrong. Good thing too. We sent our first one to a distributor in CA. It turned out to be a bad unit. They had to have another made to replace it. The company is not very customer friendly. Your distributor will have to pay in full before your unit will ship. Be carful because they tend to just ship what they think you want as far as tower, electronics and the load resistors are also quite pricy we found the actually company Milwaukee Resistor Co. and bought direct saving lots of $$. Use caution. Also their device are not UL listed so check in your area.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Does this forum cover wind energy?

    A good resource for wind is

    They are the opposite of this forum - they do solar also but wind is the main topic. Decent bunch of guys the same as here.

    Another is Paul Gipe's site

    The Eddy turbine is rated at 600 watts in a 12 m/s wind speed - like 25 mph wind. I doubt you see that except in a storm. A 5 m/s - like 11 mph is a good strong breeze. The cut in speed is a meaningless number and at 3.5 m/s there is little power available.

    Found the power curve and at 5 m/s the rated output is 50 watts. As far as annual output goes they probably suggest that you can get 600 watts * 8760 hour or 5250 kWh/year. In reality you would probably be lucky to get 10% of that.
    You have to use reasonable wind speeds and a capacity factor of 25 to 35%.

    A major problem with VAWTs is that being set up low they miss out on what decent wind is available.

    If they give it away - still not a good deal.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,997 admin
    Re: Does this forum cover wind energy?

    Thank you Russ--I have added that link to the Working Thread Sticky...

    I think Tim has already posted a similar question in that forum and got a similar response about VAWT and low towers/wind speeds.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • timsjstimsjs Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: Does this forum cover wind energy?

    Bill and Russ,
    Thanks for the insights and links. I definitely will do some more research before I make a definite decision. You saved me some !!!!!!
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