Wind turbine choice

System
System Posts: 2,511 admin
Hello !

I am french, so sorry if my english is not perfect !

I am making researches to find a wind turbine for an isloated site in France. It's a windy place * but I can't put the wind turbine very high (20 foots).

I look for a wind turbine optimized for good performances under low wind speed. I think it's important to charge batterys the more regulary as possible.

My budget is around 1500 to 2000 US Dollars for the turbine.

With your experience, could you tell me which models of turbines would be a good choice for me ?

Do you know if I can find somewhere an independant compartive test of small wind turbines ?

Thank you for your help,


Florence

*PS : my location : http://maps.google.fr/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=fr&q=29120+Saint-Jean-Trolimon,+Finist%C3%A8re,+Bretagne&ie=UTF8&geocode=FRte2gIdFLC-_w&split=0&sll=46.75984,1.738281&sspn=7.619431,12.941406&hq=&hnear=Saint-Jean-Trolimon,+Finist%C3%A8re,+Bretagne&z=13

Comments

  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,404 admin
    Re: Wind turbine choice

    Welcome to the forum Florence.

    Your English is fine... Probably better than mine (my only language :blush:).

    A warning--I am not a believer in small wind turbines. I think they do not work well in most locations. People install them on too short of tower, in areas that are not very windy, and the turbines tend to be unreliable.

    Here is a review from 2008 of small wind turbines installed in a windy province in Netherlands (Zeeland).

    Generally, for a successful installation, you need a tower that is 20 meters or taller, 10 meters above any obstructions within 100-200 meters (buildings, trees), and the trees in your area should "flag" from the prevailing wind. Also, many wind turbines tend to be pretty noisy and have been known to throw blades and fall from towers--so they should be installed away from any neighbor's homes.

    The 20 meter tower tends to make wind turbines expensive to install and maintain (may need crane to take turbine down for service). But too short of tower or if there are nearby obstructions--Turbulent wind usually makes for very poor power generation and can damage the turbine. 20 foot tall towers are generally too short for any wind turbine.

    For a successful wind turbine installation, the wind turbine needs to be installed in smoothly flowing wind of fairly high average speed. There is very little energy in "low wind speed". Below 4.5-5 meter/second average wind speed, there is probably just not enough energy for any small turbine to be successful.

    Also, it is very helpful if you enjoy working on wind turbines too... There is a fair amount of repairs required (bearing replacement, blade replacement, repairing electrical components, etc.). Otherwise you end up spending a lot of money paying someone else to keep your turbine operating.

    There are a few people here that have wind turbines they like--I will let them tell you about their installations.

    In general, if you have good sun (no problem with summer marine layer/fog), a solar PV array (solar electric panels) are usually a better choice to start with.

    Here are some more links for you too read:

    Wind Power Links
    www.otherpower.com (good forum for DIY Wind Power)
    Hugh Piggott - Scoraig Wind Electric site for tons of info (from mike90045)
    www.greenpowertalk.org (added from "russ"--Like here but more wind/less solar)

    Having local access to wind turbines and parts is very helpful too--Are there any successful installations near you? People you can ask?

    -Bill

    Also, I should add... The more successful designs are Horizontal Wind Turbines (HAWT) designs... So far, I have not seen any Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) that is any more than an expensive lawn sculpture.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • keyturbocars
    keyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: Wind turbine choice

    Hello Florence,

    Bill has done a very good job explaining small wind power.

    I have a HY-2000 wind turbine and I am happy with it, but I live in a canyon in a fairly good wind zone.

    Here's my experience with my HY-2000 wind turbine:

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=9466

    Why are you limited to a 20 feet tall tower?

    If it is because you are in town where they have height restrictions, then most likely there will be too many obstructions (building, trees, etc) that will prevent any useful power from a wind turbine (especially at 20 feet).

    Edward
  • Peter_V
    Peter_V Solar Expert Posts: 226 ✭✭✭
    Re: Wind turbine choice
    Florence wrote: »
    but I can't put the wind turbine very high (20 foots).

    I look for a wind turbine optimized for good performances under low wind speed. I think it's important to charge batterys the more regulary as possible.

    There is very little energy in low wind speed. Trying to capture wind energy from low speed wind is almost always a waste of money.

    A short tower in a low wind area might look pretty but won't generate any energy.
  • russ
    russ Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Wind turbine choice

    A good link about wind turbine siting

    Wind shade calculator (Danish Wind) http://www.talentfactory.dk/en/tour/wres/shelter/index.htm

    You need to be well above any obstructions in the area.

    Russ
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wind turbine choice

    Thank you Bill, Edward, Peter and Russ for your help.

    Edward, I anjoyed to see your pictures ! Great job ! What is the cost of a HY-2000 ? Where is it made ?

    About my procject,

    First, I am in a windy place ! It's one of the most windy place in Europe...

    http://www.sustainableenergyworld.eu/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/wind_map_of_western_europe.gif

    I am not in town but in the country. And there are no trees ans house on my land. It's why I can use a 6 meters tower. I will build a bigger one next year if possible. But I do it gradually so as not to arouse opposition to my neighbors.

    I know that it would be easyer and cheaper to install PV pannels. My choice of wind tubine is a result of two motivations :

    First my (small) needs of electricity are much bigger in winter time than in summer time.

    Secondly, I LOVE WIND TUBINES !!! :-)

    One of my friend have a small 5 years old chinees wind tubine mounted on a 9 meters tower. At the begening, he did a lot of electricity with it. Now his wind tubine don't works well because of mechanical reasons. But the fact is that the wind power potential realy exist in my place !

    Some other friends have PV pannels. They have a lot of power during summer but they always miss energy during winter.

    I know that I will probably need to buy also a small PV pannel in complement for summer. But I realy want a wind turbine ! :-D

    So, can you suggest me, which small turbines could be a good choice for me ?


    Thank you !


    Florence
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,404 admin
    Re: Wind turbine choice

    Florence,

    If your experience was exactly the same as your neighbor's--Basically, works for 1-2 years then needs major overhaul or replacement for another 1-2 years. Is that satisfactory for you?

    Another big question that we usually forget to ask--Do you have lightning in the area. A 10 meter metal tower is a great lightning attractor--and it is very difficult to protect a wind turbine and your power system. If there is a direct strike, you probably are looking at some major repair costs (as well as your safety).

    Again, I am not a big fan of small wind--but that sounds like a relatively successful installation. Most people don't even get that far.

    Have you measured/estimated how much power you will need from your power system?

    Do you have utility power available or will this be truly "off the grid"?

    Will you need a backup generator?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wind turbine choice

    Hello Bill,

    My estimation of needed electricity is 0.3 kw per day. This is my minimal esimation. If I have more electricity I will use it for less essential needs. I hope I will not need a backup generator. Normaly not because I can live without electricity for two or three days.

    The problems that my fried have with his turbine is that he has loose in the bearing ball. This is for my point of view the result of choosing a verry cheap turbine.

    I will be truly "off the grid".

    Concerning lightning, you ask a good question. I have to work at this aspect to prevent bad consequences. Do you have suggestions for this aspect ?


    Florence
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,404 admin
    Re: Wind turbine choice

    0.3kWH or 300 WH per day is a very reasonable and downright small load. Congratulations on your conservation and reasonable expectations.

    Lightning is a huge problem with wind turbines. We have a few disucussions about lightning in these threads:

    Off Grid Grounding Technique?
    Another Question, this time about Lightning
    Lightning Protection for PV Systems

    Note, the above are discussions, not a do A, B, and C--and you will be "safe". There probably is no such thing with lightning. Several different techniques are discussed--and a few of those posters even have experience with lightning.

    For best results, if you have lightning in the forecast, shut down the turbine, unplug the power cable, and move the cables 3-5 meters from your home (don't let the lightning get close in the first place).

    Others here can probably give you some better information than I--But realistically, you are probably looking at major repairs if you get a direct strike. You just want to keep safe.

    Solar wise, if you assume that you have fog/clouds for part of the time, a ~300 watt solar array with 1 hour of sun per day, charging a flooded cell battery, and using DC power (no AC inverter):
    • 300 watts * 1 hour of sun * 0.62 system derating = 186 Watt*Hours per day
    That would probably supply you with > 300 Watt*Hours per day 9 months of the year.

    Using PV Watts for Brest France, 1,000 (1kW) solar array and 0.62 system efficiency:
    "Station Identification"
    "City:","Brest"
    "State:","FRA"
    "Lat (deg N):", 48.45
    "Long (deg W):", 4.42
    "Elev (m): ", 103
    "Weather Data:","IWEC"

    "PV System Specifications"
    "DC Rating:"," 1.0 kW"
    "DC to AC Derate Factor:"," 0.620"
    "AC Rating:"," 0.6 kW"
    "Array Type: Fixed Tilt"
    "Array Tilt:"," 48.5"
    "Array Azimuth:","180.0"

    "Energy Specifications"
    "Cost of Electricity:"," 0.1 euro/kWh"

    "Results"
    "Month", "Solar Radiation (kWh/m^2/day)", "AC Energy (kWh)", "Energy Value (euro)"
    1, 1.17, 19, 0.02
    2, 2.30, 38, 0.04
    3, 2.99, 55, 0.06
    4, 4.17, 74, 0.08
    5, 4.60, 83, 0.09
    6, 4.74, 81, 0.09
    7, 4.74, 83, 0.09
    8, 4.43, 78, 0.09
    9, 3.89, 68, 0.08
    10, 2.66, 46, 0.05
    11, 1.75, 29, 0.03
    12, 1.19, 20, 0.02
    "Year", 3.22, 674, 0.76

    Your average sun is under 2 hours of sun for November, December, and January...

    If you could justify:
    • Solar array = 300 WH per day * 1/0.62 derating * / 1.17 hours of sun = 414 Watts of Panels for January
    more than 414 watts of solar panels... That would cover your average sun even in deep winter (assuming your weather is similar to Brest).

    Otherwise, a small, fuel efficient genset (Euro version of a Honda eu1000i) which runs for around 2-4 hours per liter of petrol) for those few weeks a year of bad weather (heavy clouds/storms) may be a better solution (sorry about the price of fuel).

    I was serious about if you had a turbine experience like your neighbor? Did his generate a useful amount of power (did he measure it) and if you had to change bearings every 1-2 years--Would that be OK with you.

    His experience sounds about normal for small wind turbines that are working well.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • MisterB
    MisterB Solar Expert Posts: 156 ✭✭
    Re: Wind turbine choice

    2 years is a very short lifetime for a turbine. It indicates that the turbine was poorly made or in a site with a lot of turbulence or both. My Windseeker went 16 years before the bearings needed to be replaced. I had to refinish and balance the prop, replace electrical connectors and one of the springs of the furling mechanism long before the bearings started to wear out.

    Your power needs are very modest and an array of 3 or 4 125 watt solar panels and a 500 watt turbine--one that can really put out 400-500 watts at around 12/ms--should work for you and give you much more than your proposed .3 kwatt hour per day load.

    I would buy an anemometer and put in your proposed site at the proposed height to verify the wind speed and if it has a weather vane to indicate wind direction, this will give you a good idea of how much turbulence there is at different wind heights. If it changes direction a lot, that is an indication of turbulence. Turbulence will degrade the performance of the turbine and subject it to much more mechanical stress.
  • keyturbocars
    keyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: Wind turbine choice
    Florence wrote: »

    Edward, I anjoyed to see your pictures ! Great job ! What is the cost of a HY-2000 ? Where is it made ?

    Florence, The cost of a HY-2000 wind turbine is $2599 USD. It is made in China, but the quality is very good. The HY Energy company has done a good job making these wind turbines. In fact, I think the quality is better than even some wind turbines that are made in the USA.

    This is the distributor in the USA:

    http://www.magnet4less.com/product_info.php?cPath=8_116&products_id=498

    Perhaps a smaller HY-1000 would be a good choice. I have read about a person that has 2 of them and they are also very happy with them. The HY-1000 24V model sells for $1099.

    http://www.magnet4less.com/product_info.php?cPath=8_116&products_id=719

    If you want smaller, there is the HY-400 5 blade wind turbine that costs $569.

    http://www.magnet4less.com/product_info.php?cPath=8_116&products_id=756

    Below is the HY Energy company website with their e-mail address. If you want, you could contact them and see who is a dealer in Europe. Their website is not finished yet, but it does have information on how to contact them.

    http://www.hyenergy.com.cn/index.aspx?language=en

    Secondly, I LOVE WIND TUBINES !!! :-)

    I know what you mean. There is something about a wind turbine that I also find very enjoyable. They can be a lot of trouble, but when everything is working right, they can be very fun too!

    Best Regards,

    Edward
  • MisterB
    MisterB Solar Expert Posts: 156 ✭✭
    Re: Wind turbine choice

    The HY turbines have CE certification which is one of the factors that made me decide to buy one. This means somebody is selling them in Europe and they have been tested and certified by an independant agency not connected to the manufacturer. I think they were sold in Europe years before they came to the US. Mine is an early version of the HY400 which has metric tower fittings. I had to have a machine shop make custom shims for the tower top to make it fit with the turbine.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,404 admin
    Re: Wind turbine choice

    One clarification... At least years ago when I was designing equipment, the CE Mark does not really mean a lot... It works out to be pretty much a declaration by the company that they meet European Standards of some sort (product specific).

    It does not mean that there was independent compliance testing or ongoing quality control.

    UL / CSA / ETL / TUV and other NRTL's are a different matter... In their case, they are independent and doe carry on 3rd party inspections and conformation of being built/tested to some standards (assuming there is no outright fraud on the part of the Company and that relatively simple product tests did not miss some issue or another).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • 65DegN
    65DegN Solar Expert Posts: 109 ✭✭
    Re: Wind turbine choice

    I have a 2 KW Whirlwind turbine that I have had up and running since 1987. After a few initial modifications it has been nearly trouble free. Routing painting of the blades and the replacement of a spring.

    I try to keep up with developments in wind power and I have yet to find any small wind machine that works better than the Bergey XL.1. They are using the new Midnite Solar charge controller with them now and getting great output. I'm hearing almost 2KW and better low wind output as well. The machines are well made and seem to hold up well. Also Bergey stands behind their products.

    About towers, short towers can ruin a turbine with turbulence. The use of short towers seems to be the latest fad these days but the resulting production is typically awful.
    With such poor production many of these machines will not last long enough to pay for themselves in grid tie applications.
    If a tall tower makes a wind project too expensive then it is not a viable project, IMO, and it's time to consider solar which has become more cost effective lately anyhow.
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wind turbine choice
    Florence wrote: »
    Thank you Bill, Edward, Peter and Russ for your help.

    Edward, I anjoyed to see your pictures ! Great job ! What is the cost of a HY-2000 ? Where is it made ?

    About my procject,

    First, I am in a windy place ! It's one of the most windy place in Europe...

    http://www.sustainableenergyworld.eu/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/wind_map_of_western_europe.gif

    I am not in town but in the country. And there are no trees ans house on my land. It's why I can use a 6 meters tower. I will build a bigger one next year if possible. But I do it gradually so as not to arouse opposition to my neighbors.

    I know that it would be easyer and cheaper to install PV pannels. My choice of wind tubine is a result of two motivations :

    First my (small) needs of electricity are much bigger in winter time than in summer time.

    Secondly, I LOVE WIND TUBINES !!! :-)

    One of my friend have a small 5 years old chinees wind tubine mounted on a 9 meters tower. At the begening, he did a lot of electricity with it. Now his wind tubine don't works well because of mechanical reasons. But the fact is that the wind power potential realy exist in my place !

    Some other friends have PV pannels. They have a lot of power during summer but they always miss energy during winter.

    I know that I will probably need to buy also a small PV pannel in complement for summer. But I realy want a wind turbine ! :-D

    So, can you suggest me, which small turbines could be a good choice for me ?


    Thank you !


    Florence

    What's your location Florence? Maybe I can do some help.