Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭
I would love to put up a small to mid sized turbine. I do have good wind resource, but am limited in space for a guyed tower in my residential setting.
I have looked around at tilt over towers, hydraulic towers, lattice would be nice but maintainance would be a chore as would most Monopole designs.
At this point in time the city will approve a mill up to 1500 watts with a tower height of no more than 60 feet.
I would love any input anyone has as to what towers are acceptable in a freestanding role. I have even considered building a 40' tilt over out of 250 wall 6x6 hollow square. This would have to be beefed up to 8x8 for a whisper 200 but would be acceptable for an Air-X or a TLG.
I would also appreciate any coments on the 200 or the TLG. I do know TLG stands firmly behind their product while southwest is getting "too big to care".

All PEANUT GALLERY COMMENTS WELCOME.

Over all I am looking into an XW setup with 1-2 KW solar and a moderate battery backup. I haven't really decided as yet. 24 Volt or 48 volt to drop my overall amperage.

Comments

  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    You would probably be most disappointed with the performance of a wind turbine on a 40 foot tower. I'd say 60 is the absolute bare minimum, depending on what's around you.

    Everything I found when dabbling with wind turbines recommended a minimum of 30 feet above the highest obstruction for 300 feet around. Lower than that, you are getting into "dirty" air - it doesn't flow in clean lines and the turbine is unable to perform up to par if at all.

    I finally took my small one down, because of just that. It *seemed* like I had decent wind (I knew it wasn't anywhere near ideal, but hoped for better-than-nothing) but the eddies and changing currents in the wind brought on by trees and houses in the area became all too clear once the turbine was up. No sooner would it come up to speed, than a side gust would hit it and the thing would "spin out", often turning around 180 degrees and coming to a stop. It never stayed straight into the prevailing wind, always "hunting" back and forth.

    In my case, to get the turbine high enough to get into clean wind would have required a tower tall enough to hit a neighbor's house should it fall and I was unwilling to take that risk. (Not to mention I'd have to convince my city to allow it - but if I had the land I'd have gone to the trouble to try anyway.)
  • WisJimWisJim Solar Expert Posts: 59 ✭✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    A 60 foot tower isn't tall enough, unless it is a tiny generator on a hill top with no vegetation in a good wind site--and then a taller tower usually justifies itself by putting the generator in better wind so that the value of additional electricity generated more than offsets the additional cost of the generator. If you can't put up a tower of adequate height, don't bother with a wind generator, but buy more PVs. In talking to people thinking about installing a wind turbine, I mostly talk them out of it--really good sites that justify the expense are uncommon.
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    A couple of guides about turbine placement and restrictions:

    1) http://windmeasurement.co.uk/wind_shade.html
    2) http://www.solacity.com/SiteSelection.htm

    Good info in both
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    I've been talking to a neighbor up the street. He's got an Air-x 6 ft above his roof line. In some situations, especially west winds, yes it does spin out , but when we get wind from any other direction, he is generating uninterupted for the most part. In January, the little thing saved his bacon when the powerlines came down. Long story short, we froze for 3 days while he was toasty warm.
    That all being said, his total height is 24 feet, approx 6 ft above rooflines.
    The only real obstructions either of us have above the roofines are a couple spruce trees four doors down. All the homes in the area are one story bungalows
    except for a couple 2 story houses a block or two away.
    I have been looking at Re-Driven hyd towers. Anyone have any experience with em?
    Any one here build their own free standing guyless?
    Pics?
    More comments Please.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    Anyone who is thinking about wind power should put up an anemometer first, no matter what height tower they're planning, and see if they really get the sustained 20+ mph winds necessary to make these things work.

    And remember; it's not a matter of "does it work at all?" so much as "does it work well enough to justify the investment?"
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    Thank-you for the input. I'll have to do a lot more research I guess.
    In my mind, wind seemed like a cheaper alternative to solar. Mind you, I have found name brand PV's down to $2.77/watt canadian. If it keeps coming down in price, it may end up being the best alternative for me. I would also not have to worry about a tower crashing down on my neighbor.
    Time will tell.
  • peterakopeterako Solar Expert Posts: 144 ✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    Hi there i have whisper 200 flying, i am on a very good wind site but the 200 is near never producing 1000 W . when it is you do not want to be outside and when there is high wind a change of wind speed or direction gives a strong helicopter sound.
    When the wind is low it creates a anoying sound. so if you have others living closeby they will call you and not to greet you.
    i updated the tail to double size to be more stable.
    i made my own part tilt down tower but i am still using guy wires but close by.
    Greetings from Greece
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    What better place than Greece for the "blade tip flutter"(Southwest Windpower's name for the sound).? After the first time hearing our H80 do that we named it "the farts of the gods!).

    SWWP sent me 6"shorter and stiffer blades when I complained about it.

    Ralph
  • SlappySlappy Solar Expert Posts: 251 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    Topper, have you considered a "VAWT"? just me thinking out loud;)
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    Consider a VAWT for what? They do make a neat lawn ornament İ guess.
  • peterakopeterako Solar Expert Posts: 144 ✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    Ralph day:
    I have a near by navy helicopter base and the next house is around 600M away. so i i do not have a problem with the " whisper ":blush: sound.
    But for anybody wanting it and having close by other houses think twice.:roll:

    p.s. the last days we have typical winds for the area and only my 200 keeps battery 100%, and i am telling my wife to run the washer often to use more energy.:D

    greetings from Greece
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    I have looked into VAWT's. Most do not live up to output expectations Every-one I have looked into has had recalls or experienced MAJOR fatigue failures. The one that really caught my eye was by Pacwind. Apparently, over the course of time, they fly apart due to stress fractures.
    I am rather depressed about the noise issue on the whisper 200 though.:cry:I was looking forward to 1 KW in the air but Oh well. Such is life.
    I seem to find myself leaning toward a small Air-X since everything else seems to be a bit loud or excessively large. An air-x is a bit small, but it would hopefully at least maintain my batteries in between time and may even generate a little useful power.

    I'm still looking into solar. Found a "by the pallet sale" for 2.15/watt. It's close enough to pick up myself. Anyone heard of Canadian solar? Are they reputable?

    I have had the extreme offgrid daydreams. 12 KW solar would cover me 300 days a year. Tis only a pipe dream right now. Holy crap for $$. Pretty sure the Mrs. would downsize my jewels in my sleep.
    I have to start somewhere. Maybe only 1 KW solar and a 400-500 watt wind.
    That would hopefully give me 5-6 KW daily on average according to PV Watts. I only wish my roofline was at 45* instead of the 18.4* it is. Would make solar mounting a whole lot easier and a lot more cost effective.

    Any other reccommendations, experiences would be greatly appreciated.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,004 admin
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    Generally, we recommend that you do extreme conservation first.... I did a bunch of insulation (double pane vinyl windows, wall/ceiling insulation, venting skylights for light and cooling, Energy Star Appliances, laptop/notebook computers, power strips on printers/tv/stereo/don't use dish washer/95% eff. central heater/ugly CFL lamps everywhere/etc.)...

    It is almost always cheaper to conserve a watt than it is to generate a watt.

    If I try hard, I can get down to 6-8 kWhrs per day (all heating/cooking/hot water is natural gas).

    Also, I chose to stay on grid and use Grid Tied solar + Time of Use metering (our TOU plan pays us $0.27 per kWHr summer afternoons and charges us $0.09 off peak)...

    All the above have allowed us to use a fairly small (3.5 kW) solar array and (right now) be way positive in our power generation vs billing.

    Of course, not everyone can use Grid Tied (utility rules, costs of power lines, etc.). But everyone can conserve.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • peterakopeterako Solar Expert Posts: 144 ✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    Topper: wind generator not well designed or checked twice a year. wil brake in pieces.
    In my case after every storm i take the 200 down, my tilt down it setup it takes 5 min.
    I lost my first 100 in a lightning storm i found parts far away :cry:
    i hat i lightning strike on my 200 that welded the furling bearing, with gods help that wash on the same moment that it wash furled, so it dit not came a part.:-)

    but i love wind power.:D

    Greetings from greece
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    BB.
    We have done a lot of cutting down on our power usage. I have reinsulated the exterior and attic. Changed everything over to CFL's, Installed some LED puck lighting(12 volt). in the living room and rec room for mood lighting at night. This is hooked up to a couple car batts charging off a 500mA solar panel with a el cheepo charge controller. Figured I might as well play a little.
    We upgraded our fridge to an E-Star. Our old deepfreeze is still a power hog.
    All of our cooking is electric. Heat and water is Natural gas. That being said, we have cut back to 50% of what our power usage was a year or two ago. I just can't seem to get under 20 KW per day usage. I did actually look back to 1998 when we first purchased our house. We were using 40+KW per day average.
    Maybe when the kids are out of the house we will see the difference.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A
    topper wrote: »
    BB.
    All of our cooking is electric. Heat and water is Natural gas. That being said, we have cut back to 50% of what our power usage was a year or two ago. I just can't seem to get under 20 KW per day usage. I did actually look back to 1998 when we first purchased our house. We were using 40+KW per day average.
    Maybe when the kids are out of the house we will see the difference.

    Ditch that electric stove! I just dumped ours (new house) in favour of gas. There's been barely a noticeable increase in the gas bill, but the electric dropped 25%. That's just two people using it too.

    How's this for a goal: 3 kW hours per day. That's our cabin usage. Icarus does it on about 1/3 that (or is it less?)

    And yes, kids are horrible on power! :grr Switches can also be turned off!
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    Just found some of your links to BIS. Holy cheap to build stuff. Too many ideas. but it is all good. I've been daydreaming on a cheap DIY solar water heater.
    If I do procede, it will be PEX free.
    I can see how changing over to gas cooking would make a huge difference. I should probably look into a gas dryer as well. Normally we have a huge peak to 2-4 KW usage just in supper preparation. Breakfast is toast or cereal. Lunch, well we all work or go to school except on weekends, when we still aren't really home.
    Karate, dance, gymnastics, soccer, hockey etc. etc. etc.
    However I failed to mention, our gas bill has also been cut by 40%.
    New ultra high efficiency furnace and water heater was installed for 1 Year as of March. We are on equalized payments, and according to my calculations we should have about 4-5 months with a bill of $0.00. That means that particular investment will payout in 8-10 years.
  • SlappySlappy Solar Expert Posts: 251 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    Consider a VAWT for what? They do make a neat lawn ornament İ guess.
    Reply With Quote
    every thing has their place, and some are failures, even "Hawt"s end up as yard ornaments, but where vawts will come good at is where hawts spend their time searching for the direction of the wind, but would I buy one, no, I will end up making one, had a wind mill before,(not the generating type) lived in a subdivision, every time it gets up to speed, it will spin-out, and start back over again, but not every one has the luxury of living in wide open spaces, and hill tops?:roll:
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    Please don't make the suggestion that the VAWT is better in following the wind direction - that is totally false.

    İt also happens to be one of the points VAWT supporters try to push.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Free standing towers? newbie Q n' A

    actually a vawt does not have to follow wind direction at all and there is a small transition loss on a hawt to follow the wind. vawts do have their problems though as efficiencies are lower and sometimes raising to the proper height can be problematic depending on the design. that sell point as you put it is true, but the bottom line with the power production is what we concern ourselves with. hawt may be better, but even hawt is having its share of trouble as is evidenced with the small turbine industry.
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