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Wind turbine buyer's guide

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Here's a nice summary of a wind turbine buyer's guide (the guide is from Home Power and the summary is from Philip Proefrock):

Home Power magazine has collected information about a wide range of different wind turbines that are available for home or small business use. The 2007 Wind Turbine Buyer’s Guide (pdf) is a small but information-packed article with a wealth of information about available turbines for small wind systems.


The review has information on 19 different small wind turbines ranging from 7 feet to 56 feet in diameter, including systems for battery charging, as well as batteryless grid-tie systems. The list concentrates on some of the more widely available turbines, though many other manufacturers are selling turbines these days. Models from Abundant Renewable Energy, Bergey Windpower, Eoltec Wind Turbines, Kestrel Wind Turbines, Proven Energy, Southwest Windpower, Vestas, and Wind Turbine Industries are included on the list.


(Want to read the rest?  Head on over to Green Building Elements.)

Edited by deej - Wed, 02 Apr 2008 15:28:51 GMT
post #2 of 19

I saw this issue of Home Power's feature on Wind Turbines at Barnes & Nobles, Home Power does a good job reviewing these products. The only complaint I have is that they didnt review the Air Breeze small wind turbine....which is a good economical product many consumers start off with

post #3 of 19

I wonder why there are no VAWT designs in their guide?


Like ones from PacWind?

post #4 of 19

Windmax has an Ad in Power Home. That is where I first heard about there very efficient wind turbines. 

post #5 of 19
Originally Posted by mattress:

I wonder why there are no VAWT designs in their guide?


Like ones from PacWind?

VAWTs do not work, or those that do cannot be had. Home Power only publishes stuff about things that work.

post #6 of 19

I had to google it, so I'll assume I'm not the only one:


VAWT = Vertical Axis Wind Turbine


SolarBozo - can you tell us more about your take that VAWTs don't work? This is by no means my area of expertise, but I was impressed with some of the figures I got from speaking with the founder of the company behind the Mariah Wind Spire



post #7 of 19

The wind turbine used for the domestic wind power production is smaller than the commercial ones but they are sufficiently effective. Moreover this is going to cut down the electricity bills significantly.

Here is a link that might be

post #8 of 19

There are a great deal of options availablewhen it comes to home power generation, all over the net you will find different product offeriengs... I live in Southern Africa, where power generation often runs short, especially in the more under-developed countries down here.

A number of people and especially farmers and rural goups, have begun setting up their own solar/wind turbine projects.. and it is starting to work well in areas.

One thing I need ti say though, there is also a lot of junk and rip-offs available on the market, but  a few DIY products do make the mark. The guys as at  make a quick, yet clear and concise review of a few of these products, which I found usefull, especially with so many different products out there..

post #9 of 19

Lately a load of building mounted VAWT generators have been popping up all over the SE of England.  It started about a year ago when I noticed four go up on a factory roof near a motorway.  These are a sort of cylindrical turbine on a 5m pole.  The cylinder is about 1.5m in diameter and has spindley looking vanes in a sort of helix pattern.


Then just about a month ago a tall appartment block (maybe 10 storey) in my parents suburb of London sprouted the same turbines - about eight of them.  Curiously, two of them never spin... Either locked for some reason or already broken.


It's very ugly and distracting for drivers approaching the block on a long road that leads up to it (especially as they've been painted brilliant white to stand out a mile on purpose).  Your eye is automatically drawn to fast moving things in your peripheral vision when driving so these turbines are a menace, especially as they spin very fast compared to a big proper 1MW tri-blade turbine. I'm not a fan of urban wind turbines at all.  It will look dreadful if every tall building has these things bolted on them (and some not so tall, as one car dealership decided to install a bladed type turbine in their car park as a PR sop to appear "green").


In my town people seem to be going more for solar panels and I've seen a big installation go up on a local block of appartements.  These aren't distracting to drivers as they don't move and are painted black.


The wind proponents have been trying to steam-roller the public complaints about these issues by labelling them with the insulting term NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard).  It's one thing to oppose the installation of a wind farm in a remote rural place but I'd be opposing it if every house and garden were to start sprouting these 5-10m poles with these horrible whirly-gig things on the top of them.


Solar is much more appropriate in an urban setting as the devices can be inconspicuously incorporated into normal building structures.


If we're not careful, there will be an anti-green backlash caused by these inconsiderate turbine installations.

post #10 of 19

I was not aware that people have started being sticklers about the appearance of wind generators.


I don't particuarly agree with your opinion AccordGuy and here is why:


1. Wind power is much more affordable than solar power. Developing countries looking for a clean alternative don't have the luxury of being able to choose this alternative based upon appearance.


2. Wind generators take up less "floorspace." Some folks, such as myself, don't have the real estate to install huge solar panels. Installing a wind generator is a better alternative.


3. Appearance is not a replacement for functionality. If you ask me if I would rather have a Prius or a Corvette, I would rather have a Prius. Sure the Corvette looks better, but the Prius is more economically viable and responsible.  


And lastly, I would rather have a neghborhood filled with wind generators than a neghborhood filled with smog.  

post #11 of 19

I have to check in on some of the sites mentioned here but I have been through the Mariah Wind Spire in some detail and came to the conclusion it is all smoke and incentive. The rated wind speed is 25 mph which is found almost nowhere.


If you follow the curve to 5 m/s (12 mph approximately) you get amybe 100 watts.


Very expensive snake oil I believe.

post #12 of 19

Looking at the Pacwind SeaHawk site - they have included the facts about output and wind speed correctly - you just have to dig them out.


To achieve rated capacity of 1000 watts their unit requires average wind speeds of 19.3 m/s or 43 mph - this just left out 99.5% of the US. At 12 mph windspeeds, which some places reach but certainly not all, the output is very little if anything at all - maybe 125 watts.


At least these guys put the information on their site even if they are not upfront about it.

post #13 of 19

The Wind Turbine Buyers Guide Stins is refering to is from - they also have a document called Apples & Oranges which gives first class information about wind turbines.


I just came across a document on another site

which is a horror story from the UK. 


If anyone is thinking about a wind turbine it seems prudent to bite the bullet and go for a Jacobs or similar which have long standing reputations and real references. The Buyers Guide mentioned above lists the old companies.


Many of the new companies are nothing more than someone wanting to go into business who have seen a picture of a wind turbine sometime in the past.  

post #14 of 19

A wind turbine called the Wind Cube was reported on another site. The following is one of the replies:



Author: Chris L.


You've got to watch out for snake oil vendors in the wind energy business. A good equation to remember 

is that the power contained in the wind is equal to:


P = 1/2pAV3


Where p is air density (typically around 1.22kg/m3 at see level), A is swept area (m2) and V is the air 

velocity in m/s. This is the power contained in the wind itself. The turbine will be able to convert <60% 

of that to electricity (according to Betz' limit).


According to the manufacturer, this unit produces 60 kW at 12m/s with a swept area of 16.4m2. If you run those 

numbers, the power in the wind itself is only 17.3 kW. Now I understand that the shroud utilizes the Bernouli 

principle to increase air velocity, but I find it extremely hard to believe that it is capable of increasing it 

by 600%, which it would need to do to produce rated output.


Bottom line, this thing doesn't obey the laws of physics. I wouldn't purchase anything from these guys until they 

release some realistic performance data.

post #15 of 19

I would literally love to have one in my backyard.

Just run a big old extension cord to my house !

post #16 of 19

One thing I keep reading about is the concern for birds & other wildlife being killed by the blades of a turbine. Whenever I drive by a wind farm in the nearby vicinity I see the large blades slowly rotating.


Seems it would take a rather dumb bird to get smacked by one of them.


At higher speeds it may be a concern but all the commercial large new turbines that I know of rotate rather slowly. 

post #17 of 19
 Here is the URL for Paul Gipe's site. He is one of the well known experts in the wind turbine industry. He gives cautions on about many turbines and lots of good information.
post #18 of 19
A new study out on the dangers of wind turbines to wildlife. This looks at the dangers imposed by all types of power generation - not just wind. As usual coal comes out the worst. I don't expect a wind power blog to say something bad about themselves but I expect the study is accurate in it's report.



Myth: Wind Farms Pose High Risk to Birds and Other Wildlife

Amongst the small contingent of wind energy detractors, a recurring concern has been the risk imposed by turbines on various forms of wildlife, most specifically, avian wildlife. Some opposed to wind development have argued that spinning rotors of a wind turbine atop its tower pose a severe threat to wildlife. However, thanks in part to a new study addressing the subject, it appears that these arguments have been misguided at best and miss the bigger picture of the risks every human structure imposes on local wildlife populations. Conducted by the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) 

The link is to the 'rest of the story'.
post #19 of 19
Not really a great idea, these small wind turbines. See mt post at
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