Do this first before getting a wind turbine.

jasonhc73

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Get a weather station.

It's not the peak wind, it's the AVERAGE wind that you have to know before a turbine is a good option for your location.

I'm in Kansas, we have about the most abundant amount of wind on the planet.
However, when measured at my particular location, my wind average is about half of what is needed to get any usable energy.

Play with the graphs and go to the wind chart, put it in annual.
My average wind is about 3.1 mph. You need at least 5.1 to get any usable energy.


I use an Ambient Weather 2902.
 

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AKvalleyguy

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I took a different approach about 17 years ago. I stood outside and felt the breeze. No wind charting needed, there was wind for sure. Our problem became too much wind. Good thing the SWWP Whisper had a 5 year warranty. We replaced it 4 times during the 5 years.

You are right. Do a site survey.
 

AKvalleyguy

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The strong westerly winds through the Columbia River gorge would shred most wind turbines. No need to do a site survey there.
I told the SWWP sales people we had regular winter gusts to around 50-70 mph. They still recommended the Whisper 200. They thought I was kidding.

During the first wind event, one of the underground anchor blocks broke and the turbine started coming down. The ground was frozen so I pulled a flat bed trailer to the anchor line and cobbled together a bunch of cables and strapped it to the trailer. It rode the whole winter out that way. It was a 100 ft Rohn G45 tower so there was a lot of weight involved, not sure how it stayed upright. I could write a book on wind power to help people before they make the same mistakes we did. Oh, wait, I already did that LOL.

Our neighbor asked what I would put up if we did another one. Kestrel. He installed an E230 and it's still working after approximately 12 years.
 

OzSolar

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Play with the graphs and go to the wind chart, put it in annual.
My average wind is about 3.1 mph. You need at least 5.1 to get any usable energy.
Good to see that you took the time to study your site, chose to pass on wind and then take the time to advise others.

My 2 cents is that you really need 12 to 15 mph for any usable energy.

How high is your anemometer by the way?

Rather than bore everyone again with my background in small wind I'll offer that I have an advanced and very expensive degree in "the perils of small wind".

What is often repeated is that you really need to measure the average wind speed at the proposed hub height. Hub height should be at least 50' above anything within a few hundred yards which quickly eliminates most inland sites outside of Kansas and other plains states. PS. I've installed but thankfully no longer work on any wind turbines in KS.

I couldn't agree more that it's about energy and not power. Below is the AEO (annual energy output) estimate from Bergey for their 10kW Excel that you will have at least $50,000 in by the time you get it installed. $75,000 would be a more likely number.

While it is nice that Bergey offers an AEO you would be wise to assume that it's over stated by at least a factor of 2 and more likely 4x's. That's not just an opinion, that's from personal experience after having installed around 10 of them in areas that ranged from 10mph to 16mph average wind speed. All were on 100' to 120' towers and in open areas (aka: good sites). It was rare for even the best sites to average more than 300 KWH's per month and they never exceeded 1000 kWh's on their best months. Most of them rarely made it past 100kWh's per month. Data logging and wind speed maps put those sites at 10.8 mph or higher. I would love to be proven wrong. To support that, I'll offer $50 per site to anyone that can supply me a link to a unique real-time datalogging site on a Bergey 10 kW wind turbine.

The reason I mention Bergey is because they are often held up as the "gold standard" in small wind. IE: So if anyone can make a great wind turbine it's them, right? From my experience that's completely inaccurate and they are masters of redirecting you to look elsewhere when you start asking why their really expensive machine isn't doing anything near what they claim it will.

Let's pick the middle number of 16,530 kWh's at a 12 mph site. Keep in mind that overstated by at least 2x's. If you spent that same $50k on solar you'd get at least 31,000 kWh's per year. 10 years from now that Bergey turbine will be "dust in the wind" (Bergey themselves will be dust in the wind in just a few years) but the solar will still be cranking out at least 29,000 kWh's/year most likely zero maintenance.



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AKvalleyguy

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Rather than bore everyone again with my background in small wind I'll offer that I have an advanced and very expensive degree in "the perils of small wind".
I can only imagine, I'll have to look up your past post regarding your "degree" :ROFLMAO:. My education on small wind cost under $10k but I just realized I have a gold mine of copper in a conduit from the now defunct turbine site to the garage. I'm thinking about using the site for more solar since it's already wired.

Wow. That would be a record for a small wind turbine
He had a Bergy 1500 that was maybe 15 years old. As we examined the data on easily available turbines to us peoples in AK, we felt the Kestrel would be the most reliable for the money. (Too bad we didn't take our own advice.) Props pitched instead of furling, which was controversial at the time. Otherwise it looked solid. The only problem he experienced was a spring in the hub assembly. The company had upgraded the design so they replaced it and it has been running continuous ever since. It's very quiet. Too bad small wind never worked as advertised.
 

OzSolar

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He had a Bergy 1500 that was maybe 15 years old. As we examined the data on easily available turbines to us peoples in AK, we felt the Kestrel would be the most reliable for the money. (Too bad we didn't take our own advice.) Props pitched instead of furling, which was controversial at the time. Otherwise it looked solid. The only problem he experienced was a spring in the hub assembly. The company had upgraded the design so they replaced it and it has been running continuous ever since. It's very quiet. Too bad small wind never worked as advertised.
Wow I had completely forgot about the Bergey 1500. My ~memory~ is that it went out of production somewhere around 2002 which was a little bit before my time of being active in small wind. From what little I heard they were just tanks. Hard to beat the passive furling and it was 100 lbs or heavier. Don't quote me on this but I think it cost something around $4500. Seems like there might have even been an Bergey 800 before that???
Bergey was replacing it with the Chinese made XL1 which turned out to be the train wreck we come to expect from small wind. We even day dreamed for a little bit about trying to make a copy of the 1500 and go into a very low volume production to fill gap it left for oil rigs and mountain top telecom site but the numbers just weren't there. Don't get me wrong as I've found other ways to lose money. :rolleyes:
Too bad small wind never worked as advertised.
I strongly suspect that even the unicorns that manage to keep running for 5 or even 15 years still never meet their energy production numbers.
 

AKvalleyguy

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Wow I had completely forgot about the Bergey 1500. My ~memory~ is that it went out of production somewhere around 2002 which was a little bit before my time of being active in small wind. From what little I heard they were just tanks. Hard to beat the passive furling and it was 100 lbs or heavier. Don't quote me on this but I think it cost something around $4500. Seems like there might have even been an Bergey 800 before that???
Bergey was replacing it with the Chinese made XL1 which turned out to be the train wreck we come to expect from small wind. We even day dreamed for a little bit about trying to make a copy of the 1500 and go into a very low volume production to fill gap it left for oil rigs and mountain top telecom site but the numbers just weren't there. Don't get me wrong as I've found other ways to lose money. :rolleyes:
I wanted to test one of the Bergey XL.1's. They were only 24 volt and 2 wire DC so I had to pass. When the 48v version became available I was sort of tired of the wind turbine cycle of install, break, repair and install. That 1500 the guy had, it seemed really big. We could hear it during furling, sounded like a helicopter. His place is a weekend cabin so I don't think he would have any idea of the annual output of the Kestrel.

Yeah, I don't know anything about the 1500. When the neighbor had it removed, he said it was worthless due to the needed repairs. I'm so behind on the small wind issue, several years ago I had a renewed curiosity about small wind. It was hilarious, I didn't realize everyone except Bergey had essentially turned out the lights and gone home. I always liked the Sonkyo turbines. Don't remember the year but I contacted a place in Texas that was on their reseller list. The guy laughed when I called. He said he had a warehouse full of them and spare parts but there was no warranty at all, they were out of business. Man, just responding to this thread about wind turbines is making me feel like a dinosaur.
 

OzSolar

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Man, just responding to this thread about wind turbines is making me feel like a dinosaur.
Lol. I had the same thought when I was trying to recall the dates. Dang.... I don't feel that old.

To be perfectly honest I'm amazed that Bergey is still around. Best I can tell they just chew through dealers. Most install only one or two turbines then quickly realize what a nightmare they've gotten themselves into. The handful of other ethical ex dealers I've bumped into all have similar stories to mine, as soon as we realized how badly Bergey had lied to us about the overstated production we punched out.

My best guess is that they continue to barely exist thanks to the occasional demonstration project at a "green" building funded by a philanthropy or government agency managed by people who's job description is to spend a lot money. Note that I didn't say spend that money wisely and nothing says "look how green we are" more then a 100' tall wind turbine that can be seen from a 1/2 mile away. Whether or not it works doesn't matter to the decision makers. Solar just hides up on your roof quietly doing its job decades after decade....sigh...

Then there's the occasional multimillion dollar grant from the likes of DOE, etc "to develop a cost effective wind small turbine".

No homeowner who gets sun year around who takes just a few seconds to compare the cost effectiveness of small wind to solar will ever chose wind. The folks in Alaska are a different story.

Did you ever hear of the Proven's? I saw a few of them and had high hopes but within a few years it was pretty obvious they, just like Bergey, were grossly exaggerating their production claims. https://scoraigwind.co.uk/2011/09/proven-wind-turbines-go-bust/ I actually got to check in on a few in the Casper Wyoming area was stunned by their low production numbers.

Whenever someone starts talking about how great small wind is I quickly remember what a wise peer says
"The only wind turbines that work are the ones that aren't monitored". Monitoring referring to actually energy datalogging.
 
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AKvalleyguy

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No homeowner who gets sun year around who takes just a few seconds to compare the cost effectiveness of small wind to solar will ever chose wind. The folks in Alaska are a different story.
Bergey never had a big presence in AK, the place that sold them only had the 24v XL.1 but they pushed the SWWP Whisper. That's how I ended up with the Whisper 200. That experience also prompted us to put up a website on renewable energy, mainly about wind turbines. We felt no one in the industry as far as we could tell, actually knew very much other than the misrepresentation in production which you highlight. Ran a forum for a while but never got any traction. The Arizona Wind Sun forum was the most active at the time and we couldn't compete. I really wanted an XL.1, LOL, not sure why other than I thought Bergey might have it together better than the rest. You have provided comfort in realizing it would have been more money tossed up into the air with little return.:LOL:

We are about 61.6 N latitude and the solar is weak during Nov to the end of Jan. October and Feb are hit or miss depending on cloud cover. During those months we use a generator and it's not very expensive, well, wasn't expensive until the last few months of soaring fuel prices. The Whisper, while it was working, did keep the batteries charged almost all winter. The fuel saving was probably a third of the turbine/tower cost, I used to have records somewhere about that. At that rate it would have taken 15 years of flawless operation to break even, in our location. Since we are not grid tied, at the end of the day I just wanted to know how much fuel it saved. Feed back to a grid, yeah, might have made a couple of dollars a year.

Did you ever hear of the Proven's? I saw a few of them and had high hopes but within a few years it was pretty obvious they, just like Bergey, were grossly exaggerating their production claims. https://scoraigwind.co.uk/2011/09/proven-wind-turbines-go-bust/ I actually got to check in on a few in the Casper Wyoming area was stunned by their production numbers.
The Proven was one of the favorites, I thought the downwind rotor was clever. I've only seen one in real life, downtown Wasilla AK. It never turns very much, they put it in a low spot in a business area. That goes along with the observation of the OP in this thread, about doing a site analysis first. Wonder who told that company putting a turbine in a hole was a wise thing to do. Reading the Hugh Piggott blog post was like a ghost from the past. He, along with the guys from Otherpower, Paul Gipe and a couple of others were our hero's in the wind arena.

You sum up the wind industry well as an idea kept alive with grants. Reminds me of seeing a shop going out of business, there's still window dressing but an empty store.
 
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