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Old 06-07-2008, 08:36 AM   #11
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I think the $20k figure is for the nearly 100% Non-DYI install. While many people do in fact participate in the setup of wind generators, the larger cost savings can be found in following a proven design to build the generator yourself - but that's not something the majority of folks want or are prepared to handle.

If one is willing to handle things like pouring footings for the tower and anchors, they can save another significant chunk of change.

Regardless, I would not attempt either without some expert guidance!
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:49 AM   #12
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A lot of the little machines (under $1000) don't hold up and are typically installed on towers that are WAY too short. Just because it is a cheap little generator doesn't mean it will work close to the ground. It still needs to be 30 to 50 feet above anything within 300 to 500 feet of the tower. The lower the tower, the more turbulence and the shorter the life of the generator. The lower the tower, the lower the windspeed and the less power it generates.

As far as I know, NONE of the currently available odd-brand made-in-China machines work as promised. The quality is so variable that a machine that worked a year ago is totally useless in the next batch. Stick with a known brand name from a company with a history (Bergey, ARE, Southwest Windpower, Proven, etc) or build your own, using tried and true plans and concepts such as Otherpower or Hugh Piggot' designs.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember for wind generators is TOWER HEIGHT!!!!!!!

Often, the cost of the tower might be as much or more than any other single part of the system, including the cost of the generator. Therefore, it makes sense to put up the biggest generator you can afford on the tallest tower you can afford, as wind generators aren't modular like PV panels are.

And, yes, you can save money doing installation yourself, but don't fool yourself about the skills and knowledge you might need to do it, especially if you need to deal with zoning or building codes or nearby neighbors who question the safety of the system.

Attend one of the many energy fairs around the country and take some workshops on wind energy and look at the machines that vendors have for sale.
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Old 06-09-2008, 07:57 AM   #13
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I've got no hope of getting a turbine high enough on my not-so-sub-urban lot, but I'm thinking of vertical axis type turbines... and I'm committing the heresy of thinking of putting them close to the house.... here's my reasoning. To a certain extent the side walls of the house act as a "collector" for winds, so vertical axis turbines at the two corners most exposed to prevailing winds, may actually make more power than if they were sitting at a similar height in the clearest part of my yard.
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:58 PM   #14
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You're probably right. We construction dogs tend to go to the corners of a house on a hot day to stand around and talk...due to the breeze you find there. Especially between two buildings.
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:28 PM   #15
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I've got no hope of getting a turbine high enough on my not-so-sub-urban lot, but I'm thinking of vertical axis type turbines... and I'm committing the heresy of thinking of putting them close to the house.... here's my reasoning. To a certain extent the side walls of the house act as a "collector" for winds, so vertical axis turbines at the two corners most exposed to prevailing winds, may actually make more power than if they were sitting at a similar height in the clearest part of my yard.

There is a good reason that no one with a good reputation is selling wind turbines will sell vertical axis wurly gigs and it's not because they don't know about them or haven't talked to the people who make them/sell them, it is often because they have talked to the people who try to sell them and have checked them out and then they go back to selling products that will work.

Just for fun we put our wind speed indicator in the open area next to the house where it gets a nice view of the west were most of our wind comes from and Friday it was windy to the point that the road was littered with twigs, shingles were blowing off buildings and you could feel a nice strong breeze next to the house, but that wind speed indicator served as a perfect example of why buildings screw with the wind, it would spin extremely eradicatly, read 10-15 mph then suddenly stop dead waver a bit maybe turn backwards a few turns then start spinning again, all while the wind generator that is up higher was generating at it's peek without any issue at all.
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Old 06-10-2008, 02:43 AM   #16
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There is a house in Middletown RI that has a vertical axis generator mounted on the roof of their house and I am talking a few feet over the peaks.

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Old 06-10-2008, 05:23 AM   #17
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There is a house in Middletown RI that has a vertical axis generator mounted on the roof of their house and I am talking a few feet over the peaks.
Yes, but I'd bet it doesn't put out enough usable power to justify the expense or trouble of putting it up. Vertical axis generators need to be up in the wind, also. I have seen absolutely NO believable evidence that this kind of machine will work in these conditions. There are NO reputable companies selling them.
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:40 AM   #18
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one place to check is www.otherpower.com, they are some guys that live west of fort collins CO. they are now offering complete wind gens. for about 3k. not including tower, inverter and such. also a lot of good info on the site.
i'm going to be building my own soon (i hope) i hope this helps LAZ
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Old 07-26-2008, 07:54 PM   #19
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Wind Generator

I was also going to mention otherpower.com. It is a fantastic site with a lot of very knowledgable members. While a horizontal-axis wind turbine will usually outperform a vertical-axis wind turbine there are some situations where a HAWT is not a good choice. If you live in the city is the one that comes to my mind. A rule of thumb for how high to build a HAWT is 30' above the tallest obstruction in a 300' radius. A VAWT can deal with the more turbulant air closer to the ground. Check out www.windstuffnow.com Ed Lenz has built an incredible VAWT that pumps out a pretty decent amount of power.

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Old 07-26-2008, 08:59 PM   #20
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Well said. What it boils down to is making the best use of the resource you have available, and HAWT is simply not an option for many.
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