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Old 02-27-2008, 08:37 PM   #1
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Residential Wind Turbines


Does anyone have any experience with wind turbines for a house?

I was poking around on the net looking for a wood furnace and ended up at northerntool.com and started looking at their alternative energy at some of the turbines. One setup will run about $9,000 and generate 400kw per month at avg 25 mph windspeed.

When we build our new house in a few years it will be right in a "wind tunnel" so to speak, the wind is ALWAYS blowing. Just about 15 miles there are several wind parks going up as we speak. There will be another one going up this spring about 5 miles from where we are going to build.

Currently, we use about 900kw a month with electric HW, electric dryer, electric range, etc. We pay an average of $140 a month.

Now, if we were able to cut our electric consumption in half, netting a savings of $70 a month, it would take about 12 years before we started breaking even on it.

Any thoughts?

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...4279_200334279

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Old 02-27-2008, 09:17 PM   #2
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I think the setup looks good, but I'm not really up on wind systems. I saw that it has a built-in inverter, which is nice. I think there may be some question as to whether you should use this to power your high demand appliances. One other thing you should consider is your neighborhood homeowners association (if you have one) They may not like the tower. I'd also see how your insurance company feels about a tower in your yard.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have everyone off the grid, but there is some luggage to go along with the free juice.

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Old 02-27-2008, 09:40 PM   #3
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I think the setup looks good, but I'm not really up on wind systems. I saw that it has a built-in inverter, which is nice. I think there may be some question as to whether you should use this to power your high demand appliances. One other thing you should consider is your neighborhood homeowners association (if you have one) They may not like the tower. I'd also see how your insurance company feels about a tower in your yard.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have everyone off the grid, but there is some luggage to go along with the free juice.

No homeowners association or anything to worry about, this will be out in the country.


When you say high demand appliances, do you mean like HW, dryer, etc? We will be going with gas for dryer and stove and probably furnace too (with a wood add on with domestic hw coil setup).
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:58 PM   #4
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It is windy here as well. Very windy. In fact our area is the wind energy capital. That being said the wind doesn't blow 25 mph very often. I would think you would have to base any calculations off a lesser number.
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by CowboyAndy View Post
No homeowners association or anything to worry about, this will be out in the country.


When you say high demand appliances, do you mean like HW, dryer, etc? We will be going with gas for dryer and stove and probably furnace too (with a wood add on with domestic hw coil setup).
I don't know about you, but in my neck of the woods, gas is more expensive than electricity. But that isn't the point.

When you have alternative sources of power and utility power you have the peculiar problem of phasing. And of course, you'll probably want to store some of the energy, so that you can get a higher peak load on the system than the wind turbine could output instantaneously. In the end, these systems require an enormous amount of attention to be efficient.

You have a turbine. This couples to a controller, that floats a bank of deep cycle marine batteries. The batteries feed an inverter, which in turn have to be phased to the utility current, and of course their own overcurrent protection. There are all manner of accessories: inverters, load managers, float chargers, phasing circuits, utility meters to measure how much you sell back to the utility, etc etc.

It is a full time "hobby", but rewarding. After you get done paying it off...

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Old 02-28-2008, 06:26 AM   #6
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The best choice is to sell the energy back to the utility company when you are producing more than you burn up. This eliminates the need for batteries.

Check with the local utilities about net metering, that's metering both current flow in and out.

The inverter should be UL listed to stop current flow when Utility power goes down for any reason. ( Safety reasons ).

Also, payback is 12 years if your energy costs remain the same. What are the odds of that happening?
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:46 AM   #7
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NAIL, you are right about payback time... im sure it will fluctuate over the next 10+ years.

As for selling energy back to the POCO, I don't think this particular turbine will produce enough for that.
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:06 PM   #8
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This turbine runs with the wind and the wind runs all night, but your usage drops dramatically in the middle of the night.

This will usually allow you to produce more than you consume.

Not all Utility's will offer this program.
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:01 PM   #9
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This is one of those personal choices that are based on your values. The powers that be have no incentive to make renewable energy cheap for you. Some states offer incentives for moving in this forward thinking direction, but many do not. Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not the money is worth satisfaction of knowing you are making a positive statement, lowering your energy footprint (and your utility bill). Personally, I think they wind energy is a nice application where it is feasible. The problem? I can't afford it.

Ridiculous isn't it? I can't afford free electricity. Plus I live in the city of Chicago. I'm trying to imagine my neighbor sitting on his porch with a 20 foot blade whirling right next to his 200 amp service.
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Old 02-29-2008, 03:07 AM   #10
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vertical axis turbines create less noise, are cheaper to buy and easier to install.
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Old 08-14-2008, 03:59 PM   #11
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If you're a real do-it-yourself-er, you can get plans to build your own wind turbine. The materials are under $200:

Plans for Homemade Wind Turbine

I have a friend who paid for professional installation. (They can't tell a screwdriver from a crescent wrench.) The full package cost them tens of thousands of dollars. They are, indeed, getting paid by the power company (this is in Arizona), but it will take them like 20 years to recover the money. Still...beats paying the power company and is better for the environment, so...
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Old 08-14-2008, 06:11 PM   #12
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it would take about 12 years before we started breaking even on it.

Any thoughts?
Seems like I heard a while back that a windmills lifespan is only 7 years or so. It's something definitely worth looking into...
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Old 08-15-2008, 01:53 PM   #13
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Wind turbines are cool, but as already mentioned when I looked at them the components really add to the cost and I think you're talking at least another $8,000+ for the other parts.

I know this isn't really the board, but what are you doing for heating & hot water? I live in the 2nd most expensive place for electricity in the 50 states (Hawaii beats us) and my electric bill is $840/year and $3,075/year for heating & hot water. I purchased a solar hydronic heating system and soon will be getting free hot water & heat. It's best when building a house as solar only works with radiant floor heating, the slab/basement floor should to be 24" thick to act as a buffer & heat storage for those cloudy days (they put the insulation down, then add in the radiant floor tubing, and then fill it with 21" of dirt from the excavation and top it off with concrete). Without that 24" thick slab/basement you have to use an additional hot water tanks for the storage instead which aren't as reliable. I'm not a fan of the evacuated tube solar panels they're full of misleading information and trickery and in almost every aspect inferior to the regular 4x8 copper fin panels. There's 2 types of solar panels, photovoltaic that produces electricity and hydronic that has fluid running through them heated by the sun. Don't bother with the photovoltaic they're only 11% effective converting sunlight into electricity and cost $30,000+ however the hydronic systems are much better being 75-100% efficient converting sunlight into heat and around $9000 for a 5 panel system that will heat ones house and hot water with 200' Pex tubing and last 30-40 years (and probably another couple grand for install & some additional parts) and qualifies for rebates. Right now, Federal is given 30% back if system is installed & running by Dec 31st of this year and you may have state benefits. If you're interested check out http://www.radiantsolar.com/solar_pa...nd_pricing.php

My 3 panel system cost me $5,000 including the special solar hot water tank, and I'm getting $2,000 back in rebates and I'm expected to save $800-$1,100/year and last 30+ years. I don't have radiant floor heating so mainly it's for domestic hot water heating and possibly some heating during the mild days of spring & fall when I want a little boost otherwise my 3 panels are strictly for domestic hot water.


Last edited by Piedmont; 08-15-2008 at 02:05 PM.
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