Wind turbines at home and small business size could be major markets in the coming years. The Wall Street Journal reports that some people like celebrities, politicians and well to do early adopters are buying what are today quite expensive wind turbines for personal satisfaction or to send a public message. Jay Leno has one for his garage; President Bush has one at the family Kennebunkport home. Some 3,000 are up and running now according to the American Wind Energy Association. But they are still not priced and installed to make payback a sensible thing yet. That might be changing, trendy might be a trend.

A Qr5 on a Ground Mount

A Qr5 on a Ground Mount

The leading looking model from the UK is Quiet Revolution whose qr5 model for sale now might be a little overkill both in output and costs. Available in the UK for now the unit is quite attractive, sleek and efficient. The egg mixer look is taken to the pleasing look with quiet operation a key. But the high tech construction, high power output and other building costs make it quite expensive. The Quiet Revolution site offers that about 40,000 UK pounds will surely get one installed or nearly $80,000 US.

Qr% Features

Qr5 Features

It better, and output a bunch as amortizing that amount of money would need a near perfect location, ideal incentives, a good price from the grid operator, and a love of aesthetics over income. Quiet Revolution has a model in planning that would be one half the size, which would be close to displacing an average home’s use. But that model is behind satisfying demand for the 5 and a 12 KW model in the works.

A row of Energy Balls at Street Light Level

A row of Energy Balls at Street Light Level

Home Energy of Sweden offers a venturi-forming turbine called the Energy Ball. A sort of six bladed prop where the blade tips are drawn back to a point in the rear so forming a low-pressure zone within, thus a veuturi. The air comes up to the front, is pushed a bit out by the front hub, moves through the blades or vanes into a convergence zone then is drawn out. Its sort of what happens to the water when bumping into the rocks in a river rapids. The thing self starts at low wind speeds, 2 m/s for the 500-watt model, so it runs a lot of the time. Even a 2.5 Kw model needs only 3 meters a second to start. The large model is only 1.98 meters in diameter.

A line drawing of the Energy Ball

A line drawing of the Energy Ball

Now I have to wonder what this one costs. A very smart aerodynamic start. At a low enough cost these could be installed in incredible numbers making the seemingly small output add up to a large grid contributor. This idea could sure use some work though, it takes 17 meters a second for them to get to full rated output, and that isn’t going to cut it in North America.

Skystream Promo Photo

Skystream Promo Photo

The U.S. Skystream comes out at under $20,000 installed, perhaps half that depending on the requirements for 1.8 KW of rated output. If the wind is fast enough and is up enough of the time that would cover a normal house. This turbine gets it act together at higher wind speeds, needs 8mph to start, with about 13 mph starting the fast slope to high power output. The bent blade look is attractive and the unit is lightweight at only 154 lbs. At 12 feet in diameter or 3.72 meters it isn’t huge and the small diameters help keep the tip speeds low so the noise is low too.

There are other listed here. Many sites offer information on how to make a good purchase, check into the state and federal incentives and work out financing or payback. Its getting closer now to the time many rural, exurbia and suburban sites can get into getting off the grid in part or selling power from the breeze overhead. It’s about the money, and two things are helping, competition in turbines driving down prices and increasing electric rates. One day the wind data on a real estate site listings will matter. Actually, it matters today doesn’t it?


8 Comments so far

  1. jessica connorth on September 11, 2009 5:29 PM

    Did you just decide to go green and begin to generate your own power? Or at least try to? You are like many other people, today people want to help out the environment and save as much of its precious resources as possible. Do you already own a Wind Turbine or the materials to make one, but have no idea where to begin? Are you interested in learning the best, fastest and easiest way to maintain the efficiency your Wind Turbine without spending a lot of money on supplies? If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, then You’re about to discover a proven system for optimizing the Best kept secrets to Wind Power Cost.

  2. Renewable energy on April 6, 2011 9:09 AM

    There are hundreds of wind turbines of all shapes and sizes and new ones being created all of the time. There should be a model for everyone. They are bound to reduce in cost over time.

  3. Malcolm Geigel on May 26, 2011 9:34 AM

    Great read. Thanks for the info!

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  6. Sigrid Tirpak on September 11, 2011 9:42 PM

    Awesome post. I so good to see someone taking the time to share this information

  7. Myles Glaue on September 16, 2011 1:27 PM

    I was just having a conversation over this I am glad I came across this it cleared some of the questions I had.

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