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Old 09-08-13, 08:03 PM   #1
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Default Are the sub $300, 400w wind generator from china/ebay worth it?

Are the sub $300, 400w wind generator from china/ebay worth it?

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Old 09-08-13, 08:33 PM   #2
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I personally don't think so. Wind power isn't something that I consider necessarily easy and for most people and most places it doesn't make sense. I'd say if you don't already have a whole bunch of wind farms in your immediate area, you probably don't have a good enough wind resource. You also need to factor in the need for a 100+ foot pole for best wind access, land access(most locales require you to have a diameter of ground clearance exceeding the pole height), the permitting, neighbor issues, dealing with high maintenance of a consumer wind product, safety issues, and other factors.

I think going with a cheap low powered unit is the wrong way to go when it comes to all of the effort involved. In the mean time, I'd do what a pro does and install a manometer on top of a pole at least 50 feet tall to measure and record your wind resource to get a good idea of whether or not you have the wind it takes for wind power generation at your site to be worth it. Solar is a much easier because you make sure you don't have shade and pretty much anywhere works if you have that and a place to mount the PV and good grid-tie legislation or support from your local power company.
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Old 09-08-13, 08:53 PM   #3
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That is a pretty small generator. Height and swept blade area means more energy output, but that is barely 2 feet in diameter?

Does it have an inverter onboard? Or is it DC output?
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Old 09-10-13, 01:49 PM   #4
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A wind turbine, to produce useful amounts of power, ought to be 30 feet or more above anything within 500 feet, and typically should be on a tower at least 100 feet tall, to avoid turbulence and to get up where the wind is stronger. The expense of putting a small turbine on an adequate tower can exceed the cost of the turbine itself. And, the experience with these Chinese turbines, large or small, indicates that they are mostly decorative toys.

There are excellent maps available which give reasonably accurate wind speed information based on years of collected data from many sources, including cell towers, airports, and other locations with anemometers, and these maps can help you figure out if it is even worth considering a wind turbine. One such map (not the best, but usable) is at Wind Powering America: Residential-Scale 30-Meter Wind Maps
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Old 09-10-13, 04:27 PM   #5
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Solar panels (PV) aren't as sexy, but IMHO, they are a better investment.

There is a guy on YouTube who has done some investigation of wind power
and posts some pretty informative videos.
Fearlessthinker - YouTube
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Old 09-11-13, 08:24 AM   #6
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Absolutely! All you need is a spot with no (or minimal) shade, which is easy to determine, to get good results from PVs--and then enjoy the energy for decades with no or minimal maintenance. Wind makes sense if you have good wind, a quality turbine, and a TALL tower, and the cost per kilowatt hour of energy produced goes down as the size of the turbine goes up.

With the falling prices of PVs, solar electricity is almost a no-brainer.
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Old 09-12-13, 10:47 AM   #7
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But keep in mind that in general, when the sun isn't shining, the wind is likely to blow, so the two technologies are complementary, not in competition.

I'm not an HVAC technician. In fact, I'm barely even a hacker...
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Old 09-13-13, 07:55 AM   #8
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We have nearly no wind resource where I live in north Alabama, but I've often considered a wind turbine. During the late fall through early spring months when PV production is at its lowest levels, we do have a number of days with pretty strong {for our area} winds.

It's never been about the cost of the turbine, and I don't need to get zoning approval or permission or even a permit to put one up. But the cost of a 100' {minimum} tower that can be lowered for turbine maintenance is just too much for me. My thoughts go to a methane digester after I finish daydreaming about the wind turbine...........
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Old 09-14-13, 03:50 PM   #9
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If you want to do wind, seeing that this is a forum filled with people who do things themselves, I thing you should look Hugh Piggot (name might be misspelled) and the brake drum wind turbine. It is a good project.
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Old 10-15-13, 03:04 PM   #10
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Totally agree with Mikesolar. I have Hugh's 200 edition brakedrum windmill book. Its perfect for DIY. And he has an updated version available online that uses a different, even easier to build, generator design.

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