Windmill Generated Power?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by moonwolf, Oct 27, 2004.

  1. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone actually have a Wind generated power source on their farmstead?
    Is there any availablility of a reasonable one that would generate enough to make it worthwhile. I'm not interested in a 'do it yourself' type, but more of a proven model that is installed and works. I don't think in my northern climate zone that solar generated power would work for more than a few moths of the year, but wind is available on the hill here and a project I've heard in the city nearby is seriously considering to harness the wind with a series of windmill generators.
    What really is involved with considering a setup for a wind generated addition to partially get off the normal electical grid?
     
  2. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    My former landlord had one. It was a little AirX brand. He used it as backup to his solar system. He just had it hooked in with a solar/wind controller to his battery bank. I think if I were going with wind power I would get something larger. The AirX is VERY LOUD. I was looking at the Whisper brand and they seemed a good way to go. Here is some info on them at backwoods solar:

    http://www.backwoodssolar.com/Catalogpages2/windpower2.htm
     

  3. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Greetings from Montana! We have an AirX and it does not seem loud to me? Years ago I had an AIR403 that was pretty noisy. Sounded kind of like a jet taking off LOL. Our Airx 403 works well and is a supplement to our solar panels as we do not get much sun in the winter but do get a lot of wind. We will be adding another one or two of these as funds become available. Got my airx from solar cowboy on ebay for 530.00 (he is nice guy and reputable!) Also got a tower kit (pricy) 150.00 and the schedule 40 pipe was 88.00. We also went ahead and got a stop switch and fuse for it ant the total was 788.00 for 400 watts at 20-25 mph wind. Our solar panels are kyocera 120's and cost 550.00 each for 120 watts. So i am thinking a combination approach is the way to go in the northlands.
     
  4. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    sisterpine,
    I've been looking at the model you have. List price is 595.
    What voltage did you get?
    How close did you put your tower to the house?
    Do get gusty wind?
    Is your fuse 60 amps?
    Thanks
     
  5. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I just noticed the Air x is list at 895.
     
  6. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    lets see, fuse if 50 amp, we are all 12 volt here, yes wind is gusty most of the time. our generator is about 75 feet from the house and about 30 feet from the battery box. it is on a 27 foot pole. i am told the higher you go the better the wind is. we love the little thing, almost as much as we love our dogs, even talk to it! so now you know how odd i am lol
     
  7. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thank you. My sister and BIL lives near Victor. Is that close to you?
     
  8. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    i believe victor is about 120 miles from my place. i am in the mountains between butte and deer lodge.
     
  9. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    I used to fiddle with Savonious Rotors a bit. If you like homemade stuff, it's the way to go. A person can build their own for nearly nothing and have lights anywhere, anytime for just a few hours of work.
     
  10. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have an old Jacobs 2500watt 32 volt generator, 1940s vintage, that we have had since 1977 or so. It should still be usable when my grandkids are grown, barring physical damage, like a tree falling on it, or a direct hit by a tornado. For the last 5 years we have been using it with a 24 volt system, and it is capable of charging up to 48 volt batteries which is what I would use if I were starting over. Our generator is on a 55 to 60 foot tower, which is kind of short, but it is what we have. I isn't noisy enough to bother us, and as it gets noiser with stronger winds, the actual noise of the wind blowing around the house, etc, is louder than the noise of the generator. We have maybe $3 or $4 thousand in the generator, new blades and new governor (5 years ago) and the used tower. Newly rebuilt generators with new blades, etc., without the tower might be $6 to $8 thousand. There was one on eBay in the last month for under $2000 with a tower, if I recall the price right, and it didn't get a bid.
    There are some good new generators made, (an article from Home Power magazine is available http://www.homepower.com/files/hp90-50.pdf)

    I am finding that we get more power in an average year from our 1800 watts of PV panels than from the wind generator, here in western Wisconsin.

    Jim
     
  11. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    WisJim, Thanks for that website link and very useful information. It gives me some more food for thought and realistic outlook if one was to pursue wind power possibilities. Hopefully, it might be more routine to set up better renewable energy resources without so many govenment hoops and expense of a property ownere wanting to help easing demand on the grid.
     
  12. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    .................Wisjim , I downloaded that article and it was really informative!! After looking at the windgins he listed in his article it would cost about 25k just to buy a 10kw unit then you've got another 15k or so of installation costs . From my point of view.....I , can buy a NEW 10kw , Onan diesel genset which runs at 1800 rpm (low rpm\long engine life) that , if serviced and maintained will probably have a service life of atleast 6 to 10k hours . Onan gensets are made by Cummins and that spells quality to me . The 10kw and the 12kw Onan, diesel genset will run about $7500\8000 or so . I would rather put 8k into a diesel genset than a 40k windgin . And , you can get smaller diesel gesets down to 5.5kw for about $5k . They don't burn very much fuel either . Think I'll subscribe to "Homepower Mag" as they seem to have lots of good info .....fordy... :eek:
     
  13. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    I was just thinking when I bought my AirX the salesman told me that there is a new company that is making wind generators that are as good as the Air but much cheaper and he thought this new company would change the future of wind generated power!
     
  14. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Hey Moon, you might want to think about why it is you need the power and consider other sources, such as natural gas/propane/generator as efficient, less costly to install and perhaps available to you easily in your area.

    Every time I price alternative power I would have to live too many years for it to pay off compared to conventional systems, even with the energy conservation and free gas that we have.

    What is it you need to power?
     
  15. jackie c

    jackie c Well-Known Member

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    Well my reason for wanting my own power is the 'black outs' I experience regularly,grrrr. I'm thinking of wind as well, with a combination of solar panels. There is a small river on my land, and am investigating if I can harness some power from it.
    There is also a neat little power pack from Canadian Tire, it will power small things like tv, radio, lights. They also have a larger one that will power a fridge. Trying to stay away from gas generators, way too noisy.
     
  16. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Having a portable generator is handy during brownouts and the honda 1500 watt I've had to use before in emergencies. It uses a tank of gasoline in a day.
    The point is that I would like renewable energy to get away from using fossil fuels as much as possible (and affordable). Getting another fossil fuel powered generator isn't in my interest. Solar panels expense might warrant some use for summer use, though the property meets the minimal wind requirements so why not investigate that potential? That's more along the line of my thinking on this.
     
  17. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Jackie, it might be cheaper in the long run to consider a propane/gas fridge/freezer for the future so you don't need any alternative power when the electric is out. I can adjust without lights/TV but it can get expensive if you don't have a freezer option to save all the stored food you have.

    I agree, I loathe generators and will never own one.
     
  18. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

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    Go and snoop around this forum http://www.fieldlines.com/section/homebrew for awhile, you'll learn alot and see that it will cost no where near 40k for a wind machine. Make sure you check out the hydro section also. Good Luck
     
  19. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    thanks for that site reference. More of 'home brew' electricity should be a goal in homesteading. Apparently in germany, the matter of hooking to the grid any power that is generated privately is a routine thing by any electrician and something encouraged to do. In Canada it's not well developed, but possibly with doing some hoops and hurdles (and expense).

    BCR,
    Propane is commonly used in cabins around the big lake here with barge delivery, and rural delivery of tanks. I once stayed at cabin where propane was used for lighting. In summer, it got very hot in there. The propane fridges can be hazardous. Propane isn't a cheap alternative for the long term, though it's quiet and functional for remote places. I would more consider solar in a place like that, and wood fuel for winter since a 'natural' outdoor fridge is available without any power.

    I realize that windmill power isn't for everyone. You need a certain amount of wind which there is here. Hopefully, the expense of usable wind generators make if feasable with some positive govenrment incentives to get off the grid which is already under more negative environmental pressure.
     
  20. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I know we're discussing 'lectricity in this thread, but the latest issue of Backwoods Home Magazine has an interesting article on water pumping windmills.


    Pony!