2014 Wind Turbine Buyer's Guide: Page 3 of 6

Beginner

Inside this Article

Wind Turbine Buyer’s Guide
Wind Turbine Buyer’s Guide
Bergey Excel 6
Bergey Excel 6
Bergey Excel 1
Bergey Excel 1
Bergey Excel 10
Bergey Excel 10
Endurance E-3120
Endurance E-3120
Eocycle
Eocycle
Evance R9000
Evance R9000
Gaia-Wind
Gaia-Wind
Kestrel e300i
Kestrel e300i
Kestrel e400nb
Kestrel e400nb
Kingspan KW6
Kingspan KW6
Kingspan KW3
Kingspan KW3
Northern Power Systems 100-24
Northern Power Systems 100-24
Sonkyo Windspot 3.5
Sonkyo Windspot 3.5
Ventera VT10
Ventera VT10
Wind Turbine Buyer’s Guide
Bergey Excel 6
Bergey Excel 1
Bergey Excel 10
Endurance E-3120
Eocycle
Evance R9000
Gaia-Wind
Kestrel e300i
Kestrel e400nb
Kingspan KW6
Kingspan KW3
Northern Power Systems 100-24
Sonkyo Windspot 3.5
Ventera VT10

Gaia-Wind - gaia-wind.com

Gaia-Wind is a manufacturer of small wind turbines for moderate wind speed sites. Headquartered in Glasgow, Scotland, the company has grown from its original roots in Denmark to have representation throughout the U.K. and Europe, as well as Japan, Australia, Israel, the United States, and the South Pacific.

The privately held company produced its first wind turbine in 1993, and has more than 1,000 wind turbines installed. In Denmark, 77 Gaia-Wind turbines have been running for more than 10 years. As of 2014, the first turbine manufactured has been operational for 20 years.

Gaia-Wind operations manager Craig Jones says, “Our wind turbine is designed to generate high levels of energy from medium- and low- wind-speed sites, and is ideally suited to farms, rural homes, businesses, and organizations with significant land banks. The Gaia-Wind 133 turbine is the first U.K. product of this capacity to achieve the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation, an internationally recognized quality assurance standard.”

Kestrel Renewable Energy - kestrelwind.co.za

For its first seven years, Kestrel Renewable Energy (KRE) was operated from a small factory in Johannesburg, South Africa. All design and development was done by the original owner, James Carpy. In 2006, Eveready SA acquired the company. All Kestrels are completely manufactured in South Africa.

All of the models in Kestrel’s line have been produced since 2004 and were upgraded between 2007 and 2012 with investment from Eveready. In the last 15 years, more than 5,000 Kestrels have been put in service around the world. According to Carpy, the Kestrel line includes “patented, highly reliable blade pitch control; a sealed generator with proper thermal management, heavy-duty construction, robustness; and general high reliability.”

Kingspan Wind - kingspanwind.com

Kingspan Wind acquired some of the assets from former wind turbine manufacturer Proven Energy of Scotland, and has combined patented, high-performance technology with long-standing expertise in the energy sector. The company is part of Kingspan Environmental, specializing in renewable energy generation, water management, and pollution prevention.

Original Proven (now KW3 and KW6) wind turbines have been in service for more than 20 years. More than 4,500 turbines have been installed in more than 60 countries, and on each continent. Kingspan marketing specialist Beata Paciejuk reports that, “Kingspan Wind turbines offer maximum energy capture and provide consistent optimum performance even in the fiercest of storms, due to their patented blade hinge design.”

Northern Power Systems - northernpower.com

Northern Power Systems (NPS) started in 1974 as North Wind Power Co. In 1978, North Wind developed its HR2 2.2 kW wind turbine. This small wind turbine soon gained international market acceptance as one of the most rugged, high-reliability wind turbines available. More than 600 HR2 (and its successor, HR3) wind turbines were sold over approximately 20 years of production.

In 2008, the Vermont-based, privately held company was acquired by its current owners, who have invested more than $100 million into NPS’s products and technology. Since then, NPS has sold more than 400 of its 60 and 100 kW grid-tied wind turbines.

Jesse Wijnberg, NPS global marketing manager, says, “Originally developed in partnership with NASA and designed for remote and isolated sites, NPS turbines have an innovative, gearless direct-drive design; permanent-magnet generator; best-in-class reliability; and pleasing aesthetics.”

Comments (5)

Robert Dee_2's picture

Ian,
Your leading statement for this article is right on.

I love these HP cover shots showing people strapped to an 80 foot tower while a crane, probably another twenty feet over their heads, drops several hundred pounds of metal on them. Why anyone thinks this is glamorous is completely beyond me. It's dangerous, expensive, takes a lot of real estate and is so much more involved than PV today that I think for all but the very few with unlimited time and expenses wind is a no. This picture, if anything, should tell people capable of looking past the glamour to pass wind by.

Yes, I know the arguments about how wind compliments PV but at what cost? At an extreme wind velocity of 11m/s the small Kestrel puts out 1Kw according to your comparison sheet. Today that's three PV modules at a fraction of the cost with little or no maintenance and 30 plus years of output with a 25 year warranty not the 5 year one Kestrel offers.

And why are manufacturers publishing 11 m/s output, who has that kind of wind? It's unrealistic and a sad commentary on an industry that can't compete in the alternate energy business outside of large scale commercial turbines.
How is anyone realistically justifying wind? At $5,544.00 for the kestrel, without the tower and yearly maintenance, it's simply not feasible today.

Sorry, if anything this issue only confirms my belief that wind has very little place in small scale energy production.

Ian Woofenden's picture

Hi Robert,

Small wind is not for the faint of heart. I talk most of my clients out of it, especially as PV cost is decreasing. You have to either have a _great_ wind resource, an off-grid system with a dark and windy season, or a strong desire to just do it for it to make sense. It is a total blast (if you like that sort of thing) to install and keep a system running, but it's not cheap, easy, or reliable.

One of the presenters at the upcoming Small Wind Conference is doing a presentation titled "Go Big or Go Home", and I think there's a lot of sense to that. The economics and the quality of the equipment both improve as you get into small commercial machines. With the little machines, the cost of the tower to actually get it up into a good resource becomes a pretty big hurdle.

"Wind complements PV" is primarily a reasonable approach off-grid. On-grid, it's generally wiser to look at your resources and sink your money into generating with the most reliable and abundant, be that sun, wind, or falling water. With net metering, there's little need to have your generating source producing evenly all year. You can actually make all of your energy in your sunny season, and lean on your credit with the utility in other seasons.

As far as the 11 m/s, I agree that it's too high for a rating, but it's important to be clear that this is an instantaneous wind speed, NOT an average. And really, _any_ instantaneous rating is pretty useless -- for comparison with PV, comparison with other machines, and for energy predictions. What's really needed is an energy rating at various average wind speeds, as shown in the article table. Then you can (with luck...) find the average wind speed at tower-top height on your site and get a prediction of the kilowatt-hours a given machine may provide.

You are wise to point out that the turbine cost is just one piece of the _system_ cost. Typically, it's a modest fraction, with tower and balance of systems (BOS) each costing more than the turbine in most cases. Potential wind energy users need good pricing on installed cost of all components together before deciding to go for it. And some will go for it regardless of the economics, just as we decide to buy a new Prius, or a Caribbean cruise, a few years in college, or a week on the Riviera. In all cases, it's wise to know the costs and the benefits.

Ian Woofenden, Home Power senior editor

Robert Dee_2's picture

Ian,
Well put, you know wind better than most of us.
I also know the 'lure' of wind, the darn thing looks so easy just spinning around up there! And there certainly is a joy factor. I'm not saying I won't invest in it, I probably will but I already have over 10kw of PV in and a stream for microhydro. The thing that scares me is that we have this monster called the API (American Petroleum Institute) doing everything they can to knock down alternate energy, which actually beats the pants off of every other energy source out there in the long run, and I want things on the table to keep the disappointment factor as low as possible. We need to be the most honest guys out there or we'll get hammered.
I just heard the other day that Germany made 74% of its power from alternate energy (Thank you Hermann Scheer... RIP) and India is pushing solar now. Great! Technology will win over and we have that on our side.
Keep up the good work!
Robert

David Bainbridge's picture

I installed a Kestrel turbine last year and you immediately notice the much higher quality design and attention to detail. I had an African Wind Power turbine that was also produced in Africa which pales in comparison to the Kestrel. The support is also top-notch. I've emailed and gotten response to my questions in a timely manner.

Ian Woofenden's picture

Glad to hear it, David! I've been well impressed with the Kestrels I've put my hands and wrenches on, but have never lived with one, though I'd like to.

Kestrel has the distinct advantage over African Wind Power that they have significant financial backing. The AWP was a good original design, but the company was a bit thin, as was the U.S. importer.

Small wind is a hard business to be in, and I applaud Kestrel for making what seem to be good products, and taking care of their customers.

Ian Woofenden, Home Power senior editor

Show or Hide All Comments

Advertisement

X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
Loading