A couple of months ago, I read an article describing Arthur and Maxine Cook’s off-grid 70-acre farm in Somerset County, Pennsylvania (“120 VDC Wind and PV Hybrid” in HP29). Their hybrid power system consisted of a Northern Power Systems HR3 wind turbine, 3,000 watts of Kyocera PV modules, 20 Surrette 6-volt, 200-amp-hour batteries, and the associated charge controllers, inverters, disconnect switches, etc.
Here is some background, directly from their 1992 article:
“Our first wind generator was a 115 VDC rebuilt Jacobs [Wind Electric]. It was destroyed in a terrible blizzard in January 1980. The wind that day gusted to 82 mph and the temperature was -27°F. The Jacobs’ governor failed due to the cold; the springs lost their tensile strength, the rotor over-spun, and the machine flew apart.
We replaced the “Jake” with our present HR3, an 825-pound, direct-drive, 120 VDC alternator with a 5-meter (16.4-foot) diameter, three-bladed rotor. We mounted her atop a 60-foot Rohn self-supporting tower. This magnificent machine will produce 3,500 watts at 25 mph, and requires only one hour of maintenance per year. It hasn’t missed a beat in 11 years.”
With another person, I recently bought the assets of the HR3 wind turbine manufacturer to start Black Island Wind Turbines (BIWT), so I decided to call the Cooks. Their article was 22 years old, and I wondered what I’d discover.
Arthur shared with me that his climbing days are over. The turbine needs a new set of bearings after 33 years, and so it has been idle for awhile. He indicates that he would like to see it find a good home. If by chance you’re looking for a used HR3, contact me.
Bill Stein • Black Island Wind Turbines
Art Cook adds: We’ve made a lot of changes since we were featured in Home Power. The HR3 ran from 1982 until its retirement in 2008, when we went to co-generation. We live in an extremely harsh environment—ice, snow, wind, electrical storms, etc. The HR3 handled everything that was thrown at it. I think that its survivability should put it at the top of anyone’s wind turbine list. We’re not averse to finding our HR3 a new home, but it’s always welcome to live out the days here as a classic lawn ornament, too. It’s still quite useful as a weathervane.
Even though some of our PV modules are more than 25 years old, the 4,500 W system is still producing more than 4,000 W AC, and we often get a total of 30+ kWh per day.