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Adding wind turbine to PV array  RSS feed

 
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Just found this forum we're completely off grid and running on solar power, it's a 48v system which is great during the summer (we're in southern Spain), but not so great in the winter as there's little sun and a LOT of wind. I was thinking about adding a wind turbine to the system, as the prices are so low now.  We have a hybrid MPPT inverter charger but from what I've read on this forum so far, I need a separate charge controller connected to the battery bank for the turbine?   If so, would pwm be OK next to a mppt? In our climate the sun and wind are quite separate so they shouldn't clash much. To give a bit more info, we typically get around 800w from the solar array and the turbine I'm looking at is also 800w max power.  Thanks in advance
 
Posts: 111
Location: North central Ontario
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Hi, you are right you will need a second charge controller. Depending on your wind profile a pwm controller with a dump load . should be fine. If you have gusting wind that dies down an mppt controller with a voltage clipper and a dump load is better. You can easily blend 2 controllers to one battery bank. If the sun is out and it's windy the wind turbine controller will put the load to dump.
 
M Gregory
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Thank you David, that's really helpful. what do you mean by dump load though?  My solar panels only kick out as much power as they are asked for by the inverter, will a turbine be different?  Re. Wind profile, its all or nothing here, gale force winds or dead lol
 
David Baillie
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So, that helps. since you have consistent wind or no wind I would say a pwm controller with a dump load matched to the turbine would be the way to go.  We generally use the whisper 200 and whisper 100 turbines and the matching controller.  A dump load is a way to use the energy from the turbine in situations where the battery is full. Solar panels can just be disconnected with no ill effect when batteries are full. Wind turbines would spin themselves to death if there was no load on the turbine hence the dump load.  The most common ones are dc heating coils. Sometimes the diversion/dump load is a water heater.
Cheers,  David
 
Posts: 232
Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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I've been researching windmills for a little while to complement my PV array.  I am no expert, yet I know enough basics that I'm able to figure out what I need to do.  I purchased a windmill kit a while back that turned out to be total junk, with no company behind it to back them.  It worked for a little while, till a gust of wind fried it.  So I did a little digging and research and think/hope I've found a quality turbine.  I haven't purchased it yet, as I'm waiting on enough funds to do so, so I can't say one way or another on how well it functions or on it's robustness.  But I'll share what it is I currently plan on purchasing and you can do some research to see if it works for you.  Also, I found it quite helpful to read every page on this website, because there are no kits to buy, and you need to purchase everything individually.  But after reading through it all, it made quite a bit more sense to me.

KT9 Wind Turbine
100 Amp Rectifier
Charge Controller
DC Water Heating Element
 
pollinator
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Location: Southern Arizona. Zone 8b
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I would avoid that turbine.

First of all it looks like junk.  It's made using a car alternator (crappy design).  And it has a high blade count, that design is inherently less efficient.  There is a reason the big guys only use 2 or 3 blades.  For small turbines (less than 50 foot diameter) 3 blades is the best design.

Secondly, ANY turbine maker that brags about making power in high winds is scamming you.  High winds occur so rarely that it's pointless to optimize a turbine for them. 
Besides, if the turbine does not turn out of the wind, then you need a tower that can withstand the HUGE forces generated by the aerodynamic drag of a turbine full on to the wind.  I have a massive free standing tower that is 4 feet across at the base.  I got it for free because it bent in 1/2 in 80 mph winds with nothing but a couple cellular phone antennas on it.  This tower probably ran in the $15000-$20,000 price range not including installation or the 20 yards of concrete it took to anchor it.

Third, A good turbine manufacturer will include graphs showing how much power you can expect under different wind conditions, this guy doesn't provide ANY useful information about how they perform.

Forth, he mentions that the turbines are designed for category 4-5 winds, without really telling you how much they will produce in a cat 4 wind.  At best you can estimate that his 2000 watt turbine produces about 340 watts in ~13 mph winds, but now I'm making assumptions about what assumptions he used to come up with his monthly figure, plus I'm assuming he's telling the truth.

Note: Category 4-5 wind areas are VERY rare, I seriously doubt you live in one.

Have you done a wind survey of your proposed site yet?  You really need to install an anemometer with logging capabilities at the same height and location you intend to install the turbine and MEASURE your actual wind speeds for a year or more BEFORE you buy a turbine. 
This will tell you for sure whether or not a turbine even makes sense. 
Assuming you do have category 4 or better winds (highly unlikely) then either buy a good quality turbine that is at least 8 foot (2.5 meters) in diameter (anything smaller will wear out before you ever recoup your investment) or download Hugh Piggott's book and build your own turbine.
 
Joshua Parke
Posts: 232
Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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Peter, I appreciate your input, as I want to be sure that I purchase something that will produce the power I desire and last for many years.  Yet I felt confused again and had to do a little reading to clarify what I thought I knew…of which I know little about the subject and still have a fair bit to learn.  But what the website says and what you are saying is incongruent, so I wanted to reply to see if I’m missing something here and not understanding what I think it is that I am reading about.  Or, if what I think I know, about what I am reading, is accurate.


1 - The webpages on the different types of cores offered, say this… 

Use these powerful permanent magnet alternators (PMA/PMG's) to make cheap
electricity from Wind, Hydro, Steam and Bio-Diesel power systems.
Stop wasting up to 50% of your power energizing the
coil of standard brush type alternators. Get a real PMA/PMG!
 
Permanent magnet alternators are by no means standard "Automotive"
alternators containing brushes and electro-magnetic coils. A PMA/PMG does
not waste power by having to continuously create an energy intensive magnetic field.
 
We sell only highly efficient - long lasting true permanent magnet alternators!



I could still learn quite a bit more about the number of blades, but here’s my simple basic understanding of it.…”which may be wrong?”  More blades produce more energy in low average winds, and they rotate slower so there is less chance of sending a surge of energy through the core and frying it.  Less blades allow for higher rpm, and they also work better in higher wind speed areas.  For low average winds, more blades has been shown to consistently produce more power throughout the year.


2 - I don’t see anywhere they are bragging about producing energy in high winds.  This is what I see…..

WIND TURBINE 2000W COMMANDER DUAL 2.5" 9 BLADE / LARGE 74" 8.4 kWh
 
2000 watts MAX / PEAK in high winds / 90-300 volt *peaks in extreme wind gusts (Make sure your equipment can handle these peaks)
Designed to operate in an area with low/medium speed averages of 5.6 to 6.2 m/s and greater. (Zone 4-5)
Provides 252 kWh per month (3066W year) 8.4 kWh per day in a 12.8 mph (5.7 m/s) average wind speed.
In a zone 7 area this turbine can make up to 200% more power or 16.8 kWh.

    Wind Zones are defined by m/s
    Wind Zone 1 - 0 4.4 m/s
    Wind Zone 2 - 4.4 5.1 m/s
    Wind Zone 3 - 5.1 5.6 m/s
    Wind Zone 4 - 5.6 6.0 m/s
    Wind Zone 5 - 6.0 6.4 m/s
    Wind Zone 6 - 6.4 7.0 m/s
    Wind Zone 7 - 7.0 9.4 m/s
     
    *90 Volts for12V turbines
    155 Volts for 24V turbines
    300 Volts for 48V turbines



They also say to get a tilting turbine for high wind areas so that it is able to tilt out of the wind and allow those high winds to spill over.


80 MPH MAX - FOR HIGHER SPEED WIND ZONES GET A TILING TURBINE


3 -    On the pages offering the different cores there are graphs and info.  A different graph for each of the three different voltages offered.  They show how many amps and volts will be produced by the RPM.  I don’t recall seeing any wind speed graphs, just the RPM ones.  This is what is says next to the graphs….

2700 RPM Maximum

Power at max amps is rated as a DEAD SHORT on our charts! That is to be used as a guide line sine we DO NOT know your loads in ohms.
    To operate at a dead short is impossible so figure roughly 25% of this amperage at a 80% duty cycle or 20% at a 100% duty cycle.
    As a rule you may never set the RPM so that these PMA's are making over 4000 watts! To do so would over heat the coils.
     
    2700 RPM MAXIMUM!


4 - I don’t see any mention anywhere of the turbine being designed for category 4-5 winds?  But, it does say that it is designed for low/medium wind speeds.  The 340 watts at 13mph seems like an accurate prediction, which is great for me, my PV array is only 600w….off grid.  I know they advertise the peak wattage, as all the different small turbines I’ve seen seem to do the same, so I know that it’s only going to produce a fraction of that in the average winds of my area.

If I’m far from understanding what I think I know, then please illuminate my path and show me something better.  I’ve looked at the whisper 200 in the past as was mentioned above, it has a couple of things that I like about it more, built in tilt and variable voltage output, but at nearly 3 times the cost??  Is it really that much better?  If I’m going to put in the time, effort, and money, then I want it to last, so I’m open to learning.

Sorry if I’ve hijacked your topic OP, M Gregory……I need clarification. ;-)
 
David Baillie
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Location: North central Ontario
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So Joshua, The site you listed above sets off many of my detectors. A good check is to punch in the company name and "review" or "problems"
If you want to go the diy route might I recommend Missouri wind and solar:   https://mwands.com/
They are a larger company and have tonnes of how to videos and reference pages. You will pay less for a comparable product. I've bought some stuff from them. Peter is right though for wind more blades is mostly not better. as you add blades yes you gain torque in low winds, but you loose the advantage as the wind picks up and they start interfering with each other causing turbulence and cavitation which either shakes it to pieces in months or ruins its output. Next is if a company does not provide a graph showing production versus wind speed for their product they are trying to pull a fast one.  At a guess at a 5 mps I would guess less then 50 watts of production per hour. So that is the choice most wind companies make; do I try for 10 hours per day at 50 watts per hour or 2 hours per day at 500 watts per hour... The industry tends to be settling on a 3 blade configuration for 500-1000 watt units and anywhere from 3-9 on the less than 500 watt category.

Cheers,  David
 
Joshua Parke
Posts: 232
Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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M Gregory - You may already know this or have picked it up from the context...but I felt it was worth mentioning, just in case.  The advertised wattage of these small turbines of their max power is also their failure point.  If that point is reached/exceeded then the chances of the turbine frying itself are very high...probably a guarantee.  I didn't know this, because I was lazy and naive, and I fried a 600w turbine in a 35mph wind one night while I was asleep.  So if you are looking for a turbine that will provide 800w of power, then I would suggest purchasing one that is rated much higher such as 2000w, or multiple smaller turbines so that with your average wind speeds you'll be producing the power you want.  The one I gave a link for produces 350w in a 13mph wind and 700w in a 21mph wind...based on the numbers provided from their site.  And if your winds are above the rated speed of the turbine then it would be wise to ensure it has some type of protection for those strong winds.

David - Thanks for the insight.  I'll have to keep reading about blade count and see what more I learn.
 
Peter VanDerWal
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Joshua Parke wrote:Peter, I appreciate your input, as I want to be sure that I purchase something that will produce the power I desire and last for many years.  Yet I felt confused again and had to do a little reading to clarify what I thought I knew…of which I know little about the subject and still have a fair bit to learn.  But what the website says and what you are saying is incongruent, so I wanted to reply to see if I’m missing something here and not understanding what I think it is that I am reading about.  Or, if what I think I know, about what I am reading, is accurate.


1 - The webpages on the different types of cores offered, say this… 

[i]Use these powerful permanent magnet alternators (PMA/PMG's) to make cheap



PMA/PMG are more efficient than alternators with "energized" coils, which is why NOBODY uses energized coils in turbines.  About the only place they are used is in automotive alternators where low cost is the driving factor.

Converting a cheap automotive alternator into a PMA does make it more efficient, but it is STILL a crappy design from an efficieny prospective which is why good quality wind turbines are made using PMAs that are DESIGNED for turbines, not converted from car alternators by removing the coils and installing permanent magnets.

more blades has been shown to consistently produce more power throughout the year.


That is some high grade fertilizer. Also known as BS

I could still learn quite a bit more about the number of blades, but here’s my simple basic understanding of it.…”which may be wrong?”  More blades produce more energy in low average winds, and they rotate slower so there is less chance of sending a surge of energy through the core and frying it.  Less blades allow for higher rpm, and they also work better in higher wind speed areas.  For low average winds, more blades has been shown to consistently produce more power throughout the year.



More blades increase torque, but also increase turbulence which is why they spin slower (and less efficiently).  Electric motors/generators work most efficiently at higher RPMs, not only that but operating at higher RPMs allows them to be made smaller and lighter.

Except for turbines that benefit from low RPMs and high torque (like water pumps), it's almost always best to use the lowest blade count practical.  They have even made one bladed turbines.  The problem with 1 and 2 bladed turbines is that due to gyroscopic forces they shudder/shake when yawing, which increases wear, on the bearings, etc.   This is why many small turbines use 3 blades, this gets good efficiency with very little issue when yawing.

  I don’t see any mention anywhere of the turbine being designed for category 4-5 winds?  But, it does say that it is designed for low/medium wind speeds.  The 340 watts at 13mph seems like an accurate prediction, which is great for me, my PV array is only 600w….off grid.  I know they advertise the peak wattage, as all the different small turbines I’ve seen seem to do the same, so I know that it’s only going to produce a fraction of that in the average winds of my area.



You actually quoted the section where they said that:
"Designed to operate in an area with low/medium speed averages of 5.6 to 6.2 m/s and greater. (Zone 4-5) "

There is very little energy available in low winds (below category 4)  It's pointless to try to optimize a turbine to capture a small percentage of very little energy.  Very few areas have average wind speeds above category 3.


If I’m far from understanding what I think I know, then please illuminate my path and show me something better.  I’ve looked at the whisper 200 in the past as was mentioned above, it has a couple of things that I like about it more, built in tilt and variable voltage output, but at nearly 3 times the cost??  Is it really that much better?  If I’m going to put in the time, effort, and money, then I want it to last, so I’m open to learning.



Southwest Windpower makes good turbines.  They cost more than junk, because they are made from the ground up to be a good quality turbine, and since they are built in relatively low volume, the price is higher  because the parts cost more(supply and demand)

The turbine itself is only a portion of the total cost.  If you look at the total cost, the difference in cost of using low quality vs high quality turbines is relatively small., especially once you consider the return on investment.

When I was researching turbines for my house I settled on Bergley, Skystream and Southwest.  However, after conducting a wind speed survey i realized that even though it seemed really windy where I live, it wasn't windy enough to be worth the costs.
 
David Baillie
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Agreed bergey or southwest. The skystream looks good but I've never seen one deployed anywhere but in a parking lot for green washing so have no data.
 
Joshua Parke
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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Thanks Peter, that helped, it’s all making a bit more sense now.

When you mentioned the scammers bragging about high wind production and then mentioned category 4-5 winds, I was confused and thought about category 4-5 winds, such as in a category 4-5 storm, especially when you mentioned that those areas are very rare.  LOL  I get it know and I see what you’re saying.  When it’s stormy and it blows, I do have consistent winds in the 15-20 mph range with gusts up to 30mph at times, which is what I’m looking to harness….those stormy days/nights when the sun doesn’t shine to complement my PV array and keep my battery bank charged.

I’m looking into the turbines you all suggested, thank you.
 
Peter VanDerWal
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Joshua Parke wrote: I do have consistent winds in the 15-20 mph range with gusts up to 30mph at times, which is what I’m looking to harness….those stormy days/nights when the sun doesn’t shine to complement my PV array and keep my battery bank charged.



Take a look at the total cost of installing the turbine (Turbine, tower, wiring, required breakers/fuses, charge controller, etc.) and then look at how much it would cost to go with a larger battery bank and a couple more PV panels.  I think you'll find the batteries and panels are cheaper and will provide similar power during storms, plus you'll have extra power when it's not stormy that you could use for running a workshop, etc.

There have been numerous studies that show that even in category 4 wind areas, small turbines (less than 16 foot diameter) never produce enough energy to recoup their initial costs. 

Heck you're even better off buying a small gas generator than a small turbine.  It will be MUCH cheaper, have a lower ecological impact, and be more reliable.
 
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Having lived with a wind generator for several years I would like to mention the noise generated by the custom built style wind generator is an issue. Say good bye to crickets and coyotes and hello to whir, whiiiir, buzzzzzzzz, whir. I would also agree with Paul regarding the overstatement of the power you will generate off this unit, the math does not work, for the price I would buy a good gas generator, still noisy but charges much more efficiently. I would also recommend researching hydrogen appliances reputation there are numerous complaints lodged against them on the ripoff report website. SEE HERE :

https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/hydrogenappliancescom/lancaster-california-/hydrogenappliancescom-hydrogen-appliances-thermodyne-systems-scam-rip-off-review-789452

This is a review of my experience with hydrogenappliances.com which can be summarized as 600 wasted.

I bought a "slant core" PMA/wind generator from "Bob"(ebay username: Qaz661) on ebay a few months ago.   This  wind generator was supposed to be one of the top of the line models.  Within 1 month the blades broke off.  One of them sticking into the ground yards away from where one of my friends was working.  On further inspection was not made with carbon fiber blades as advertised.  Furthermore the unit never would charge even 1 deep cycle battery.  The most I could get out of this product was 6 volts.  It was completely useless.

and this:

THERMODYNE hydrogen appliances 1600 watt scam

AUTHOR: Markde - ()
SUBMITTED: Monday, August 26, 2013

We purchased a "used" THERMODYNE hydrogen appliances "commander wind turbine that was supposed to output 1600 watts per the advertisement. We have had this unit though 70 mile per hour straight line wind and see no more than 200 watts". Further research indicated that this scammer has been screwing people over for years doing the same ridiculous fabrication of product ratings|. Wind Blue power essential confirmed what we suspected in their product write up at the url http://www!.windbluepower:.com/Lite_Breeze_Low_Wind_Generator_Kit_p/cy-low-kit|.htm Essentially we knew we had a junk turbine but having someone in the business break it down for you was icing on the cake;. This wind turbine as wind blue describes will not even start spinning until 12 mph winds nor make usable power until almost 20 mph winds?.

This is a complete piece of *** and we want our money back, however good luck contacting a guy that does not even have a better business rating or listing'. This company as best I can tell is ran out of a UPS shipping store and has no contact information he will answer. He has changed e bay user names 5 times which seems consistent with a scam artist trying to remain evasive. hyewind Aug-07-13 thermodyne_hydrogen_appliances Jun-05-13 qaz661 Sep-01-11 sunelecwind Aug-08-11 qaz661 Mar-07-05 You have been warned about Hydrogen appliances and their "used turbine" and their blatant lies with the firebird commander fraudulent claims. We are pissed as *** and my normally calm wife is as well. She is calling the FTC to get this shut down once and for all.
 
I have a knack for fixing things like this ... um ... sorry ... here is a concilitory tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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