Alternative Energy

Published on February 3rd, 2010 | by Derek Markham


Home Wind Power for Half the Price, Over the Counter

For commercial renewable energy enthusiasts, there’s no shortage of eye candy among industrial sized wind installations, but for the homeowner, the closest they get to feeling like they’re really generating clean energy might be the ‘Powered by the Wind’ sticker they get from their local utility when purchasing the wind power option for electricity. But that could change very soon, because a major retail store, Ace Hardware, will soon be selling a very cool new home wind turbine at half the installed price of a traditional turbine.

Inage: EarthTronicsHoneywell WT6500

Honeywell WT6500

The arrangement to sell the WT6500 Wind Turbine through Ace, from WindTronics and Honeywell, sounds like a dream for the DIY homeowner looking to offset some of the electricity needs of their house. Capable of producing 2000 kWh/yr in class 3 winds, the WT6500 would generate about 18% percent of the average household’s annual electricity needs, according to the company.

The new turbine is being touted as completely innovative due to the method of power generation: at the blade tips, and not using gears as traditional turbines do. Honeywell says this drastically reduces the mechanical resistance and results in far greater energy production. The key upside is that the WT6500 will produce electricity even at low wind speeds, as low as 2 mph (3 kmh), not the minimum of 7.5 mph needed by traditional gearbox turbines.

That low speed generation helps this machine to be feasible, as the National Wind Technology Center claims that more than 80% of the U.S. residential market experiences wind speeds lower than 10 mph (16 km/h) over 90% of the time. Given that the WT6500 will handle wind speeds from 2 mph up to 42 mph, it sounds like a dream for most locations.

Honeywell WT6500

Honeywell WT6500

I think the WT6500 would qualify for being called a ‘micro-wind’ installation, as it measures just 6 feet across, is completely gearless, and weighs just 170 pounds. That’s not to unwieldy for the savvy DIY guy to think about installing on his house, though a crane or high-lift sounds necessary to get it there. You will have to have an electrician wire it up for you, but the installation can be done yourself.

“The turbine’s installed cost is approximately 1/2 of the cost of traditional turbines with a lower installed cost per kWh (in class and size) than any turbine on the market. Adding to the value are federal and state rebates covering anywhere from 30% to 100% of the overall cost.

The Honeywell Wind Turbine comes complete with a computerized smart box, inverter and inter connect switch to wire the system into a household panel. The Honeywell Wind Turbine is designed to be installed where the power is being consumed and can produce 2000 kWh/yr in class 3, 2752 kWh/yr in class 4 winds at 33′ (height of 33’). The system has a MSRP of $5,995.”


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About the Author

lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, slacklining, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves good food, with fresh roasted chiles at the top of his list of favorites. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, RebelMouse, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!

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