Sunday, November 2, 2008

A look at Mariah Power's new vertical axis wind turbine

The Windspire is a low cost, attractive, plug-n-produce wind power appliance that provides a safe and attractive method for harnessing power from the wind. At only 30 feet tall and 2 feet in radius, Windspire is distinguished by its sleek propeller-free design, ultra quiet operation, rugged construction, and affordable pricing. Designed for operation where we live and work, it comes complete with a high efficiency generator, integrated inverter, hinged monopole, and wireless performance monitor.

Typical wind turbines are mounted on a tower, perhaps are taller than local zoning ordinances allow, make noise, have an effect on bird populations, etc. Vertical axis wind turbines are done differently and can be more easily integrated with the urban landscape.

Durable, Simple Installation, Low Maintenance - Rugged yet simple construction means durability - Windspire is rated for winds up to 100 mph - and low maintenance for customers. Installation is simple, and can be completed by a professional installer in a matter of hours.

Virtually Silent: Windspire is nearly silent. According to an independent acoustic study by Summit Engineering, the Windspire is "imperceptible" in a 10 mph wind, and 8.8 dB above ambient in a 50 mph wind. Compare this to the 65 to 100 dB noise levels of many turbines on the market!

Because of its small size it can fit into more settings than can larger turbines. Obviously that may mean lower power output per turbine. But if it's truly affordable then the lower price can mean more turbines to install. The company suggests you can use one or more to power your home, such as placing them in the back yard. However their siting suggestions say there should be a 50-100 foot circumference around the Windspire where there are no buildings. This is not possible in a residential area but there are plenty of places this can be done, such as along the edge of a parking lot, along a highway, etc.

The currently available units are rated for 1.2 kW. This is not quite enough to power a household, meaning the typical house will require several of them. Also since wind is gusty a power storage mechanism is required such as batteries.

The Installation Steps

1. Choose a suitable Windspire location.
2. Auger a 6-foot deep, 2-foot diameter hole (typical foundation).
3. Install the foundation form and secure the threaded anchor rods.
4. Pour the concrete, and wait for it to fully cure.
5. Dig a trench to your electrical connection for wiring.
6. Assemble the Windspire horizontally, connected to the hinge plate on the base.
7. Raise the Windspire with a winch or motor, using the cable and gin pole set.
8. Run the electrical wire and connect your Windspire to your house or building.

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