I think the Honeywell WT6000 wind turbine sold by EarthTronics has the opportunity to "blow" open the residential and light commercial market. From the Earthtronics Honeywell WT600 wind turbine website:
The Honeywell Wind Turbine is a gearless, “free wheeling’’ turbine that generates power from the blade tips (where the speed lies) rather than through a complex slow center shaft. By practically eliminating mechanical resistance and drag, the Honeywell Wind Turbine creates significant power (2000 kWh/yr) operating in a greater range of wind speeds (2-45 mph) than traditional wind turbines. The highest output, lowest cost per kWh installed turbine ever made.
The highest output, lowest cost per kWh installed turbine ever made! Those are some pretty awesome claims, and I hope they're true!
Some of the issues with current residential units are:
- They require fairly high wind speeds just to kick in (7-12 mph)
- They are expensive (around 20-30k)
- They require large mounting pole and structure
- They require a third party dealer/installer
The Honeywell innovation of having the blade tips generate the power solves most of these problems. The EarthTronics/Honeywell turbine will be sold at Ace Hardware and will only cost $4,500, pocket change in the world of renewable energy.
The great thing is that this unit will qualify for the 30% Federal tax credit! It should also qualify for a State tax credit if your State has one and you may also be able to receive a rebate from your utility! If you need to brush up on incentives check out the Mapawatt post on de-mystifying incentives.
If you would like to seriously look at one of these devices, I would look at the Windgate Energy Generation data sheet they have in the website. The only thing I will mention is that while EarthTronics markets the turbine kicking in at 2 MPH, it only produces about 6 Watts, which isn't even enough to power a single CFL. The unit starts producing around 100 Watts once the wind speed makes it up to 10 MPH. The Power vs. Wind Speed curve of the wind turbine can be seen below.
As with all wind turbines, make sure you have adequate wind in your area to make this investment worthwhile. Refer to this wind resource map by NREL to determine how well your area will perform.
Devices like this make me think we are approaching a tipping point in residential renewable energy. That point where renewable energy becomes mainstream and buying clean energy is as easy as buying a hammer.