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Consumer generated power | Update

Home & Garden

In March, we reported on two small wind turbines created for residential power generation. Without a doubt, continuing concerns about climate change and skyrocketing energy prices are fuelling interest in alternative sources of energy. Although solar power remains the most popular choice, manufacturers are banking on increased interest in small scale use of wind power, as witnessed by two turbines that recently caught our attention. British/Scottish Windsave launched the Windsave 1000 system, a three-bladed fan (1.75 m in diameter) that connects to a building’s standard mains supply. The turbine is quiet, with noise levels comparable to the sound of a person talking at normal volume. It produces approximately 1kw of electricity, enough to run a TV, DVD player, computer, fridge/freezer and several lights. British Gas is partnering with Windsave to market and install roof-top turbines; trials will be carried out in Scotland and South-West England later this year. Engineers from British Gas will supply and install all equipment for GBP 1,500, and it’s projected that the turbines will save households up to GBP 100 on their annual electricity bills. With government-funded rebates and subsidies, consumers could earn back their initial investment in less than 6 years. In the US, Arizona-based Southwest Windpower rustled up USD 8 million in venture capital for development of its new 1.8 KW Skystream 3.7 turbine. The company claims the Skystream is a breakthrough in residential power appliances, that will change how homes and small businesses receive electricity. It produces usable energy in exceptionally low winds and will provide up to 100% of the energy needs for a home or small business. Any extra energy is fed into the utility grid, spinning the customer’s meter backwards. Southwest Windpower is hardly new to consumer-generated power: sleek and inexpensive, the company’s Air X series is the world’s number one selling small wind turbine. The more powerful Skystream will be available soon, at a higher price of around USD 7,000-10,000, including installation costs. Opportunities remain for distributors and resellers, as well as for installation and maintenance providers. Contact: North America –, Europe –, Asia Pacific/Australia –, South America/Africa –



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