When we built our off-the-grid house in 2000, our power system consisted primarily of 8 photovoltaic solar panels. Since then, we have been keen on adding a wind turbine to complement the solar, but just haven’t made that step yet. My father-in-law recently pointed out a small ad in the newspaper about a new Canadian-made wind turbine, so I checked out their website and was very excited by what I saw.
The Windterra ECO1200 is a 1000-watt wind turbine which, as you can see in the photo below, spins on a vertical axis rather than the traditional horizontal axis which you would be used to seeing. The advantage of the vertical axis system is that the turbine is omni-directional, meaning it will work no matter what direction the wind is coming from. The traditional wind turbines need to face into the wind in order to work. Other advantages of the Windterra turbine include: 1) it works better in turbulent air, 2) it is more effective at lower wind speeds (operates as low as 11 km/h), increasing its efficiency and output, 3) it can be mounted on the roof, eliminating the need for a costly tower, and making it easier to install and service.
Windterra’s online price of $6050.00 includes the turbine, controller/inverter, and mounting system – pretty well everything you need to get started.
Unfortunately for us, the Windterra ECO1200 is designed for grid-tied systems, and will not work with our inverter. I am truly disappointed about this, because it seems like such a great product. However, for those of you who are on the utility grid and have been considering the possibility of making some of your own power, this product may be your answer. Meanwhile, I’ll keep looking for the right turbine for us.
NOTE: New information: As of May 15, 2010 Windterra has closed down all operations.
stay tuned, Dale…off grid solution may be closer than you think!
Keep in mind that horizontal axis wind generators have no specific problem in orienting themselves to the wind. If the wind is constantly changing direction, there’s not that much energy to harvest anyway.
In the same way, at 11 km/h, this wind generator only generates about 50 watt-hours (0.050 kWh), as shown on their website, so compared to the rated 1000 watt-hours (at 38 km/h), it is quite a bit less.
The reason wind generators are put on high towers is because the wind is quite a bit stronger. Since the energy that can be harvested varies with the cube of the wind speed (if the wind speed doubles from 10 to 20 km/h, the energy increases eight-fold…), even seemingly small increases in wind speed involve fairly large increases in energy production, e.g. an increase of 20% of the wind speed provides about double the energy…
Hi Mr. Sorenson. I am glad I found your blog. I will be moving to PEI July 2009 after my wedding to a PEI girl. I am researching different ideas cuz I would like do to things like this when we buy/rehab or build a home. I am interested in doing more to lessen my footprint, as my brother has been doing similar things for several years. I have been digging lots of info out of him. Keep on writing.
In case you are interested, this is his original blog http://fatguyonalittlebike.wordpress.com
He also writes for http://www.groovygreen.com
Avoid PacWind wind turbine systems out of Torrance, California. I paid for their system, in full, in September 2007, that’s over a year ago, and they have been giving me a run-around ever since. I still have no wind generator and they have my money, with no inclination to return it. Avoid Pacwind.
I am sorry to hear your windterra unit didn’t work out. I am looking for mini wind turbines for my home in Omaha. Ne, and this sounds like a viable consideration. Did you mount yours before you found out it wouldn’t suit your purposes? If so, what is the sound level like? I amanxious to know how my neighbors might react if is noisy
No, I didn’t buy it. I realized it wasn’t going to work for us. I don’t know what the sound level is like. Their website claims it to be quiet…
WINDTERRA (Green) News June 2009
In this issue:
1. OFF – Grid capability
2. Poles. Poles, Poles
3. FIT program
The ECO 1200 is a now both a “Grid Tie” and “off grid product. The ECO 1200’s vertical axis design is an industry leader. The “all inclusive” simplistic mount, turbine, generator and matched inverter make an easily installed complete package. How much simpler than joining a wire to a breaker in the panel box or tie to your battery bank can you get! We are always facing the wind!
The inclusion of an off-grid option allows the power created by the ECO 1200 to be stored in batteries. The Battery Charger is only intended to be connected to a battery bank. The ability to convert energy into a range from 24 v – 48 v DC power leaves many options. This device also has an operating range from – 25 to 40 degrees Celsius.
In response to customer interest we continue to expand our recommended installation options. Last issue we promoted the use of outbuildings as an option. After working with different supply companies, using our specification requirements, we have suppliers in place for three types of poles…steel, composite, and wood. All three would place our unit about 30 ft. above ground. The steel pole requires a cement foundation. The composite and wood poles require a bored hole. Poles can be purchased for as little as $1000.00.
Recently we read about a “FIT” program. There is a movement towards a feed in tariff program. This program is designed to pay the small energy producer for each KW produced. This is a significant change in support of “Green Energy”.
We have worked with lending agencies and have a simplified process in place. By working with lending agencies we have virtually removed the bureaucracy of financing a wind turbine. These lending agencies know our product and have a great offer to help diminish the immediate cash outlay.
Work on the permitting side is also developing. We have example letters to neighbors, a sample ordinance along with advice on permitting available for your use.
Please contact us for further information or a reseller contact
Have you looked at our brochure lately?
Windterra is Building Tomorrow’s Energy Future …Today!
Larry Wagner Phone 403-456-3350
I would like to have the e mail adress of WindTerra because, via their site, I cannot join them.
Or their adress, or adresses of European reseller.
I am living in Belgium and I am interrested in their products.
Go to their site (http://windterra.com/) and click on “Contact” at the bottom of the page. You will be able to fill out a form to send a message, and to receive their email newsletter.
Hope this helps.
the website does cause some concerns for those outside of USA / Canada because it does not allow selection of your country. Unfortunately this leaves you with no choice but to pick from the available options. Please indicate your correct address in the comment section. Prefromed automated websites have limitattion
Where can the ECO 1200 be purchased online? I’m interested in purchasing a unit.
Please go to the windterra website and fill out the contact section for information. The ECO1200 is only sold through resellers who have completed the installation training program
anybody know of an alternative to the ECO1200 as i want to purchase and install my own unit, (too bad they will not sell to individuals who are fully capable of installing these units) thanks, Greg
Wind turbines are used to generate electricity from the kinetic power of the wind. Historical they were more frequently used as a mechanical device to turn machinery.
Update: As of May 15, 2010 Windterra has closed down all operations.
Check out our vertical axis wind turbines…
Update, I heard that the Windterra Vertical Axis Wind Turbine will be relaunching in 2014 under the original founder… New Brand Name…keep looking at the http://www.westenergygroup.com site
Hi please keep us updated I am in need of parts to complete my system thank you for your update mstudley265@gmail take care.
Yes, the Windterra Vertical Axis Turbine will relaunch in 2015, the design will be updated and improved, with a new innovated look and the mounting system will be completely updated. Keep an eye on the Quantum Wind website http://www.quantumwind.com for updates. Please note that this is a new turbine from the original designer and Founder of the Windterra VAWT!
Anyone that is in need of parts can contact me at email@example.com I have some contacts for replacement parts! The past management did not allow for parts replacement!