Grid-tie wind becomes cheaper, easier to install

Southwest Windpower has finally released its much-anticipated Skystream 3.7 small wind turbine system, which has been designed as a grid-tie turbine with all necessary power electronics integrated into the system. The company is calling it a “new weapon” in the fight against high electricity costs.

“With no batteries, Skystream 3.7 connects directly to the home to supply power. When the wind is not blowing, the home is powered by the electric utility. Depending on the local utility, excess electricity can be sold back to the utility or used at a later date,” according to a company press release. “With a typical cost of $8,000 to $10,000 to purchase and install, Skystream 3.7 can pay for itself in 5 to 12 years. This payback period will vary and can be much quicker in states with investment rebates. It’s anticipated that Skystream 3.7 will save the average homeowner $500 to $800 per year, based on 4,800 to 6,600 kWh produced per year and a $.12/kWh cost of electricity.”

As I’ve pointed out in past posts, Canadian Tire is one major retailer in Canada that now carries Southwest Windpower’s products so perhaps we’ll soon see the Skystream 3.7 for sale there. The big question, which we’ll get answers for in the coming months, is whether Ontario’s standard offer program includes small wind? If so, then the province would pay 11 cents per kilowatt-hour, making this system a potentially attractive purchase with regards to payback. Considering a solar PV system with comparable power output would likely cost twice as much to purchase and install, this small wind product could prove compelling for some homeowners and businesses.

For another take, here’s a Red Herring story on the product release.

UPDATE: The standard offer program to be detailed and officially launched this fall does include small wind, with the same 11-cent per kilowatt-hour payback as large wind systems.

4 thoughts on “Grid-tie wind becomes cheaper, easier to install”

  1. Tyler, I am confused by the economic calculation in your story. If, as the article states, the saving is $500 to $800/yr, and the system costs are $8000 to $10,000, how can the payback period be 5 to 12 years without investment rebates? It looks more like a 10 to 20 yr payback to me, even with 0% financing (or if the interest rate is the same as the energy inflation rate). Am I missing something?

  2. Rebates definitely play a role. The company says this will vary from state to state, or province to province for that matter. In Ontario, on the assumption you could get 11 cents per kilowatt-hour, I figure it would take 15 years or so for a payback. You’re right, that doesn’t sound so good. So rebates are key.

  3. I have a Skystream it did not make 20KW a month it broke after only 6 months SWWP will not stand behind it it was installed properly stay clear it is junk and once they have your money they could care less

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