|Forum Home > Welcome to Australian Wind and Solar > Looking for a QUALITY Wind Turbine?|
To the novice it can be difficult to understand the difference between a quality wind turbine and an "out of a box" budget turbine. Turbines typically consist of a coil, rotor, blades and a tower and that is where the similarities end. Just keep in mind, every car has a steering wheel, seats and tyres. Are they all the same? The answer is: no.
Before we get into the details of the turbine itself, let’s discuss the company you are about to make your purchase from. Are they an Australian company? Are they an International company posing as an Australian company? Are they an International company posing as a company from another nation? Don't be fooled by the Contact Us information or the mailing address. It's very common for International companies to create marketing material and registering address in countries they are not located in. Simple test, call them. The cost of a local call or international call is insignificant for peace of mind.
What warranty do they offer? 1, 2, maybe 5 years? Is it a real warranty? Do you believe the warranty details you read? How will you claim your warranty? Are you required to dismantle and send the goods at your own expense?
Is the company legitimate? Are they registered? Are they financial? There are many online tools you can use to simply check a company’s history or default status in Australia (not available for international purchase).
What Certification do they have? Are you buying from a registered electrical company? Do they have an REC? Are you buying from a Clean Energy Certified company? You may be entitled to government grants if they are.
Other checks may include, insurances, previous client feedback and qualifications.
Now to the wind turbine itself. It's very simple to add 3 or 4 plastic or metal blades to a rotor, put it in a box and sell it as a turbine. You will most likely find these turbines online from companies you may not really be able to phone or contact. Even if you are able to contact them you may find it hard to speak to somebody with any real technical knowledge of the product. A wind turbine requires precision, testing, quality materials, well wound coils / rotor, a permanent magnet, precision balancing, and so much more.
Let’s look at each component:
Blades: Turbine Blade Design is a precise science. Capture area is critical to performance and the absolute correct amount of lift and drag will make the difference between a useless spinning wheel and a power generating wind turbine. Just because its spinning does not mean it’s actually working. These precision designed blades will then be tested and matched to an appropriate rotor. The overall design will decide the start up speed and maximum force the blades can exert on the rotor. The blade construction and its fixing to the turbine must be able to withstand years of work in wind speeds beyond that of what could be encountered.
Tail: the design of the turbine tail will not only ensure the turbine heads into wind it will ensure the turbine turns out of the wind in high winds. A poorly designed turbine will continually turn in and out of the wind or even worse fail to turn out of high winds causes eventual self-destruction. A furling tail should be designed with exact weight, length and fin size and of course tested. A slight discrepancy will make the turbine either inefficient or dangerous in high winds. We often consider power generation and forget about safety. A quality built, well designed and tested Turbine address both of these items.
Dog Vein/Anemometer: larger turbines without tails will consist of these times to measure wind speed and direction. A control system will control the turbine and operate its motor to direct the head into or away from the wind direction. The control system will also shut the turbine down in any fault condition or adjust its parameters to continual obtain best performance.
Rotor/Permanent Magnet: the heart of the power production comes from the rotor and its magnet. A quality turbine contains many copper coils and will therefore be heavy. If it’s too light for its size it's a good sign that it does not contain a quality rotor. A good turbine will be coiled to produce 3 pase AC voltage and will be very efficient and well balanced because of this. The controller will invert the voltage from the turbine. Quality here counts and power production and service life are the outcomes.
Bearings: the turbine by design will rotate at 300 rpm ++ and we want this to occur for a long time with NO NOISE. There is no alternative to quality.
Turbine Tower: the efficiency of the wind turbine could be determined by its mounting height. Don't guess this, ask your consultant. The tower itself and its construction should be nothing less than hurricane-proof rated to the highest wind condition in Australia A4. The turbine manufacturer should be able to provide you with the tower or as a minimum, an engineered tower drawing specific to the turbine and its wind loads. Every turbine is different and will have different wind loads. DON'T GUESS.
Control System: does your turbine come with a controller? No matter if it’s a 300w or 100kw turbine if it is not sold with a controller, don't consider it. A controller is specific to the turbine and not just any controller can be matched with any turbine. The controller will handle the higher 3 phase voltage produced from the turbine and control the wing tip speed of the turbine. The control of the turbine speed is the most important aspect of the system.
Inverter - Grid Connected: only an Australian standard AS4777 approved inverter can be connected to the Australian grid. Wind Inverters MUST be programmed by a professional and MUST be specifically programmed to the turbine. If the turbine you are considering purchasing does not come with a power curve plot, you will not be able to correctly configure the inverter to the turbine. This will lead to an inefficient and dangerous turbine.
Inverter - Off-Grid: the size of the required inverter is not the only calculation required. Your turbine manufacturer will assist you in calculating peak loads, instant maximum demand and much more. Did you know your washing machine could draw 7 times its rated power? Apparent power? Real power? All require correct calculation. We recommend a complete management system/Inverter that can control you battery system, start and stop generators and protect your batteries.
Overall I hope this document provides a better understand of the purchase you are about to make either from Australian wind and Solar or another reputable company. Consider your purchase carefully and spend your money wisely.