The Solar Power Expert Blog

Wind Turbines Prices for Proven Wind Turbines

by Chris - October 10th, 2011.
Filed under: Equipment. Tagged as: , , , .

Wind turbines only pay for themselves if they last long enough to recoup the investment. It’s important to buy wind turbines proven to withstand the test of time. This post reviews personal windmills, provides windmill information and prices, and tries to answer the question of how much energy does a wind turbine produce.

Proven Wind Turbines

In a previous post, I mentioned how savonius wind turbines are popular with the DIY crowd. I meant that in contrast to the person who wants to invest in alternative energy for their home by purchasing reliable, proven wind turbines. After all, an investment takes years to recoup and the windmill cost is expected to be amortized over that time period. That can’t happen if the turbine doesn’t last as long as expected.

One of the downsides in assessing wind turbine pros and cons is that, like solar, its a relatively new market, with new, unevaluated products, and a fair share of scamers pedaling cheap products – that look the part, but fall apart within a couple years. I looked at several personal windmills which have achieved positive customer feedback and/or have been in production for several years. Additionally, I did some digging on how windmill efficiency is calculated. Efficiency, along with windmill prices, and the warranty coverage all plays an important role on how fast an investment can be recouped.

Windmill Efficiency

There are very few proven wind turbines on the consumer market that are of the Savonius (vertical axis) type. There is a really good reason for this: windmill efficiency. A Sovonius rotor has a maximum, theoretical efficiency of 30%. Contrast this to windmill type (horizontal axis) which has the Betz Limit (used as the best case) of 59.3%. Many personal windmills are in the ballpark of 50% efficient. That’s around twice as much energy! That makes a huge difference when looking at the cost per watt of a home wind turbine.

Windmill Cost

Windmill prices can vary wildly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Just like with solar panels, I recommend paying attention to the dollars per watt ($/W) as a benchmark comparing different windmills. Even with this handy benchmark, you will still see wide variations in wind turbines prices. Many older manufacturers cater to industrial organizations that demand high reliability and have deep pockets.

At the other end of the spectrum, for those with low dollar per watt values, you have to accept that you are probably taking on some risk that the wind turbine may not last the full lifetime. Make sure you read the fine print regarding warranties. Length of warranty will often explain any premium on the dollars per watt that manufacturers charge. For this reason, I’ve also pointed out the length of warranty on each wind turbine where possible.

Sunforce 600W Land Turbine

Sunforce 600W Marine Turbine
  • Price: $729
  • Peak Output: 600 Watts
  • $/W: 1.215 $/W
  • Warranty Length: 5 years
  • Buy Here
The Sunforce wind turbine is my top pick. It has a very fair $/W, comes with a 5 year warranty, and the marine model is designed to withstand a harsher environment. Plus, it’s sold through West Marine which means you can get a no-hassle 2 year warranty for it. I feel this turbine offers the highest value for the home owner (or boat owner for that matter).

GudCraft WG400 400W

  • Price: $400
  • Peak Output: 400 Watts
  • $/W: 1 $/W
  • Warranty Length: 1 year
  • Buy Here

Windmax HY400 500W

Windmax HY600-3 750W
Windmax HY1000-5 1000W
  • Price: $700
  • Peak Output: 500 Watts
  • $/W: 1.4 $/W
  • Warranty Length: 0 year (No warranties for self-installed wind turbines)
  • Buy Here

All Power America APWT400A 400W

  • Price: $499
  • Peak Output: 400 Watts
  • $/W: 1.25 $/W
  • Warranty Length: 1 year
  • Buy Here

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