- How can I use WindStax?
- Can WindStax be used to net meter?
- Can WindStax be used for a wind farm?
- How much power does WindStax generate?
- The better question about power: How much usable electricity does WindStax produce?
- The best question about power: How much usable electricity does WindStax store?
- How much do they cost?
- What about installation, service and support?
- What do I need to install one?
- What wind characteristics do I need for WindStax to work?
- Am I in a good wind area?
- How noisy are they?
- What is the carbon footprint of WindStax compared to diesel generators?
- Do WindStax qualify for alternative energy incentives or tax credits?
- What about zoning regulations?
- Do WindStax attract or kill birds or bats?
- Can I see one?
- Green looks good on me. How can I get involved with WindStax?
- I’m all in. Do you have a dealer or partner program?
- Is WindStax hiring?
1. How can I use WindStax?
- – All WindStax customers pay less to the utility company – some customers pay zero to the utility company. WindStax turbines generate electricity from wind energy. Electricity is stored in batteries and powers house loads on demand. Stored wind energy is used before utility company energy. If the batteries or wind cannot keep up then utility power is used as a backup. Clean green energy becomes the primary source of power and utility power is there if you need it. We call these microgrids. Smart.
- – Some customers power specific buildings or “zones” within buildings. For example, a multi-tenant commercial building may power their common area lighting with WindStax with separate utility meters for tenants. Surprise and impress tenants when you give them a green energy credit for their common area maintenance expenses. Keep the tax credits for the holiday party and accumulate valuable Renewable Energy Credits for the life of the system.
- – Uninterrupted Power System back up (UPS). WindStax can provide electricity seamlessly if you lose utility power. WindStax senses a loss in utility power and automatically switches to battery power. How fast? How about 10 milliseconds fast. You have power for hours or days depending on the application. Ingeniously, our system can be set to use house current to help top off the WindStax batteries if needed.
- – Eaton’s Blackout Tracker reported 14.2 million people in the US in 2014 affected by power outages at a cost of $150 billion in damages to the economy annually. WindStax provides power right now. Like a standby generator for emergencies but without the fuss, noise, uncertainty and expense of a gas or diesel generator:
Unlike a standby generator, WindStax stores power at all times, ready in an instant in case of a power failure. In addition, they do not get water in the fuel, a frozen starter, a mouse in the carburetor, clogged filters, or tireless search for 100 other reasons not to start when they are needed the most.
- – WindStax power is pure sine wave electricity capable of running your most sensitive electronics. That power is cleaner than typical house current and far more stable than electricity produced by combustion generators.
- – Off-grid and remote power:
- – Remote irrigation systems; feed systems, monitoring and alarm systems. Golf courses love WindStax
- – Natural gas and other pipeline distribution systems requiring power. WindStax 40s can replace a diesel generator and tender to run pump jacks in remote oil and gas fields. A cluster of WindStax can run electronics on multiple well pads.
- – Intermittent exterior lighting in parks and campgrounds.
- – Green energy charging or comfort stations on trails and other remote recreational facilities.
- – Fairs, festivals, and special events should consider our mobile unit. It’s hard to be modest when you a draw a crowd. WindStax are a great way to promote your event while showing off your commitment to the environment. Who wants to hear and smell a noisy generator at a concert or outdoor event?
2. Can WindStax be used to net meter? Net metering is selling excess electricity back to the utility company.
- – WindStax can be used for net metering. However, net metering is a complex and expensive undertaking regardless of your source of alternative energy. Each state and utility has different rules, regulations, and limitations on net metering.
- – Despite what competitors might tell you, net metering rarely makes economic sense. Utilities like to sell electricity – not buy it from their customers. We can talk you through a better and more cost-effective method of saving money by generating and storing electricity to use where and when you need it.
- – The WindStax approach to interconnect is different. We pioneered microgrids. In effect, our customers produce and store their own electricity and use the utility as a backup to green energy. Your wind power system functions as the primary source of electricity. If consumption exceeds the battery capacity and the ability for the wind to keep up with demand, our smart control system switches back to grid power. The utility takes over while the batteries recharge. Once they are charged, the system switches back to green energy. In that way, you are consuming 100% of the green energy your are capturing. It’s an elegant alternative to the messiness of net metering.
- – WindStax systems also have an option to start and run a natural gas generator should the batteries deplete faster than you consume power, leaving the utility power as a third and final resort. We can design and install this system including a matched generator that can get you all the way off the grid. Now that is energy independence.
- – If your alternative energy is net metered your home or business goes dark. With our microgrid solution, when utility power is lost, your power stays on because you enjoy the benefits of a powerful uninterrupted power source.
- – If you are interested in net metering all of our units can net meter in lieu of battery storage. If you have the land, resources, and electricity demand to take net metering to a higher level of generation, see the following FAQ.
3. Can WindStax be used for a wind farm?
- – Yes, an array of WindStax would make a nice wind farm under certain conditions.
- – Today’s traditional wind farms consume approximately 10 acres of land per megawatt and come with a host of challenges for developers. Dozens of large WindStax can fit within that same footprint avoiding many of those challenges.
- – In fact, recent research shows that vertical axis wind turbines placed together in a close array can yield ten times the energy as when more widely spaced. Sandia Lab researchers think the VAWT design can be scaled to 10 megawatts more easily than traditional horizontal axis turbines.
- – WindStax are great for community-wide microgrids. Microgrids are modern, small-scale versions of the centralized electricity system. Think of a subdivision or multi-tenant building. Talk to one of our experts about community microgrids.
4. How much power does WindStax generate?
- – WindStax produces and begins to store electricity at very low wind speeds. As the wind increases, the amount of electricity generated increases. Just like all wind turbines, factors like elevation above sea level, temperature, wind density, and barometric pressure effect power output.
- – Unlike other wind turbines, WindStax generates electricity for its internal controls and management system and stores that power to be used when it is needed. Clean, reliable power comes from the batteries and inverters – not directly from the turbine generator.
- – Unfortunately, there is no regulatory standard to compare one turbine to another. This is particularly true of vertical axis turbines. The rated power system used on all wind turbines can be confusing and sometimes misleading. Nameplate capacity is often based on projected output at 27 mph wind speed at sea level. No location in the US has a median annual wind speed this high. A better metric is Annual Energy Output (AEO), sometimes called Annual Specific Yield.
For the sake of comparison, WindStax AEO at 12.5 m/s average wind speed with low standard deviation is approximately:
- WindStax 20 – 5,668 – 9,165 kWh/yr
- WindStax 40 – 11,336 – 18,330 kWh/yr
5. The better question about power: How much usable electricity does WindStax produce?
- – WindStax 20 and 40 base units come with 120Vac/60Hz 4,000 watt continuous/5400 watt surge rated inverters. Larger units up to 17,600 watts are available with multiple units in clusters. That is pure sine wave power by the way, cleaner than many public utilities. We have 120/240Vac/60Hz single phase setups. Some 230V/50Hz international voltage options are available.
- – Every WindStax system accepts more wind turbines or solar power, making your WindStax scalable. Hybrid electronic options allows us to aggregate alternative energy into one centralized control and distribution system.
- – Electrical consumption is highly variable by region, season, time of day, and electronics. Ratings can be deceiving – even big appliances like refrigerators use their rated power only on startup.
- – To estimate how much power you need is a fairly simple formula. Check this DOE website for estimating energy consumption.
6. The best question about power: How much usable electricity does WindStax store?
- – WindStax use sealed maintenance-free 100 percent recyclable deep cycle AGM (absorbent glass mat) batteries. The storage capacity of WindStax is measured in terms of amp-hours. The ampere-hour rating divided by the load in amps will provide the estimated time of that cycle. For example, a 12V battery rated for 200 Ah (for a 10-hour rate) will deliver 20 amperes of current for 10 hours under standard temperature conditions (25C or 77F). We use 12V, 24V, 48V, or 380VDC battery banks depending on the application.
- – WindStax batteries are modular so we can increase storage capacity depending on customer demand. Our experts can calculate battery requirements for you whether you want 3 hours or three days of back up power. Theoretically, WindStax storage capacity is limited only by the wind and solar power available to keep them charged depending on the duration of the off-grid load requirements.
- – For 20+ year life cycle in a non-toxic battery, we offer revolutionary Aqueous Hybrid Ion technology (AHItm) from Aquion Energy.
7. How much do they cost?
- – Death, taxes, and electric bills? We have been programmed to think paying for electricity is an unavoidable cost of living or cost of doing business. A utility payment is a monthly expense with no capital return on investment (ROI). The Department of Energy reports average residential electricity rates rise about 3% annually. Customers pay sales and other taxes on utilities. Generating your own electricity is an investment that makes financial sense. Once the system breaks even, customers hedge against future electric rate increases AND enjoy free electricity for the life of the system – 25 years or more. Where else can you possibly find an income tax-free return on investment while also saving the planet? An investment in WindStax adds value to your property and can pay for itself several times over.
- – WindStax has two standard units – 20 foot tall and 40’ tall. The base units are the core of our wind power systems. Each has the same ground footprint, the larger one is twice as tall. They arrive fully assembled and ready to set in place.
- – Our mission is to provide reliable and affordable green energy with as little fuss as possible. The current price of our WindStax 20 is US $19,900. The WindStax 40 is $34,750 before federal, state, and local incentives. Contact us for accessories, upgrades, delivery, and installation pricing.
- – Our microgrids have battery storage, enough to replace a backup generator in most cases. When comparing the cost of WindStax to solar or other grid-tied systems without batteries, remember to factor in the cost of a diesel, LP, or gas generator for backup power. They start at $7,000 professionally installed. Microgrids are like a large uninterruptible power source when utility power is lost. Clean and green peace of mind.
- – Depending on your geography and power needs, we optimize your unit with semi-custom options in the categories below. WindStax systems are scalable – we can upgrade your system as your needs change in the future.
- Annual estimated wind density
- Battery storage capacity required
- Peak and off-peak electricity demands
- Control requirements (for example, wired or wireless remote)
- Monitoring requirements (we have a nifty professional grade weather station)
- Remote monitoring – we can monitor your WindStax performance from our office or smart phones 24/7.
Our experts will help determine the options right for your application.
8. What about installation, service and support? WindStax are lightweight, portable, and can be installed just about anywhere.
- – We deliver and install the unit at your location.
- – WindStax requires little maintenance with very few moving parts. However, we offer service contracts including an unprecedented 48-hour component swap-out service for electronics. If something breaks, we fix it right now.
9. What do I need to install one? WindStax are unloaded and moved horizontally, then tilted or lifted into place. We provide full-service installation of our units or we can manage a local contractor to perform the work.
- – Dry compact soil works for our concrete base. Concrete slabs can support WindStax 20s but will need to be reinforced or replaced for our WindStax 40s. Our engineers will make that decision.
- – Better yet is our zero-carbon footprint foundation using repurposed utility pole pilings. For our WindStax 20s only, this method is much less expensive and easy on the environment.
- – In challenging terrain or for multiple turbines, WindStax offers an amazing steel foundation drilled into place without the fuss and delay of concrete. Galvanized steel foundations have a 50 year warranty and we can install this foundation and WindStax turbine the same day. Really.
- – A WindStax 20’ turbine weighs approximately 2320 pounds. A WindStax 40′ weighs 4862 pounds. A light crane or boom truck is used for setting the turbines in place. In most cases we can set a turbine in place in one hour or less.
10. What kind of wind do I need for WindStax to work?
- – Wind speed and direction changes seasonally and even daily. Steady average wind speeds are best for wind energy.
- – WindStax operates in wind speeds as low as 5 mph and can withstand wind gusts to 90 mph. We have hardened options for more hostile environments.
- – WindStax are omnidirectional – that is, they capture wind from all directions.
- – If the rotor is spinning, it is creating electricity. How much electricity depends on other factors like wind density, relative humidity, and elevation above sea level. WindStax come in several configurations designed to work best in your location and your power needs.
11. Am I in a good wind area? Do you have a steady wind approach – an unobstructed view to the Northwest, West, or Southwest (in the United States)? If so, chances are good that WindStax may work for you.
- – WindStax work well in some Class 2 and higher wind power areas. Refer to the map above for a general idea of the wind classification in your area. Check the Wind Energy Resource Atlas of the US for more detailed wind power maps.
- – Higher elevations are great but we have found some good wind areas on lakefronts, ocean or bay fronts, valleys, and particularly river valleys.
- – Contact us and we will provide a free wind analysis of your site.
- – We also have a remote weather station program available whereby we install pre-programmed equipment to record wind and weather data over time. Installation is simple and live data is sent to us remotely over the Internet. With this service we can project wind power very accurately for your location. Sorry, we do not have a loaner program for weather stations.
12. How noisy are they?
WindStax are so quiet you will struggle to hear any noise standing next to one operating. Even at high speeds, the ambient wind noise far exceeds the sound from our wind power system. For comparison, standing curbside on a busy street is about 80 decibels. Normal speech is around 60 decibels; the quietest small gasoline generator idles at 49-60 decibels. WindStax operate near 38 decibels – about the sound of a quiet desk fan at low speed from one meter away.
13. What is the carbon footprint of WindStax compared to diesel generators?
Diesel: 333 – WindStax: 0. The average diesel engine burns 99 percent of its fuel. The remaining 1% will fail to oxidize and will be emitted into the air as particulates or unburned hydrocarbons. The 99% that burns will produce, on average, 22.2 lbs. of CO2 per gallon of diesel. If your neighbor’s diesel generator burns 15 gallons of fuel per hour, it produces 333 pounds of CO2 per hour. (Cough) Wind turbines have no emissions.
14. Do WindStax qualify for alternative energy incentives or tax credits?
WindStax may qualify for green energy incentives from states, local utilities and federal tax credits. WindStax may qualify for the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit, which is a 30% tax credit for the cost of our units and installation. There is no ceiling and you can carry over credits to subsequent years through 2016. Contact us or check the US Department of Energy’s database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency for incentives available in your state.
15. What about zoning and other regulations?
- – WindStax are low enough to not be subject to local zoning restrictions for height restrictions, windmills, and towers.
- – WindStax may not be considered permanent structures under local zoning regulations, therefore require no building permit. Each locality is different. We suggest a quick call to your friendly municipal government office and ask.
- – We can provide stamped engineering drawings for the foundation, which may be subject to local building codes.
- – If WindStax are tied to a permanent structure, local and national electrical codes must be followed.
16. Do WindStax attract or kill birds or bats?
- – No. According to USGS, bat fatalities have been documented at nearly every traditional turbine wind farm in North America. However, there have been no documented cases of bird or bat kills with vertical turbine installations. In fact, a WindStax 40 will be powering the Audobon Society of Western Pennsylvania headquarters in 2017
- – WindStax are designed to capture wind energy at slow speeds within a small land and air “footprint”. In contrast, the swept area of large turbines exceeds 1 acre and blade tip speeds are 132-182 miles per hour.
- – Recent evidence suggests that insects are attracted to the colors of traditional wind turbines (usually white or grey to blend with the sky). Insects attract birds and bats. WindStax use natural materials and finishes blending perfectly into the environment.
Read more about research on bird and bat mortality at wind farms from the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative (Spring 2010) Wind Turbine with Birds, Bats, and their Habitats.
17. Can I see one?
Yes, you can. Follow us on FaceBook to find out where in the world a mobile demo unit is going to be. Our customers are also proud to show off their WindStax in action. We will let you know if we have an installation in your area.
18. Green looks good on me. How can I get involved with WindStax?
- – An easy way to show your support of green energy is to like us on FaceBook, follow us on Twitter, and tell your friends about WindStax.
19. I’m all in. Do you have a dealer or partner program?
- – We are currently developing an affiliate and dealer program for North America and internationally. Drop us a note if you think you or your company are ready to take alternative energy in a new direction – vertical.
- – WindStax is always looking for strategic partners to help our company grow. Let us know how you might want to participate or contact us about opportunities.
20. Is WindStax hiring?
WindStax is growing and will be posting career openings for enthusiastic people soon. Watch for career opportunities on our FaceBook page.
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