Nowadays, small wind professionals are either complaining bitterly about the competition from solar or joining happily to the solar ally. Under the pressure of selling more, some people ignored the simple fact that, “A wind turbine needs WIND to work its magic.” A small wind turbine might have been installed in an area where is not enough wind. No wonder we heard that wind turbines do not work.
Wind and solar are not created equal, no matter its cost, incentives, financing options, zoning requirements or complexity. While there are a lot of good places to install solar, small wind turbine installations are more about picking the right location. The stronger the wind, the more power production and the better return on investment for a customer.
There are five major approaches to pick a good wind location. The first approach is to use free online wind maps, such as ones offered by small wind associations, airports or the map companies. You will only get general wind information in the area.
The second approach is to use subscription-based online wind reports. For example, you can generate an Osiris 10 wind report for your customer using New Roots Energy by picking Osiris 10 turbine, inputting tower height and your customer’s address. The wind speed is populated and the power production is calculated based on manufacturer verified power curves.
The third approach is to use a comprehensive online wind analysis services. Wind Analytics claims that a recent study from Energy Trust of Oregon found that Wind Analytics is up to eight times more accurate than other wind mapping solutions. It performs site-specific obstruction analysis, recommends turbine location and tower height for a recommended turbine.
The forth approach is to test the real wind speed at customer property using anemometer over a period of time. Some states may offer anemometer loan program.
The fifth approach is to use consulting services including actual site visits. I enjoyed reading a 23-page Wind Turbine Site Assessment Report developed by CS2 Renewable Energy in Illinois for a school project. There are many of such services available in different states.
From approach one to five, the accuracy of wind report goes up along with the effort and cost. There is no right or wrong approach. It all depends upon your customer’s situation and requirements. However, it is not right to give customers empty promises without going through the exercises of performing wind analysis.
To engage happy customers, get more referrals and build a profitable long-term business, small wind professionals shall pick the right battlefield instead of simply putting blame on solar.
Filed Under: News, Projects