Why Not Put a Wind Turbine on Your Roof?

Wind turbines are cool. The might not be able to replace all the coal power plants in the world, but they're a great example of how old concepts and new technology can be put together like peanut butter and jelly to become a delicious source of power. Mag Wind MW1100They're also a great example of the sort of positive environmentalism that sees efficiency and economic growth as two sides of the same coin. I would go so far as to say that most of the various groups opposing wind farms around the country are really lame. But what if I wanted to join in on the blade-spinning fun, instead of just blathering on and on about it on the Internet? There's a cool-looking rooftop vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) from a company called Mag-Wind that looked really promising when I first saw it late last year. It's compact, doesn't require a tall mast, and it's designed specifically for roofs. Unfortunately, it might not be on the up-and-up. Paul Gipe at Wind-Works.org ran some numbers and he doesn't think the power output they are claiming is possible. There's also some talk of a fake Mag-Wind dealer (not actually authorized by the company) taking a whole bunch of people's money in North Dakota. More interesting discussion can be found at Treehugger. This is unfortunate because I had dreamed up a plan to put one of these guys on top of my roof any then buy a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt. Charging a battery at night is already cheaper than buying gas according to Prius conversions. I'm just the kind of geek who goes out and spends money on sort of thing. Now it is possible that the calculations are off, because no one seems to have been able to make any independent measurements yet. Maybe the assumptions are wrong - for example, when they say 1100 kWh/month in a 13 mph average wind, maybe they are talking about the wind measured in a clear area away from buildings, like you see on the weather report. Because of the "roof effect" the wind actually hitting the turbine would be more than 13 mph. Also, this isn't a completely fictional company, their representatives and distributors have contacted bloggers and other writers here and there. So I guess I'll hold out a little hope and keep an eye out for something to materialize from these guys. In the mean time, anyone have a recommendation for a roof-mounted wind turbine that definitely exists? Maybe the WindCube (man that is cheesy-sounding bad name)? Oh, and here's some footage of various wind turbines in action in Taiwan. Not too exciting, but it shows that some people have working VAWTs up and running. [youtube]n0_lmtfwUYg[/youtube]

  1. Hi Jason -
    There are a wide variety of wind turbines out there and I think the long term potential for replacing other energy sources comes from the diversity of production techniques. Huge offshore generators may produce a baseline amount that could be supplemented by smaller site-specific generators. Anyway, you might want to look at Iskra Small Wind Turbines since they are working on making generators available to individuals.

    I’ve written up some info on the overall wind market and it looks promising since a lot of money has been invested in this sector over the past few years:

    Scott E
    April 10th, 2007 at 4:01 am
  2. Aloha

    OK so I dont think there is any one here that has seen one of these first hand. How about a dealer?? My name is Micheal Angelo Leone and i live in Hawaii. i am an Architect and run 2 companies. http://www.HawaiiArchitectural.com and the other is http://www.HiWindPower.com

    Hee is the deal. The Texas company was paid to do beta models and proposed to handle production. but they sucked up all the money and the prototype failed. After some recoop and capital raising we have compnies in makeing the parts.

    I have 2 on the way to Hawaii and there are working beta models all over the place, even in Italy.

    The ones I have on the way are aluminum 10KW, 14′ wide and 8′ tall. I am a dealer and i know we are not finished yet with the testing and design. The nex run will be carbom fiber to cut down on weight and to be much stronger.

    If any one trys to say they are a dealer or to ask for deposits run. I am a dealer and I am bring these two here to test out a special shape designed for Hawaii winds. Dont give Jim the inventer a hard time! He is working very hard to make this happen, the design is so much better then what we are use to it has taked a long time to work out the bugs. Once you see these things your going to be impressed.

    Stop by every week or so to my web site and you can see updated photos and information. I wil be able to post full specs and roof mounting plans when i am finished with my 2 Hawaii installs.

    A word to the digers out there, you should be digging the fals dealers that took deposits and ran, they were never dealers with Mag-Wind. I think we are working on a program for any one that can prove they were ripped off for deposits by fake dealers, to offer them systems “at cost” when they are in production.

    Michael Angelo Leone

    June 7th, 2008 at 4:45 am

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