Windy Day

It is blowing a gale outside as I write this, and we have battened down the hatches. There is a very strong northerly wind blowing and it is ripping off all sorts of things around town. Trees down all over the place, and the two massive gum trees across the road from us are shedding bark, leaves and branches, which all seem to be magnetically attracted to the bottom of my swimming pool. That prompted me to pull over the solar blanket to reduce wind evaporation. Also the wind just blew over my pea trellis that I constructed the other day! I will just have to build it again. It looks like it rained everywhere in the Melbourne area today except for a sprinkle in Melton. I kept watching the weather radar when I was working this morning and every rain cloud avoided the town like the plague. And then there was the dust storm. The sky was orange, and when I drove to acupuncture this afternoon, I could hardly see where I was going. I had to use the wipers to see.

There are three problems with this wind;

  1. The garden beds get wrecked and dry out quickly,
  2. Clouds of dust settle everywhere, and
  3. Most importantly, I don’t have a wind turbine!
Oh, I wish I had a wind turbine to harness all this energy. Just a small, quiet one rated at about 500 to 600 watts. It would have to be grid tied of course. I have been doing quite a bit of research on the subject of grid tied domestic wind power and I have come to the conclusion that there are not a lot of options available to me (yet). There are a relatively small number of vertical axis wind turbines on the market that don’t suffer from turbulence, but only one grid tied inverter that I know of that may do the job. That is the Windy Boy, manufactured by SMA, but I don’t think it is available in Australia. To grid tie a low voltage wind turbine I would need the low voltage Windy Boy (WB1100LV). From what I have read, it can handle an input voltage of 21 – 60 Volts and currents up to 62 Amps. The output is standard 240 VAC and syncs with the electricity grid. That way, I could supplement my energy production and generate power when the Sun isn’t shining, just like now. We also get many windy nights so that would help after sunset. I don’t want the fuss of maintaining a battery bank (nor the cost), and as I already have a grid tied Solar PV, it would compliment my existing system. I did notice that AmpAir have a grid tied residential horizontal axis wind turbine on the market that comes with its own inverter. It also looks promising but would need a high tower in my area.

I do have one concern with renewable energy grid tied systems of any kind, and that is, what happens when we loose our connection to the grid, or it goes down? We have lost it twice today for a second each time, and my Fronius I30 inverter dropped sync and took about 2 minutes to re sync, and then produce power again. I was generating about 700 watts at the time, and every minute counts as far as I am concerned. I have investigated this further and SMA also have a product called the Sunny Island which creates an independent grid. This is mainly used in remote areas or used to service remote villages. You can connect it to batteries which charge when there is an excess, and to a diesel generator in case your renewable source is off-line. You can even connect it to the national power grid as a backup instead of a generator. This is what I would do. The Sunny Island would maintain a grid on my side of the meter, effectively allowing me to use these sources if the national grid was off-line. I have no idea how much this would all cost, but how cool would it be to have your own grid!

Anyway, all of this is a bit of a pipe-dream at the moment because I don’t have the funds available. Maybe in a few years time, and after Kim’s new kitchen is built!

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  1. says


    Just wanted to inform you that the SMA Windy Boy is available to Australia. Also that the AmpAir 600W turbine you mentioned also uses the Wind Boy, they don’t actually produce their own inverter.

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