2009 - Volume #33, Issue #1, Page #18[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Home-Built Wind Turbine Pays Off
"I was exploring on the internet trying to get into wind turbines for four or five years," Troop says. "I'm getting up in years, and I wanted something that pays back quickly. I couldn't see spending $30,000 to $50,000. Then I found www.prairieturbines.com, which features a home-built turbine that costs less than $4,000."
Timothy McCall and Alan Plunkett of Derby, Kansas, designed the 5,500-watt turbine that doesn't require batteries or an inverter. They sell a book and kits so anyone who's handy with tools can build their own.
"I made my own 73-ft. tower using pipes off an old Doepker harrow drawbar," Troop says. He added a gin pole and cable block and tackle for lowering and raising the turbine for maintenance - greasing it about every six months.
Prairie Turbines sells a how-to book ($45) and a micro-controller ($255) that ties the turbine to the power grid. Troop purchased the items and spent 80 to 100 hours of his spare time building the tower and turbine. The book explains how to cut blades out of 2 by 12 boards but Troop says he made the mistake of using one with a knot in it.
"The knot caused the blade to break. Then the turbine came out of balance and caused the breakage of two more blades before the whole thing shut down," Troop says. "So the lesson is: Don't put up blades with large knots in them."
Troop spent about $7,000 for his turbine, but figures that if he had scrounged a little more he could have built it for $4,500. Part of the higher cost was because he hired an electrician to do the wiring - which he really could have done himself, he says. The local power company tied the system into the grid for no charge and was great to work with.
"Every farm should have a turbine," Troop says. "We have three houses on our farm, a machine shop, cattle watering bowl and large water reverse osmosis system, so I need 100 kWh a day. I'm averaging 25 to 35 kWh a day. I'm very, very happy with it. I'm thinking about adding a second one - a 10k unit."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Alvin Troop, P. O. Box 247, Quill Lake, Sask., Canada S0A 3E0 (ph 306 383-2575; altroop @sasktel.net).
Click here to download page story appeared in.
Click here to read entire issue
To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.