At the moment, we’ve 2 small Rutland 910s wind generators. One is 15 years old. I bought it as a winter back-up to four small solar panels I used when I first went off-grid. The other (A Furlmatic) is 7 years old. They’re rated at 75 watts each, but of course when the wind’s really blowing they give us more – up to about 250watts.
The first Rutland I bought has been through hell – re-sited three times and damaged twice. The first time was my fault – I dropped the head (It was heavier than I imagined.) and damaged the bit the pales push into. It was easy to fix, but left the unit with a slight rattle.
The second time it was damaged was during a terrible storm in 1999 which destroyed homes and forests all over Europe. The Furlmatic sailed through the storm with no ill effects, but we had twenty four metre roofing sheets stacked and covered and weighted down in front of the generators and the wind was so strong that it whipped them off one by one. Several sheets were forced around the mast of the old 910 and pushed it to the ground. When we went out to see it the next day three of the pales were broken and the head was bent and the back fin was damaged.
We got replacement blades and a new fin from Marlec – delivered in under a week – and we unbent the head and pulled the mast back up with the tractor and the bloomin’ thing still gives the same output as before – but rattles even louder !
For the money (around 700 euros each) and the reliability and availability of spare parts, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Rutland 910 series as a small low cost wind generator – especially as a complement to photovoltaic solar power.
This is an update to this post in the blog. I’ve just come across a PDF of a Rutland owners manual so HERE’s the link.
I’ve been looking for a larger turbine for a few months now. I’d love to be able to have a washing machine here. We’ve 600 watts of solar (450 more coming on Sunday !) but I need at least another 1000 watts to ensure that on a sunny windy day I can get my washing done without leaving the house and still have the luxury of a computer, television and good lighting for the evening.
With “Make your mind up time” looming nearer, (We’re going to need lights for working on the inside of the extension this winter and we need to get the cabling done and decide where to site all the material before we go any further on the east terrace outside) I was watching the price of some windchargers on Ebay and the sale of one of them finished around 4pm. At 2.30pm, we had an unexpected visit from a man who stopped off here once – to see our windgenerators – about two years ago.
He’s a very shy geeky little man who asked Fabrice technical questions that I answered and undaunted, he kept up the conversation on that basis. His general manner takes a little getting used, to but we stated talking about his system and I showed him and explained the working of ours and little by little he and I started making contact.
With electricity, Fabrice leaves all the design and technical stuff to me, but he’ll help me wiring and lifting which is all that a girl can ask for really. It’s very exciting having someone who lives nearby like this man, he knows about the things I know about and want to learn more about, that I’ve never, ever talked to anyone else about in person.
He suddenly stood up to leave and asked if he could take our old 600 watt inverter away that I’d mentioned earlier, adding that he might be able to fix it. Now, I’m desperate to see his workshop and learn more about fixing and making generators, it would be great not to have to worry about getting spare parts.
I smelt serendipity and this felt like an omen. He left just minutes before the Ebay sale ended, so I got on line quickly and bought the 2000 watt windgenerator and it’s coming with the panels on Sunday – if all my plans work out OK.
I’m very excited – Fabrice is even showing signs of anticipation, but there’s still a lot of work to do digging trenches, wiring, putting the panels and generator up and humphing around batteries, controllers and making things to keep things in etc. before we’ll be able to try it out.
I’ve spent about six months researching which generator to buy and how to buy it (There are grants in France for Renewable energy projects). I’d like to share that information with other people thinking of doing the same thing, but I’ll have to do some work on getting it all together before it’s a presentable post in the blog…
I do miss having a secretary.