July 5, 2006 The Skystream 3.7 wind generator is a significant product, being the very first fully integrated wind generator designed specifically for the grid-connected residential market. Put simply, the Skystream produces electricity for a fraction of the cost of current technologies and is directly connected to the home energy supply, supplementing power from the electric utility company and enabling electricity to be produced for sale to the utility or used at a later date. With a typical cost of US$8,000 to US$10,000 to purchase and install, the Skystream 3.7 can pay for itself in 5 to 12 years. This payback period will vary and can be much quicker in locations with investment rebates. It’s anticipated that Skystream 3.7 will save the average homeowner US$500 to US$800 per year, based on 4,800 to 6,600 kWh produced per year and a US$0.12/kWh cost of electricity. This output would provide 40 to 90 percent of an average home’s energy needs. In states like Hawaii, where the cost of energy and wind speeds are both high, Skystream 3.7 can pay for itself in less than 4 years.
A combination of new technologies, developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory over a three year period, has resulted in a product that is the first viable energy appliance that will wind your power consumption backwards when plugged into the grid and has the potential to make wind energy for the homeowner main-stream. With no batteries, Skystream 3.7 connects directly to the home to supply power. When the wind is not blowing, the home is powered by the electric utility.
“This new technology is an important step forward for small wind,” said Robert Thresher, director of NREL’s National Wind Technology Center. “As technology becomes more efficient at harnessing energy at low wind speeds, small-scale users will become more and more able to take advantage of wind power.”
The Skystream 3.7 has the same visual impact as a street lamp, and will not be suitable for many residential applications in urban environments. It is probably best suited to “fringe-of-urban” locations at present until restrictions on building codes in urban environments are eased to cater for alternative energy forms such as this.
The image library shows the Skystream 3.7 being installed in a residential environment.
For more details of the SkyStream, see the Windenergy site