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Make sense of turbine comparisons


Comparing small wind turbines can be tricky without an understanding of exactly what affects the amount of energy they produce. This short guide explains a few important differences.

Making sense of small wind turbine comparisons.

Comparing small wind turbines can be tricky without an understanding of exactly what affects the amount of energy they produce.

This short guide explains a few important differences between the recent comparisons made between a Gaia-Wind 133 turbine and its nearest competitor.

Is A Gaia-Wind Small Wind Turbine Right For Me?

When it comes to small wind turbines, bigger blades are better!

The best way of comparing two small wind turbines is to first look at the most obvious comparison – size. More specifically look at the size of the rotors.  The technical term applied to the rotors is called the ‘swept area’, which literally means the size of the area ‘swept’ by the blades as they turn.

The bigger the rotor, the more wind it captures and therefore the more energy it generates. The relationship between swept area and output is linear, so (all other things being equal) if you double the swept area of a turbine you get double the output. The Gaia on the one hand has a swept area of 133m2 and its main competitor’s is 63.6m2 and in fact the same applies to all of Gaia-Wind’s competitors in the 5-20kW range.

Quite simply, the Gaia-Wind small wind turbine has a much bigger swept area and produces more power as a result.

The Rated Power Myth

Unfortunately, it has become common for wind turbines to be compared by looking at their maximum power output or ‘rated power’ in kilowatts (kW). The problem with this is that many manufacturers rate their products at very high wind speeds (usually 12m/s or more). This means that the turbine will only produce its rated power when the wind is blowing very hard – which is not that often.

It makes a lot more sense to see how much power a turbine will generate in the kind of wind speeds that are frequent in most parts of the UK – in the range of 4 – 9m/s. Because these lower speeds are much more common, a turbine that performs well in them will generate much more energy over the course of a year than one that performs best in the 10 – 15m/s range.

Tower Height

Also critical to performance is the height above the ground. Many small wind turbines are supplied on a 15m tower, whereas as a Gaia-Wind 133-11kW is typically supplied on an 18m tower, where the energy in the wind is 10% higher.

Annual Energy Capture

So how much electricity could you expect a Gaia-Wind turbine to generate per annum against the competition?  Lots of different factors influence energy capture, but it is possible to estimate and make a rough comparison. Evidence has shown that on a site with an average wind speed of 4.3m/s at 10m height, a Gaia-Wind 133-11kW should outperform its nearest competitor by about 20%. Assuming an electricity price of 10p per unit, this translates to approximately an extra £1,800 per year including the new feed-in tariff proposed by the Government.

What can I do now?

You can either arrange a site survey or place an order and see if you can benefit from a Gaia-Wind small wind turbine.

If you have a question or require more information please contact Gaia-Wind on  +44 (0) 845 871 4242 or by emailing us.

CONTACT US


Gaia Wind (Green Energy Solutions) Limited

1 Lochrin Square, 92-98 Fountainbridge,
Edinburgh, EH3 9QA,
Scotland, United Kingdom


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