Welcome to Chris & Kristin Olson's place.

We live off-grid in Northern Wisconsin and our home is powered by wind and solar energy and two generators - a Honda EM4000SX for standby peak load power, and a Honda EP2500CX for standy primer power.

We are also avid sailors and fishermen (I guess Kristin is a fisherwoman?). Check out our boating, sailing and fishing page.

If you would like to view detailed weather data from our home weather station
Click here ->

 

Aug 1, 2013 - We have installed new power logging equipment for our Conext/Xantrex XW Power System.
Our XW Power System info and status ->

 
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Homebrew Off-Grid Projects

Who can use wind power?
If you live off-grid, chances are the bulk of your energy will come from solar. The generator will supply the bulk of the rest of your energy that solar doesn't provide. A wind turbine is only useful if you can use it to offset how much the generator runs, how deeply the battery gets cycled, and to fill in the gaps when you have poor solar conditions. In the summer a wind turbine is rarely needed for off-grid power if you have installed adequate solar generating capacity. In the winter, however, when the days are short in the higher latitudes, a wind turbine can be a valuable asset and save hundreds of hours on your generators and prevent deep cycling your battery. In orhter words, the wind power supplements the solar in winter time when the days are short. The wind can blow 24 hours a day, while the sun shines for only about 6-7 hours in winter.

Wind turbines are not cheap. They cost over 3x per kWh what solar power costs, and the tower is the most expensive component of a wind power system. Therefore, the need for a wind turbine for off-grid power must be carefully weighed against generator and battery cost in the long term. Wind turbines for grid-tie applications are not practical at all for residential power. I provide no support, nor do I build any turbines, for people that have grid power and want or use a wind turbine.

There are few wind turbines actually designed correctly for off-grid power. Most of the commercially built machines are toys, poor quality, they break, and do not produce anywhere near their claimed energy output. Years ago I developed a high-performance, off-grid wind turbine for our own home that addresses the shortcomings of the commercially built machines. You can build my design yourself (see the Homebrew Off-Grid Projects link above) and install it for your off-grid power needs for a cost of usually less than $5,000 with a suitable tower. I no longer build turn-key turbines and do installations as the cost is usually prohibitive for the customer, and makes it impractical. I supply the information on how to build your own turbine and I can build any parts for you that you do not have facilities to build yourself.

I have designed, built and tested several models over the years, however at the present I only build parts for two models - the DWP260 and DWP350. I provide an energy rating for my turbine designs at 5.0 m/s (11 mph) average wind speed because that is the most common average wind speed on a windy day. Peak power means almost nothing with wind turbines because the wind rarely blows hard enough to make peak power a practical rating. So a wind turbine that is advertised as 2 kW really ends up being a 200 watt turbine at the average wind speeds most sites experience.

The DWP260 is a 2.6 meter (8.5 foot) diameter turbine designed specifically for 24V systems. It operates at 80 volts open circuit and is designed for use with a Morningstar Tri-Star MPPT60-150V controller. I will produce 2.6 kWh/day @ 5.0 m/s wind speed. It uses either commercially available fiberglass blades or hand carved wood blades, and a simple 12 pole generator that is easy to build. This turbine is suitable for wire run distances that do not exceed 100 meters on 24V systems. It will produce 1.0 kW peak power.

The DWP350 is a 3.5 meter (11.5 foot) diameter machine for 24 or 48V systems. It operates at 150 volts open circuit, so can be used on wire runs up to 300 meters from the tower to your power room. It is designed for use with a MidNite Classic 150 MPPT controller. The 350 is a more advanced turbine with a complicated 20 pole three-phase generator. It can be used with either commercially available 3.2 meter fiberglass blades, or hand carved 3.5 meter wood blades. It is considerably more powerful than the DWP260 and produces 4.4 kWh/day @ 5.0 m/s wind speed. It will produce 2.2 kW peak with 3.2 meter fiberglass blades. With 3.5 meter blades it will produce 2.5 kW peak on 24V systems, or 3.0 kW peak on 48V systems.

Read on below if you want more information on these turbines, and check out the Homebrew Off-Grid Projects link above.

My DWP320 (3.2 meter) and DWP350 (3.5 meter) wind turbines are high voltage battery charging machines. Below is a slide show that chronicles the installation of our own DWP350 turbine

 

24V example power production at various average wind speeds for a 3.5 meter turbine.

rotor diameter 3.5 meters
generator type three-phase AC
startup wind speed 4.5 mph
cut-in wind speed 5-6 mph
power @ 10 mph 150 watts
power @ 15 mph 460 watts
power @ 20 mph 960 watts
power @ 22 mph 1.2 kW
power @ 25 mph 1.8 kW
peak power @ furling 2.5 kW

The 350 turbine is designed for use with a MidNite Classic 150 MPPT controller. The 320 turbine is designed for use with a Morningtar TS-MPPT60-150 controller. The proper power curve for the turbine model must be loaded into the controller. Click the link below to download the proper power curve for your turbine and controller model.

download power curves for my turbines ->

   
For Folks Interested In Off-Grid Power:
Feel free to email or call me if you feel you are interested in wind power for your off-grid home. I can build parts or assemblies like shafts, generator rotors, etc., for folks who have the facilities to do the basic building, welding and assembly, but do not have machine shop facilities available to them.

(left) servicing a 3.5 meter DWP350 turbine -- (right) our DWP350 turbine on its free-standing tower

© 2010-2013 Chris & Kristin Olson, Dairyland Windpower - all rights reserved