The future of green electricity arrived.
Why do without energy, if the wind does not blow? Or the sun does not shine? Why not use both energy sources at the same time?
Just like that, the idea of a combined solar/wind generator has been born.
A start-up named Bluenergy USA has designed the Bluenergy Solarwind™ which is a vertical axis wind turbine based on sailing engineering. The wind rotor is rotated by two spiral-formed vanes. For best performance, these vanes are covered in solar cells, so that sun and wind produce electricity as one element. The system installation costs are relatively small and the system produces no noise or significant shadowing, can be easily maintained from ground level, and is an attractive addition to any home.
The wind surface is completely equipped with Photovoltaic modules which gives it that special extra decorative look.
The 5 kW Bluenergy Solarwind™ Turbine‘s double-helix curved wind vanes are mounted on a vertical axis and covered with solar cells. Instead of using glass, the cells are covered with clear Teflon.
The manufacturer states the turbine will generate electricity in breezes as low as 4 mph and is designed to produce power in winds up to 90 mph; speeds far higher than horizontal axis turbines are able to operate in. It’s also reported to be silent in operation. An interesting point is that when the wind is blowing, the solar cells are cooled by the rotation, which is said to assist in maximum electricity generation.
It’s quite an imposing structure, standing at around 18 feet high and 6 feet wide but given the design, I guess for some it would make an interesting artistic statement as well as being a source of electricity. There’s something very “2001: A Space Odyssey” about it – the monolith scene the beginning of the movie.
With this new and spectacular design, the company has seemingly solved the “ugly” factor that is currently associated with both Solar Panels and Wind turbines. A comparison of the Solarwind Turbine versus traditional solar and wind in a large home or office application seems to yield favorable results for the product although the data is provided by the company itself so certain factors may be excluded.
At $7 per watt, the SolarWind turbine is competitive with traditional solar and wind turbine alternatives. If you are looking to invest in this company, you are going to have to bring your checkbook. It is currently a privately held company that is looking for individual investors willing to part with at least $50,000.
BLUENERGY SOLARWIND™ TURBINE
Wind turns the 5 kW Bluenergy Solarwind™ Turbine‘s “double-helix designed” curved wind vanes mounted on a vertical axis and covered with solar cells double-sealed in clear Teflon. Electricity produced by both turning generator and solar cells is merged in an enclosed inverter and delivered as 120/240 VAC.
The Solarwind™ is self-contained in only 60 square feet. The 5 kW model is 18’ tall and 6’ wide including turbine, generator, and inverter.
Approximate cost & production
$7/Watt installed or $35,000. Produces 1,100 kWhrs/month.
(av. mean speed 12mph @3kW x 9 hrs x 30 days/mo = 810 kWhrs/mo from wind + 2 kW x 6.5 hrs x 24 days/mo = 312 kWhrs/mo from sun)
Aesthetic & environmental considerations
Dramatic, organic design is an architectural and artistic statement. Scalable size and design elegance enhance rural, residential and urban settings. Silent, harmonious and safe for a plant, animal, and human life.
Generator starts at 4 mph with no upper wind speed limit; power rated > 90 mph. Generates with no sun in a breeze, day or night, or with the sun on calm sunny days. Solar and wind power is additive and cumulative 24/7: ~ 37 % production time (capacity) factor.
Installation & maintenance
Recommended installation on the ground requires minimal equipment and crew (no crane), with generator and inverter mounted and sealed in a single 6’ diameter base. The complete system is ready to connect to buildings or net-meters into the electrical grid.
Unsubsidized kilowatt hour cost projections
Total cost (including replacing one small generator): $42,000.
Projected Total System Output: ~ 330,000 kWhrs.
1 kWhr cost averages: 13 ¢ / kWhr.