If you’ve heard of the popular Skystream 3.7 by Southwest Windpower, then you’re probably familiar with their smaller wind turbine called Air-X. Air-X was introduced in ~2001 and flew off shelves, selling over 100,000 units. Building on the success of Air-X, Southwest Windpower recently released Air Breeze, its next iteration of the successful small wind generator. I first noticed an ad for Air Breeze in Natural Home Magazine last September and have since seen news of it popping up everywhere. Air Breeze was engineered to be quieter, more efficient, and more effective at lower wind speeds …
Depending on which version you get (12 or 24 VDC), Air Breeze ranges in price from ~$600 – $800. For that, you’ll get a small wind generator that can crank out 200 watts at 28 mph. Here are some specs, for those that are interested:
- Rotor diameter: 46 inches
- Weight: 13 pounds
- Start-up wind speed: 6 mph
- 38 kWh/month at 12 mph
So clearly, the Air Breeze isn’t going to power all your electrical needs, unless you’re living on hardly anything, but it can supplement what you’re doing. Southwest Windpower is marketing the turbine as a way to prepare for that rainy day — and that’s not too bad of an idea, I think. Why not prepare for a rainy day? Why not approach off-grid in the way we live?
By the way, in case you didn’t hear, a small wind provision was included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, aka the Bailout. The credit lasts from President Bush’s signing of the bill to December 31, 2016. For residential users, there is a credit of the lesser of $4000 or $1000 per kw of capacity. For commercial users, there’s an uncapped 30% credit. As a result, expect this legislation to fuel investments in small wind tech over the next few years.
Photo credits: Air Breeze.