New Direction for Southwest Windpower

Southwest Windpower has recently announced it's new product release. Current owners of wind systems know all too well that when the wind blows we typically are left with cloudy days and vice versa during the heat of the summer.

Southwest has effectively answered that conundrum with their new product line of Skysream Hybrids. Combining the benefits of a solar tracking unit, with the advantages of an existing structure to mount the system, the new Skystream hybrid is the foremost product to power your home.

The Skystream Hybrid is no ordinary array! Using the GPS enabled microprocessor, the entire array will precisely rotate around the Skystream's tower with the sun to ensure maximum power output. The tracking system increases the solar output up to 35% as compared to a fixed array. That means more value for your investment.

With the same footprint as the wind turbine, you can squeeze more renewable energy potential into one spot. From an installer's standpoint, we know from our frequent sun burns that most places with great wind potential lack trees and obstructions that also limit wind potential. This makes perfect sense for those who are torn between choosing two great renewable products. After all, it's impossible to add wind to a solar array but thanks to microinverter technology we can finally add solar to wind!

New Tower : 70 Foot Tilt Up

​Southwest Windpower is proud to introduce a different kind of tower to Iowa. With the most acceptance of anywhere in the country, the new 70 foot tilt up towers are being spread around the state. Iowan's are now benefitting from the advantages of this tower in many ways.

One advantage is that installation can be performed even in less than perfect conditions as you can see from our winter installation outside of Vinton, Iowa. Monopole towers truly are zero maintenance and a hinging tower also means warranty, and service work ins't an intrusive process. With the smallest footprint in it's class, this configuration is ideal for those clients who prefer a simple wind system. The new hybrid system will be adaptable to this tower and upgradeable even after the installation. If you are possibly interested in a future system you just need to spec that out up front as the conduit run should be in place during the first pour of concrete.

Grid Future

We have all heard the talk of a smarter planet but just how smart will that planet be? The future grid is a topic central to the innovation behind revamping much of the 100 year old infrastructure. To date, many are speculating just what effects this will have on our existing lives. The marriage of the power and communications industry is a must bet as data monitoring is the centerpiece of the new “Smart Grid.”

The term smart just means faster and less wasteful but also implies many things that lazy Americans often overlook such as where their power is going in the first place, something that can be done with a $20 dollar kilowatt meter. What rarely is talked about however is the true possibility that lie before the oncoming Smart Grid. The integration of distributed generation as a means to transform the generation mix into a cleaner form is as inevitable as the rising sun (or blowing wind).

This transformation cannot be met with resistance from those who benefit the most from this boon. In fact, the generation could easily be met when considering the conundrum that 99% of the horsepower in the US in divided between the general public, however electricity production is the exact opposite. The reasons behind this can get fuzzy and often lead to a topic of conspiracy that is neither here nor there. What is important to identify is the best possible strategy for the future to ensure that member/consumers benefit more than the utility companies. The benefit to the utility company is a more efficient grid that is responsive in real time with data that doesn’t have to come from the field.

Consider this, adding even the smallest grid tied wind generator in the world to the generation mix gives a utility company a benefit. A real life scenario was the case in point at Allamkee Clayton Cooperative. A client of mine had just installed a Skystream. The machine would not work because it knew the line voltage was outside of the acceptable parameters of the given range to unlock itself and start spinning. After being told by the electrician that it was the machine and not the line voltage as I had suggested over the phone, I took a trip to the site to troubleshoot. Within minutes of arriving at the site I communicated to the turbine’s radio and found that his voltage had spiked that morning and was still above 134V on each leg.

The answer to our problem was a mile down the road in the form of a malfunctioned transformer, something the utility did not know because they rely on humans to call and let their insurance take care of the rest had the malfunction led to further problems with electronics. We end up paying for that insurance as those type of costs are always passed on in one form or another. A smart grid saves on this and thus should be added on to the savings needed over time to offset initial costs in this smart grid technology.

Probably the best approach a utility company can make is small baby steps towards this with innovative models that give customers the incentive to do this on their own. In other words, instead of using investor owner utility capital on lobbying the many bureaucracies needed for rate increases, such as the manner in which they are raising funds for nuclear expansion in Iowa for example, they would actually be letting the money come straight from the customer themselves. This, in effect, bypasses all of the costs associated with the legal battles at the state level. The utility company turns into a service based company rather than a provider. What the utility is failing to realize is that they could be way more profitable with a different model.

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