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Wind Power
Pioneer Systems

Table of Contents

Wind_vs._Solar ?
Do_I have_enough_wind_at_my_location ?
Do_it_Yourself_Installation ?
How_big_should_my_Wind_Generator_be ?
Which_brand_of_Wind_Generator_is_best ?
How_can_Pioneer_Systems_help_me ?

Wind Generator Models sold by Pioneer Systems

AIR_X Wind Generator Brand
Whisper Series Wind Generators
Bergey Wind Generators

Why Alternative Energy ?

Most people consider Alternative Energy (AE) sources for 4 reasons: AE's efficiency, reliability, ecology, and taking responsibility & control of their personal energy needs.


Most public utilities are not very efficient.

For hydro-electric power, only a fraction of the water can pass through the turbines so as to not disrupt the rivers eco-system too severely, and the aquatic species that would be killed going through a turbine, and other competing uses for the water.

For coal, gas-fired, or nuclear, tremendous amounts of heat are generated by the "burning" of fuel.  Only about 40% to 60% of that energy gets converted into electricity.  The rest goes off as waste heat into the air or nearby water (lakes, rivers, etc.), disturbing the aquatic species with thermal pollution, etc.

Once electricity is created, it must be consumed immediately; it cannot be stored.  Fluctuations in supply & demand means that some of the electricity that is generated is not consumed.  In addition, there are 1% to 10% losses in the various electrical distribution systems due to heat, resistance, shorts & ground leaks, etc.


As we recently saw in the North-West US and Ontario in August 2003, small problems in one area can cascade through the entire system, causing synchronous failures and poor reliability of supply.  Public utilities puff their chest when they claim 99.9% up-time as their goal.  At 99.9% up-time, the public is still left in the dark with no electricity for 53 minutes each & every month.

If public utilities were interested in consumer's satisfaction, they would concern themselves equally between the cost per kW-hr paid by the consumer, the number of outages per month, and the maximum duration of all outages during the month.

Until the public utilities wake up and start to think and act the way their customers want them to think, and act, we are all at their mercy.
Using Alternative Energy, the consumer can control his energy and life directly.  This is the only practical way to end total dependency on the public utilities.


In Ontario, over half of our smog is created by burning coal to generate electricty.  If we installed the same number of wind generators that Germany has alredy achieved, we could eliminate the need for burning any coal to generate electricty.  It is estimated that over 1,000 people die each year in Ontario due to air pollution.

Are we ready to try a greener solution to our energy needs?

Taking Responsibility & Control

When we were babies, we were totally dependent upon our parents.  As teenagers, we wanted total independence.  As adults, we learned there is no such thing as total and complete independence; we have to work co-operatively with others.  As adults, we strive for optimum inter-dependence.  As Aristotle said, the optimum is "...the mean between the extremes...".
Alternative Energy systems  allow us to move our energy system from that of children to adulthood.

Are you ready to take on a more adult role for your personal energy supplies & requirements ?

Benefits of Wind Power

Wind is primarily created by thermal differences created by the sun.  As long as the sun shines, and can penetrate our smog, there will be wind.  Its renewable.  If there is no wind today, wind will probably be created tomorrow by the sun.

During storms, at night, and during the winter there tends to be more wind than during a bright sunny day.  Often, there is almost twice the wind power available during these time periods.

Our energy consumption tends to increase during dark, damp days; and during the winter.

The availability of power through the wind tends to correspond with when we want to use more energy.

Therefore, wind is an ideal supply source for some or most of our energy needs.

Wind vs. Solar ?

Solar tends to be much more expensive ($/kw-hr generated) than solar; sometimes 30% to 50% more expensive.

Solar tends to generate the greatest amount of energy when we least need it (nice, sunny days).

Therefore, most people who want Alternative Energy for their domestic needs should consider wind power first.

Adding solar to a pre-existing wind power  system is called a hybrid system.  Depending upon the wind power available at your site, this may be required.

Do you have enough wind at your location ?

There are wind maps that show the regional, annual average wind speeds.  While these show continent-wide trends, the micro-climates that exist in the hills, valley, and around buildings can create opportunities or defeat regional advantages.  Local climate data or wind monitoring over time can be beneficial in determining what's available.  However, there are many other signs that an experienced person can use to predict the local conditions.

In some cases, local micro-climates can be 200% better of what the national wind energy maps indicate.

Wind Generator Placement

Generally, the bottom (ie. lowest part) of the wind generator's blade should be at least 30 feet above everything that is within 500 feet of the wind generator's tower for ideal conditions.  Acceptable is 20 ft. above everything within 300 feet.

If your winds are predominately from one direction, this is the key area for clear space.  Other directions may be acceptable to have greater interference.

You also have to allow sufficient real estate to raise & lower the tower from time to time for maintenance, as well as guy wires (if used for your tower design).  Most guy wires are anchored between 24 ft. to 50 feet away from the centre of the tower.  In tight places, free-standing towers can be used (no guy wires).

Some people choose to locate their wind generator on their roof top or a tower beside their house.  Critical design issues from wind interference, lightning, roof leaks, vibration, noise, electrical and radio interference, and other issues need to be considered before proceeding with this option.

Do it Yourself Installations ?

Installing a wind generator can be a major challenge; even for the most skilled trades person.  If you choose this option, it certainly will be a large experience.

Consider the buying power of an expert in the field, how long it will take to learn what to do, practicing or learning on-the-job, and possibly doing it incorrectly (some of which may not be discovered until too late), and the liability and risk of getting it wrong.

To install a typical wind generator, you will probably need the following expertise:

  • Engineering calculations for wind energy availability
  • Survey of domestic energy needs & assumptions
  • Critical review of the various makes, models, & specifications for turbines that meet the user's needs
  • Engineering stress, strain, windload, and building code requirements
  • Soil/bedrock anchor & foundation design
  • Structural steel specifications and suppliers (tower)
  • Electrical design, cable sizing, local and national electrical code
  • Design of lightning, static, and electrical surge protection, grounding, & dissipation systems
  • Zoning, building code inspectors, approvals, permits, licenses, and liability insurance
  • Excavation &/or rock drilling
  • Cement forming, mixing, & finishing
  • Mechanical assembly, rigging, & hoisting
  • Checking for proper grounding, ground resistance
  • Construction site safety
  • Climbing tall, thin towers (may not be necessary if you plan it well)
  • Electrical conduit, wire pulling, termination, cable routing, water proofing
  • Batteries, battery room design, terminations
  • Electrical inverters, load dumps, and electrical metering

You may want to consider getting a professional to help.  Some wind generator professionals are even willing to have the owner intimately involved in the design and construction of your wind generator system.

How big should your Wind Generator be ?

Wind generators start at 400 watts for 28 mph winds (do high efficiency lighting for a whole house), and go up to megawatt sized units (small towns).

Before trying to decide on a wind generator size, conservation of electrical energy is the first step.  Most people cannot afford to generate their own electricity if we continue our wasteful electrical usage habits.

By making minor, almost invisible changes, we can reduce our electrical consumption by 25% to 50%.  Moving major heat sources from electricity to more efficient direct fueled appliances (ie. propane or gas-fired kitchen stoves instead of electric stoves, solar-assisted hot water heaters, etc.) will complete the transition.  Once this has been achieved, generating your own power at an economically affordable price (or capital investment) become a reality.

Which brand of Wind Generator is best for me ?

This depends upon hundreds of details that your wind energy expert needs to discuss with you to determine the best selection to fit your needs and lifestyle.  Not only does the current situation need to be considered, but also your future needs, and projected changes in the local and world energy systems, public utilities, etc.

How can Pioneer Systems help me ?

The people behind Pioneer Systems are Professional Engineers with over 2 decades of experience in renewable energy systems, solar heating, wind power, PV solar power systems, and remote living.

Not only do we do the design, installation, and servicing of these systems for our customers, we live with them day-to-day on our own remote site that is 100% off-the-grid.  Not only do we know the theory, we live the practice in our own lives.

Pioneer Systems specializes in:
  • Technical design
  • Risk assessment & management
  • Project Management & Scheduling
  • Component selection & distribution
  • Quality Assurance & Inspection of new & existing systems
  • Feasibility studies
  • After-sales service
  • Retro-fit of existing systems
  • Troubleshooting & Problem Solving
  • Grid Inter-tie
  • Net Metering systems
  • UPS and backup power
  • Hybrid system optimization
  • Computer simulation of current & proposed systems
  • Operation, instrumentation, & management of systems
  • Construction Inspection
  • Technical training for Owners, users, & service personnel
For more information, contact:

Glenn Black   P.Eng.  CQE  CQA
Pioneer Systems
Contact Pioneer Systems

Wind Generators Sold & Serviced by Pioneer Systems

The AIR X represents the latest evolution in small wind turbine design.

Ideal for home and cottage power systems, the AIR X will complement a solar charging system by providing power when the weather is at its worst.  It will deliver power in as little as 12 kph (7 mph).  The new microprocessor based speed control results in increased performance, improved battery charging capability and the reduction of “flutter” noise from the machine. 

Air-X wind turbine

Air X Features Include:

· carbon fiber composite blades
· Three Year Warranty 
aircraft quality aluminum alloy castings
exclusive auto-brake-feature 
maintenance-free – only two moving parts
- rated for 5 to 10 years service life for main bearings
· exclusive brush-less neodymium cubic curve alternator
· sophisticated internal battery charge regulator prevents battery over-charge
high wind safe mode-automatically slows turbine in potentially damaging winds,  and reduces noise

Þ Rated Power:  400 watts @ 45 kph/28 mph
Þ Voltage:  12 or 24 VDC
Þ Blade Diameter:  1.14 meters / 46” 
Þ Weight:  5.9 kg / 13 lbs

Monthly Avg. Power Production
Instantaneous Power Production, watts
Wind Generator Case Study
This Case Study provides a case study & pictures for an Air-X 400 watt wind generator installation designed & installed by Pioneer Systems for a remote, wilderness cottage which is off-grid.
Completed installation on Manitoulin Island
The installed wind generator on the 45 ft. tower, with the proud owner at the base.
Looking up the 45 ft. wind generator tower
Looking up the 45 ft tower, we can see the electrical box at the base, and the two sets of guy wires at 24 ft. and 42 ft elevation
Base of tower with lightning protection & generator output
The tower base showing the electrical junction box and lightning protection system.
Tower, guy wires, lightning protection, & generator
A close-up view of the top end of the 45 ft. tower, the guy wires, lightning protection, and the wind generator on top.

Whispers feature a cast aluminum frame and smooth, quiet operation of the patented “angle-governor” furling design.  Whispers feature a very efficient, slow speed permanent magnet alternator powered with an advanced airfoil.  This design eliminates brushes and improves reliability.  The WP H80 has injection molded, fiberglass filled, custom polymer blades.  The WP-175 has carbon reinforced fiberglass blades with foam core.  WP-175 redesigns have incorporated a stronger, larger yaw shaft, new blade stabilizer straps and a third spindle bearing for increased reliability.

The EZ Wire control center features adjustable charge regulation, digital monitoring and a stop switch.  It uses a dump resistor to dissipate excess wind energy when the batteries are full.      

2 Year Warranty            Built for survival in winds to 190 kph (120 mph)

Southwest Whisper  WP-80, 1000 watts

  • Rated Power = 1000 watts
  • Start up Wind mps/mph = 3.1/7
  • Rated Wind mps/mph = 10.5/24
  • Diameter m/ft = 3.0/10
  • Weight kg/lbs = 30/65
  • Battery Voltage = 12-48


  • Rated Power = 3000 watts
  • Start up Wind mps/mph = 3.1/7
  • Rated Wind mps/mph = 12/27
  • Diameter m/ft = 4.6/15
  • Weight kg/lbs = 70/155
  • Battery Voltage = 12-48


Bergey Wind Generators:

BERGEY BWC EXCEL –R : This wind generator has a simple design with 3 moving parts, a direct drive PM alternator and a heavy-duty construction. The Bergey BWC EXCEL is designed for 30+ years of performance. It has been proven for over 50 million operational hours, and has a patented Powerflex Rotor System, and Autofurl automatic storm protection.


Bergey BWC Excel-R 7500 watts

  • Rated Power = 7500 watts
  • Start up Wind Speed = 7.5 mph
  • Rated Wind Speed = 31 mph
  • Furling wind speed = 36 mph
  • Cut-in wind speed = 8 mph
  • Rated rotor speed = 310 RPM
  • Max. design wind speed = 125 mph
  • Net Weight = 1,050 lbs
  • Battery Voltages = 24-240
  • Rotor Diameter 23 ft/7 meters
The graph on the right shows 9 different wind turbines that are commercially available.

This graph of the manufacturer's test data shows how they compare to each other for power production vs. wind speed.


The majority of these 9 different turbines seem to be in one family; some better than others.  There is a factor of 10 difference (eg. 3200 watts vs. 300 watts for the same wind speed) between the very best and the least in this family.

In the above graph, one turbine is significantly different from all others (light turquoise colour); it starts at higher wind speeds (not good), peaks at a lower power output (not good), and has a steep drop-off in power output at higher wind speeds (not good).  In spite of this consistently worse performance, the manufacturer has sold thousands of this wind turbine to eager customers.

Who is buying this significantly worse turbine?  Why are Alternative Energy dealers (supposed experts) selling these wind turbines to customers?  Did the customer know and give informed consent prior to buying this model of turbine?

At Pioneer Systems, we make sure you know as much as we know before you decide.  You can buy with confidence, knowing that Pioneer System is watching your back.

Some dealers will recommend the equipment that maximizes their profit, rather than what you really need.  That's why, unlike most Alternative Energy dealers, Pioneer Systems charges a reasonable fee to do an assessment of your needs, and recommend the best solution for you.  We are out to do our best for you.

Original Version:  May 17, 2001

2001-2009   Pioneer Systems   All rights reserved.  All other material owned by their respective copyright holders
Page Last Modified:   04-May-2009 05:45:36 PM -0500