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How the Honeywell Small Wind Rooftop Turbine Works
The Honeywell Wind Turbine WT6500 looks different than other commercial windmills; it looks like a cross between a fan and a spoked wheel. The reason the Honeywell looks the way it does is because it uses gearless "Blade Tip Power System" or BTPS technology to produce energy from the blade tips, instead of a mechanical center gear. This design creates little mechanical resistance, allowing the blades to move freely in low winds.
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The Honeywell Wind Turbine is equipped with magnets and stators in the outer frame that capture energy from the blade tips. To make the turbine more efficient, it is mounted on a movable base that automatically swivels according to the direction of the wind. The blades start moving at a wind speed of 1 mph, but the turbine does not start generating electricity until a minimum speed of 2 mph and it automatically cuts off and stops generating electricity when wind speeds reach 42 mph.
Energy generated from the turbine is transferred to the included "Smart Box" battery system, which is attached to the household electrical panel. The battery system stores energy and buffers output to the electrical panel.
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Benefits of Small Rooftop Turbines
The manufacturer of Honeywell Wind Turbines estimates that the turbine will generate 2,000 kWh a year of renewable energy in class 3 wind speeds and 2,500 kWh a year of renewable energy in class 4 wind speeds. At class 4 wind speeds, the manufacturer estimates the Honeywell Wind Turbine WT6500 will generate 20 percent of the average household’s yearly energy use.
Gearless turbines are becoming increasingly popular in the small residential wind turbine market. They are quiet enough for use in urban residential neighborhoods and can be used in small wind areas that are not suitable for traditional wind turbines. With very few mechanical parts, maintenance costs are minimal.
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Disadvantages, Doubts about Small Rooftop Turbines
The Honeywell Wind Turbine is expensive, and it may be that the turbine will never pay for itself unless you are able to get grants and rebates to reduce your costs. The manufacturer tested the Honeywell Wind Turbine at the height of an approximate four story building. Most residential homes are far shorter than a four story building. Will the Honeywell Wind Turbine perform as well as estimated when installed on the rooftop of a shorter building? At this time, we don't know.
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Cost of the Honeywell Small Wind Rooftop Turbine
The manufacturer's suggested retail price for the Honeywell Wind Turbine WT6500, including the Smart Box battery charge system, is $6,495. Tack on an additional $2,000 or so for installation, electrical wiring, and permit fees and you are looking at an approximate total of $8,495. So, how long would it take to recoup your investment?
To figure out how long it would theoretically take to recoup your investment, we will assume the turbine generates the maximum estimated output of 2,500 kWh. First we will factor in the average yearly price of electricity. According to the U.S.Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the Department of Energy, "In 2008, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 11,040 kWh, at an average price of 11.26 cents a kWh."
To figure out how much it costs to recoup your costs, we will divide the total cost of purchase, installation, electrical wiring and permit fees of the Honeywell Wind Turbine WT6500 by the approximate average residential electricity price per kWh to determine how many kWh of purchased electricity it takes to equal the total cost of the turbine.
$8,495 / .11 = 77,227 kWh
Then we will divide the kWh equal to the total cost of the turbine by the maximum estimated yearly kWh generated by the turbine to determine how many years it will take to recoup your total costs.
77,227 kWh / 2,500 kWh = 30.9 years
Generating 2,500 kWh of renewable energy a year with the Honeywell Wind Turbine saves you approximately $275 a year on your annual electrical bill, but it takes almost 31 years to break even with your investment costs of the turbine. In addition, the manufacturer estimates the Honeywell Wind Turbine has a 20 year lifespan. Considering the estimated lifespan of the turbine and the amount of years it takes to recoup your costs, you may end up losing money.
Reducing the Costs with Government Grants, Rebates, and Incentive Programs
Depending on your state, you may qualify for renewable energy grants and rebates that significantly lower the costs or even pay for the entire purchase and installation of your Honeywell Wind Turbine. Find grants, rebates and Incentive programs in your state at the Database for State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.
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Producing renewable energy is good for the environment. The less dirty energy we use, the better. If you qualify for grants, rebates and incentive programs, the Honeywell Wind Turbine WT6500 may be a wise, cost-effective, energy-saving choice for your home.
For people who do not qualify for grants, rebates or incentive programs, the Honeywell Wind Turbine WT6500 is expensive when you consider the amount of years it takes to recoup the costs of purchasing and installing the turbine. Money wise, without grants, rebates and incentives, the Honeywell does not seem to be a good investment. Other sources of renewable energy for people in low wind areas, such as solar, may be a more cost-efficient and wiser choice.
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Honeywell Wind Turbine WT6500 Specs
- Installation placement: On rooftop or on a pole mount
- Diameter: 6 feet
- Weight: 170 pounds
- Tip to tip blade dimensions: 5.7'
- Materials: Polycarbonate, aluminum, and steel
- Minimum wind speed to produce energy: 2 mph
- Maximum wind speed before shut down: 42 mph
- Renewable electricity generation: 2,000 kWh a year in class 3 wind speeds and 2,500 kWh a year in class 4 wind speeds
- Acoustic noise emissions: 35 dB
- Estimated lifespan of the turbine: 20 years
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Watch a Video of the Honeywell Wind Turbine
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- Earthtronics: Honeywell Wind Turbine WT6500 (PDF)
- Earthtronics: WindTronics Honeywell Wind Turbine WT6500
- EIA: 2008 Energy Statistics
- EIA: 2008 Average Monthly Residential Electricity Consumption, Prices, and Bills by State - (MS Excel Spreadsheet)