Equipment and products that enable us to use renewable energy instead of fossil fuels and conventional electricity are highly beneficial. Examples include solar thermal systems, solar electric (photovoltaic) systems, and wind turbines. Other power generation equipment, such as fuel cells and some energy storage systems (like batteries) are included here because they help us accommodate varied energy sources so that we may eventually move beyond fossil-fuel dependence.
While resilience—the ability to weather natural disasters and maintain livable conditions in the aftermath of disruptive events—is mostly an issue of building design and community preparedness, certain products can help. For example, almost all heating systems require electricity to operate even if their primary fuel is oil, gas, or wood pellets; systems that allow operation even if grid electricity is not available are more resilient in the event of power outages. Rainwater harvesting, water storage, composting toilets, and waterless urinals contribute to resilience not only in drought-prone areas but also during power outages in any home dependent on well water. Solar water heating systems that can operate without utility power, and back-up power systems that are more energy-efficient than standard generators, may have this attribute.
The Xzeres 442SR is a small wind turbine that is certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MSC) and is conditionally certified to AWEA Standard 9.1-2009 by the SWCC. The 442SR has a diameter of 23.6 ft. The wind turbine is available in on- or off-grid configurations and is covered by a 10-year limited warranty.
Most large wind-power systems are installed in centralized wind farms, with the power fed into electric utility grids. Included here are smaller wind turbines that are more appropriate for individual homes or commercial buildings. Like solar power systems, these generators may be designed for use in grid-tied or off-grid applications. Note that most building-integrated wind installations do not perform well, often not achieving even modest expectations. You can read more on that in The Folly of Building-Integrated Wind in EBN.
The small wind industry is plagued by exaggerated power output claims and products that require frequent maintenance. Growing adoption of AWEA Standard 9.1-2009, a standard designed to regularize testing procedures and performance numbers for small wind turbines is strengthening the small wind market and improving the experience for consumers.
GreenSpec lists products that have been earned certification or conditional certification to AWEA Standard 9.1-2009 from the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) or Intertek. We recommend avoiding any small wind turbines not certified to AWEA standards (and thus not listed in GreenSpec).
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