Wind 101: wind theory, evaluation and siting

Wind 101: wind theory, evaluation and siting

An inside look of our Dealer Training Course

Southwest-Windpower-Swept-Area-Dealer Training CourseDealer training day two started off in full-force Tuesday with determining estimated energy production of wind turbines. Ross Taylor, training manager, had students crunch numbers: average wind speeds, swept areas, energy production comparisons and energy densities. Meeting on the other side of the equations, Taylor and the soon-to-be Southwest Windpower authorized dealers calculated turbine details that validated our claims for the Skystream 3.7™ energy output alongside that of other manufacturers.Skystream-3.7-Part-Idendication

The amount of energy wind has can be determined by the wind speed (m/s) and approximate energy density (kWh/yr.) This was an important asset of today’s class because it allowed dealers to compare our products with those of our competitors and see for themselves the honesty of our manufacturing specifications for any of our products.


Geared with safety goggles and curiosity, Taylor guided the class into Southwest Windpower’s Flagstaff, Ariz.-based production and manufacturing facility. He walked the class step-by-step from assembly and testing to engineering, electronics and packaging. For the students it was a valuable experience, allowing them to seeSouthwest-Windpower-Factory-Skystream-3.7-Nacelles Southwest Windpower’s work in action and the people whose devoted service helps make our turbines one step closer to producing clean, renewable energy-- piece by piece, one wire at a time.


The Skystream 3.7 has met certifications and reliability standards that bring our product not only to the top of its class, but also to being one of the leading small wind turbines in the industry. Taylor outlined the following certifications the Skystream has received:   

  • CE certified: guarantees the product has met European Union health, safety and environmental requirements. It is the only way manufacturers can export products into the European Union (EU), according to CE. The Skystream 3.7 had to pass a set number of criteria, which streamlines the import and export of its global presencSouthwest-Windpower-Electronics-Factor-Dealer-Traininge.
  • RoHS compliant (Restriction of the Used of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment); states that the Skystream 3.7 does not have dangerous levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants, according to the National Measurement Office (NMO) NMO, of southwest London, is an Executive Agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
  • Underwriters Laboratories (UL) independently tested and certified the Skystream 3.7. This is a standard that extensively determines safety based on research, scientific expertise and quality. The Skystream 3.7 is certified by UL-1741, which is a requirement that covers inverters, converters, charge controllers and interconnection system equipment (ISE) in stand-alone (not grid-connected) or utility connected power systems, according to UL. These requirements are used alongside the Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems (IEEE) 1547, which verifies the Skystream 3.7 has met the criteria and requirements for interconnection of distributed resources (DR) with electric power systems (EPS), according to IEEE.

SITE EVALUATION AND CONSIDERATIONS Griggs-Putnam-Tree-Flagging-Dealer-Training-Southwest-Windpower

Siting your wind turbine is one of the most important processes of installation. If the turbine is installed incorrectly it could lead to decreased energy production, poor performance and equipment damage. When siting, Taylor advised to determine your wind resources as well as researching wind maps in your area, gathering climatic and meteorological data, such as data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) stations of weather observations. Taylor also suggested estimating prevailing wind speeds in your area by observing the growth patterns of trees, also known as the Griggs-Putnam Index, one of many empirical methods to determine this. The idea is that strong winds tend to deform trees also known as "flagging," especially coniferous evergreens, due to their constant appearance to the wind. If the average wind speed is high but below estimations the trees will not show any distinctive wind damage, which does not indicate the wind speeds relative differences. Appropriate anemometer (wind measuring device) and data logging should be considered as well. 

If you do not know your wind speed, you cannot figure out your energy production. Make the most out of your Southwest Windpower turbine and take time to properly site the product. It will maximize its energy output, lifespan and system application. Keep in mind that wind speed and wind power are both affected by tower height. Taylor emphasized turbine and tower placement in an open space with prevailing winds, noting wind turbulence and site features such as trees, buildings and surrounding landscape.


To determine if wind is right for your regional location and energy needs, Southwest Windpower developed a Sitelook assessment tool, which reviews capacity factory (actual energy produced divided by the theoretical maximum energy the turbine is engineered for). Want to find out if wind is right for you? Scope out our Sitelook tool for a free evaluation.

Read about day one of our March 2012 Dealer Training and stay up to date with the progression of the weeklong training.

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