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SCA HQ Turbines

SCA HQ Turbines

Small wind turbines continue to evolve as consolidation, innovation, and competition drive the market to newer, high tech turbine systems. Small wind turbines follow the innovations of the larger, utility scale turbines. The utility scale turbines led to current innovation like remote monitoring, active yaw and pitch controls, and composite blades. Now, many utility scale turbines feature direct drive, permanent-magnet generators. Small wind is likely to follow in the path of direct drive, permanent magnet generators because they offer many advantages over inductive generators with a gearbox.

The direct drive feature eliminates the need for a gearbox, which saves material and maintenance costs, but also reduces much of the noise a wind turbine makes. Many times, the noise associated with a wind turbine is the gearbox reverberating through the tower, particularly for monopole towers. Also, with fewer moving parts, the wear and tear on turbine components will be reduced, saving on maintenance and warranty costs.

The permanent magnet generator is more efficient that the inductive generator. The permanent magnet generator doesn’t produce as much heat as an inductive generator while allowing a turbine system to produce more energy at lower wind speed.  In addition, variable speed turbines allow for better aerodynamics by adjusting rotational speed to match the most efficient rotational velocity of the blades for a given wind speed.

Cost and performance are good metrics to consider when choosing a wind turbine, but the manufacturer’s ability and responsiveness to service the turbine should be considered when purchasing a turbine, as well as a particular turbine model’s up-time.  Read more about selecting a wind turbine here.



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