Consumer Reports reviews Rooftop Turbine | Interstate Renewable Energy Council

October 27, 2011

As a part of a feature article on Energy Savings, the nation’s best-known consumer magazine reviewed one small wind turbine in their October 2011 issue.  Their lab tested a six-foot diameter, roof-top mounted Honeywell WT6500 Wind Turbine at Consumer Union’s headquarters in Yonkers, NY.

Their early tests “suggest that you could save far less than the manufacturer claims—and wait decades for your investment to pay for itself.”

They found it to be quiet, “as loud as a library whisper in our tests.”  Sold at True Value stores.  Cost less than many wind systems, even before rebates.  Warranted 5 years.

CR noted discrepancies between what WindTronics, the manufacturer, said the system should produce and the performance of the model they mounted on their roof, even after several visits from a company-authorized installer. At that rate, the Honeywell wouldn’t pay its way over its expected life of 20 years.

CR points out how difficult it is to know both how much energy the turbine will produce in specific conditions, but also how much of a typical home energy use that represents.  Online calculators like www.windknowledge.com differ from the company’s website’s claims, and are inconsistent with other estimates.  In a sidebar, they suggest consumers visit the Small Wind Certification Council’s website for information on turbine safety, function, performance and durability.

Consumer Reports will be updating their data during the next year and will report on further developments as they continue testing. In the meantime, they suggest some important steps to take before choosing any wind turbine:

  • Know the power you’ll really get
  • Check wind maps carefully
  • Get a site analysis
  • Have your roof checked

 Source:  Consumer Reports

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