Skystream is extremely quiet and makes a small amount of operating sound similar to the level of a small office. It generally cannot be heard over typical background noise such as the sound of the wind. Skystream does not interfere with TV reception.
Skystream is a wind generator installed on top of a tower that converts the kinetic energy in the wind into electricity to be used in a home's electrical system.
In a typical residential application, a home is served simultaneously by the Skystream and a local utility. If the wind speeds are below "cut-in speed" (8 mph) there will be no output from the generator and all of the needed power is purchased from the utility. As wind speeds increase, the Skystream's output increases and the amount of power purchased from the utility is proportionately decreased. When the Skystream produces more power than the house needs, the meter spins backwards creating a "credit" that can be used later. All of this is done automatically without any interaction by the homeowner. Batteries are not required with Skystream.
No. Skystream's design was done in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratories. As part of this project, extensive computer modeling and field testing was done to ensure a safe design. All of Skystream's testing was done to internationally accepted standards for small wind safety and reliability. Your neighbors who may have some concerns about safety may appreciate the following information:
Tower stability: Thousands of small wind generators are installed in the U.S. every year and their safety track record is excellent. Trees are much more likely to fall than a properly installed Skystream, but no setbacks or minimum property sizes are required for trees.
Safety of utility repair personnel during a power outage: In accordance to IEEE and UL, Skystream will automatically shut down in the event of a power outage, and will not energize a dead power line. This is necessary to protect the utility line repair person.
Ice shed from rotor blades: Ice buildup makes Skystream blades less aerodynamic, so that they turn more slowly. Typically, ice will drop to the base of the generator tower and is not dangerous.
Children and towers: In terms of educating children about not climbing structures, a small wind generator should be treated no differently than other climbable structures such as water towers or amateur radio antennas.
More reading: Download the "Small Wind & Your Neighborhood" fact sheet.
Towers as short as 35 feet are available with Skystream. However in some circumstances, a taller tower may be necessary to raise the generator above turbulence created by obstacles on the ground and/or trees. Wind speed increases with height above ground, and increasing speed increases the amount of energy your generator will produce. Relatively small investments in increased tower height can yield high rates of return in energy production. A rule of thumb for proper and efficient operation of a Skystream suggests that the generator should be 20 feet (6 meters) above the top of anything within 300 feet (about 100 meters).
No. A Skystream can easily be installed at any existing home without the need to change any wiring or appliances. In most cases, the utility will install a second utility meter to measure how much surplus electricity it is receiving from the generator owner.
Because Skystream is a renewable energy source, produces no pollution, and uses wind power, you will be offsetting pollution that would have been generated by your utility company. Over its life, the Skystream can offset more than 6000 pounds of global warming pollutants (carbon dioxide and other gases that are associated with global warming) every year.
Yes. Federal regulations (specifically, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, or PURPA) require utilities to connect with and purchase power from small wind energy systems. Your dealer should be able to help arrange the required utility company approvals.
Depending on the wind speed average and the amount of energy consumed every month, Skystream typically lowers a household electricity bill by 30% to 80%. It is not uncommon for Skystream owners with total-electric homes to have monthly utility bills of only $8 to $15 for nine months of the year (2005 data). The amount of money a Skystream saves you in the long run will depend upon its installed cost, the amount of electricity you use, the average wind speed at your site, and other factors. Costs vary with local conditions and tower height. Most US installations range from $12,000 - $18,000. US Federal incentives and other state incentives can decrease this cost significantly. Learn about US Federal incentives here. Search for local incentives here.