In 2020, Australia’s primary source of clean energy was wind power, at 35.9% of its total clean energy and 9.9% of Australia’s overall electricity. Wanting to contribute to increasing that percentage is admirable.
However, if you want to do your part to pitch in, you may be wondering what is the best small wind turbine to buy on the land down under.
This article explores five of the best options for small wind turbines you can buy in Australia.
So let’s get into it!
Best Overall Small Wind Turbine: Eco Whisper Turbine
The best small wind turbine to buy in Australia is the Eco Whisper Turbine.
The Eco Whisper has 30 blades, making it virtually silent while also increasing efficiency up to 30% more than other three-bladed turbines.
The turbine also works well in both rural and residential areas.
Launched in 2011 by Renewable Energy Solutions Australia, the Eco Whisper Turbine boasts of being the world’s first silent wind turbine.
With 30 blades in a cowl or ring formation, the rotation of the turbine is relatively quiet.
In addition, homeowners can use it in a variety of applications.
There are two models, the Eco Whisper 650, which generates up to 20 kW, and the newer Eco Whisper 325, which generates up to 5 kW.
With two models, you can choose which one you want based on the reason you are buying the turbine and the amount of power you require.
- Silent operation – this small wind turbine is virtually silent, allowing you to place it in many different environments without complaint.
- Compatible with both small and large energy outputs – depending on the Eco Whisper turbine model you get, your turbine can be used to generate up to 20 kW. It can be used in commercial sites, such as industrial plants, urban development sites, schools, and domestic sites, like your residential home.
- The turbine pole is hinged – both Eco Whisper models have a hinged pole, so when the wind becomes too strong, you can lower the turbine, so it doesn’t get destroyed.
- Birds are less likely to fly into it – the Eco Whisper small wind turbine’s unusual shape makes it so birds and other flying animals can see the turbine and are less likely to fly into it.
- The cost is only available upon request – unfortunately, we can’t give you a price estimate. While it will likely be worth the price, if you are interested in getting an Eco Whisper Turbine, you must contact RESA directly or request a price quote on Archello.
Best Rural Wind Turbine: AWS HC Performance Wind Turbines
Australia Wind and Solar’s HC Performance Wind Turbines are perfect for rural communities. This series has three models, with peak outputs ranging from 3.3 kW to 5 kW to 10kW.
The AWS HC Performance Wind Turbines have some of the lowest start-up speeds in their class, operate at total capacity in almost all wind conditions, and can protect themselves during even the most extreme weather.
These small wind turbines are not recommended for residential rooftop mounting, so they are ideal for rural or commercial uses.
- Low start-up speeds – depending on the model AWS HC Performance turbine you get, the start-up speed, or minimum wind speed needed to store energy, ranges from 1.5 m/s (3.4 mph) to 2.7 m/s (6 mph).
- Long life expectancy – all models of AWS HC Performance small wind turbines have a minimum 20 years life expectancy. Despite the long life expectancy, getting a maintenance check of your wind turbine is suggested annually.
- Large range of controller voltage – the controller, which prevents the battery from overcharging, is available in 12V, 24V, and 48V or connected to the grid.
- Cost – these small wind turbines are relatively expensive, ranging from $25,000 to $60,000 if you live off-grid and from $29,000 to you needing to request a price on request when you live on-grid. These prices also do not include taxes.
- Location – related to the consideration above, AWS HC Performance turbines cost extra for delivery and installation if you live over 50 km (31 miles) from Melbourne.
Best Residential Wind Turbine: Kestrel e400i Wind Turbine
The compact and unobtrusive Kestrel e400i Wind Turbine follows the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards and requirements for small wind turbines and is, therefore, ideal for residential areas.
With an advanced design that moderates noise effectively, the Kestrel e400i Wind Turbine is inconspicuous enough that it is excellent for powering residential areas, including homes, community centers, and health centers.
- Small size – as mentioned, the Kestrel e400i is small enough to be suitable for urban and residential environments. This feature is perfect if you want to have or use a small wind turbine and live in urban or residential areas.
- Reliable – these small wind turbines are incredibly reliable, especially in repeater stations. Repeater stations are used to extend the cellular range, so having a reliable source of electricity in the repeater station is ideal.
- Number of applications – we’ve mentioned that the Kestrel e400i is excellent in urban or residential areas. You can use the turbine for several other applications, including boosting other renewable energy installations in a small wind farm or water pumping systems.
- Design – the Kestrel e400i’s design allows the turbine to continuously generate energy when the wind speed exceeds the turbine’s rated wind speed.
- Runs fast – this model may run fast and make more noise than you want. You will likely hear the turbine spin, but it is smooth and not too intrusive.
- Inverter issues – when you first install your Kestrel e400i, you may run into some problems with your inverter. It may cut out and make your turbine trip, but it is a fixable issue.
Best Budget Wind Turbine: 1 kW Soma Wind Generator
The 1 kW Soma Wind Generator is a good choice when on a budget, selling at $6,490 on the Soma Wind Generator website.
However, you must buy the turbine tower separately, but the overall cost is still less than most other small wind turbines on the market.
Soma Wind Generators have been manufactured and sold in Australia since 1978 with a design philosophy of mechanical simplicity and rugged durability.
The company prides itself on using the highest quality materials and prioritizing corrosion protection in manufacturing.
- Cost – the 1 kW Soma Wind Generator is a great small wind turbine to get when on a budget. Even though you need to buy the tower separately from the turbine, the total cost of both is less than every other product on this list.
- High performance – this model has two large rotor blades that are highly efficient in light to moderate winds.
- Australian-made – all 1 kW Soma Wind Generators are manufactured in Australia, and the turbine towers are all manufactured in Melbourne specifically.
- Relatively low peak output – the 1 kW Soma Wind Generator only has a peak output of 1 kW, or 1,000 W, somewhat lower than many other small wind turbines and can power a single home, but not much more than that.
- The turbine and tower are separate costs – as mentioned, you need to buy both the turbine and the tower separately.
Best European-Manufactured Turbine: Spanish Bornay Wind+
Commodore Australia is the contracting team that installs the Spanish-made Bornay Wind+ Turbines.
These turbines are compatible with all types of batteries, including lithium. It is recommended to install a Bornay Wind+ Turbine at a minimum height of 12 m (6.6 ft) and that there are no obstructions in the wind’s path.
There are three models of Bornay’s Wind+ Turbine that Commodore Australia sells and installs, each with a different peak output—1.5 kW, 3 kW, and 5 kW.
- Cost – all three models of Bornay’s Wind+ Turbines start on the relatively cheap side, with the 1.5 kW starting at $4,000.50.
- Remote control availability – you can use a remote control if you don’t want or can’t go up to your turbine to change the power curve parameters or turn your turbine on “protection mode” during extreme weather.
- Battery compatibility – the Bornay Wind+ is compatible with all types of batteries, including lithium, AGM, Flooded, and GEL. This feature is excellent insofar as you probably have a spare battery lying around compatible with wind turbines. You can use it rather than have to buy a new one.
- Warranty – Commodore Australia has a three-year warranty and lifetime support when you buy a Bornay Wind+ Turbine from the company. However, the warranty only covers repairs and replacements of parts. Installations and indirect costs are not included.
Criteria for Selection of Small Wind Turbines
Selecting the best small wind turbine for your needs requires careful consideration of various factors. Some of these factors include:
Wind Resource Assessment
Before investing in a wind turbine, it’s essential to assess the wind resource at your specific location.
Consider factors such as average wind speed, turbulence, and prevailing wind direction will significantly impact the turbine’s performance and energy production.
Conducting a thorough wind resource assessment ensures you choose a turbine that is appropriately sized for your site.
Turbine Size and Capacity
Small wind turbines come in different sizes and capacities, ranging from a few hundred watts to several kilowatts.
Selecting the right size turbine depends on your energy needs, available space, and wind conditions.
Larger turbines typically produce more energy but may require more space and higher upfront costs. Therefore, consider your electricity consumption and available land area to determine the appropriate turbine size.
Type of Turbine
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are two primary types of small wind turbines: horizontal-axis and vertical-axis.
Horizontal-axis turbines are the most common and resemble traditional windmills, while vertical-axis turbines have blades that rotate around a vertical axis.
Each type has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of efficiency, reliability, and maintenance requirements. Therefore, evaluate the pros and cons of each type to determine the one that best suits your needs.
Noise and Aesthetics
Wind turbines can generate noise, which may be a concern, especially in residential areas. Therefore, if you live in a congested area, select a turbine with low noise emissions to minimize disturbances to nearby residents.
Additionally, consider the aesthetics of the turbine, especially if it will be installed in a visible location.
Some turbines feature sleek designs and quiet operation, making them suitable for urban and suburban environments.
Assess the financial aspects of installing a small wind turbine, including upfront costs, ongoing maintenance expenses, and potential incentives or rebates.
You should calculate the payback period and return on investment to determine the economic viability of the turbine.
It’s also recommended to take advantage of financing options and explore available incentives, such as feed-in tariffs or renewable energy credits, to reduce the overall cost of ownership.
With the rise in renewable energy as a primary electricity source, finding the best renewable source is super important. Australia has an immense capability for using wind as a renewable energy source, so it is ideal to find the best small wind turbine when trying to switch or add wind energy to your electricity.