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Residential windmill saves money, the environment

Evan Blass
07.05.06
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Even if you're not into that whole "respecting the environment" thing, how many of you homeowners out there haven't dreamed of slashing or even eliminating your electricity bills? Well a new residential windmill from a company called Southwest Windpower promises to not only help keep you green by reducing your dependency on coal-fired power plants, but to actually provide up to 90% of the juice that a typical household consumes in a year (and by typical, they aren't talking about your 5-computer, 10-monitor family). Even better, the so-called Skystream 3.7, which incorporates its controls and inverter right into the main unit, will automatically switch your house over to grid power if winds fall below 8MPH (maximum efficiency is reached at 20MPH) -- no storage batteries necessary. At around $8,500 including installation of the 35-foot-tower, the Skystream supposedly pays for itself within four to twelve years depending on local wind levels and electricity costs, and if you're really frugal with the juice, some municipalities will even allow you to sell unused output back to the power company. Just because this is fit for residential installations, though, doesn't mean that just anybody can pick one up -- Southwest recommends that you own an acre of land in an area that averages 10MPH wind speeds, and of course, that not-unobtrusive tower needs to comply with local zoning laws -- so the millions of us living in dense urban settings or gated communities will have to continue paying through the nose and destroying the environment in order to power our many gadgets.

[Via Gizmag]

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