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Old 01-31-2014, 03:18 PM   #1
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would a wind generator pay for itself?

Do you think a wind generator on a trawler would ever "pay for itself" as far as saving money by not running the diesel generator at anchor? I suppose you could even argue that, at the dock, it might cut down on your electric bill.
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Old 01-31-2014, 03:24 PM   #2
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Do you think a wind generator on a trawler would ever "pay for itself" as far as saving money by not running the diesel generator at anchor? I suppose you could even argue that, at the dock, it might cut down on your electric bill.
We have blow boaters next to us with them, we've slept on the boat on a windy night, and wanted to rip the blades off the thing, I hate them. Just run the genny, it's better for it to run then to sit.
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Old 01-31-2014, 04:05 PM   #3
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There are units just as capable, but much quieter these days. Lots of the old ones really screamed. But getting to the original question, if you are heading to the Islands, the units do pay for themselves and when combined with solar, can give a more balanced overall system for living on the hook, especially on cloudy days where solar production is lacking. If you're just talking about coastal or inland cruising, productivity may not be that great unless you were anchored in areas known for their wind. Here on the waters of of Sarasota, FL, for example, it would be a real waste of money for us now. When we head for the islands sometime in 2015, we'll have one aboard.

Make sure to do the research ahead of time on the sailing forums. There, you'll get to know which ones are screamers, but I think the majority of the units made today are infinitely better with that. My two cents.
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Old 01-31-2014, 05:07 PM   #4
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the real answer is it depends on how much wind you have...

They usually only really start putting out above 12 knots or so (many variables with brand/model/etc). That's local winds so many marinas actually are pretty good because where they sit wind funnels through them. Checking wind energy maps help but don't mean a thing compared to where your boat actually sits.

But there are a few gotchas so look them all up before you drop the dough starting with will the marina let you run one (check neighbors too) all the way to how much is it really gonna add for your area.
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Old 01-31-2014, 05:20 PM   #5
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A wind generator, a good fit with solar. Fine = good solar output. Cloudy, windy, wet, wind does the work(mostly).
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Old 01-31-2014, 07:19 PM   #6
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If it is windy enough for the wind turbine to work, it's probably too windy for comfortable travel. Sounds like a good fit.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:08 PM   #7
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It might pay for itself when the other people in the anchorage pay you to move.

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Old 02-01-2014, 05:22 AM   #8
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The biggest/fastest payback usually comes from upgrading on board electric users.

LED are easy , and the gold standard is a Propane reefer and range, which lowers juice use to solar or wind recharging levels.

Modern DC reefer units are a big improvement over the historic models , and can be improved with added outside insulation.

Folks have complained for decades about the huge racket caused by wind machines , so there are newer models with improved much quieter blades.

Might keep the neighbors from sawing thru your anchor line.
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:32 AM   #9
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The biggest/fastest payback usually comes from upgrading on board electric users.
Can't argue with that!

Without running the numbers, I'd bet that if you already HAVE a genset, it's cheaper in the long run to use it. If you didn't, and you were setting up a new system with a large house bank, solar and wind, AND you didn't need a lot of AC for cooking, water heating and air conditioning, you could make it work without the need for a genset at all. It might even be cheaper in the long run, or at least close.

Much as I'd love to harness wind and solar, my best option right now is to run the genset for an hour or so to cook breakfast and/or dinner, charging the house bank and heating water at the same time. And on those nights when it's just too hot and humid to sleep, I have the option to run the AC for a while. I may even add a washer/dryer combination. I'd need a massive solar/wind/storage system to do all that. I suspect it wouldn't be cost-effective.
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:40 AM   #10
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This is the one I've got on my short list; LE-v50 Wind Turbine - 50w Vertical Axis Silent Wind Generator

Small, vertical, will sit high on the mast, and is supposed to provide silent trickle charging.
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:04 PM   #11
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I'd bet that if you already HAVE a genset, it's cheaper in the long run to use it. I

My all inclusive price is about $10.00 per hour of noisemaker.

Hardly cheap if it needs to be run daily.
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:13 PM   #12
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If you spend each day or two underway, your engine(s) should keep your batteries charged. If you're at a marina, shore power will do the same.

If you keep your boat on a mooring, solar or wind power might make sense to keep the batteries charged.

As suggested above, reducing electrical power use is the most cost effective solution. LED lighting and propane cooking (although adding a propane system and range is not going to be cheap).

Bottom line - No, I don't think a wind generator will pay for itself.
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:15 PM   #13
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Do you think a wind generator on a trawler would ever "pay for itself" as far as saving money by not running the diesel generator at anchor? I suppose you could even argue that, at the dock, it might cut down on your electric bill.
Practical sailor tests them from time to time. Last test I saw said it wouldn't work for me. If your power needs are modest I think the newer units are getting close though.

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Old 02-01-2014, 02:17 PM   #14
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Where are you going to cruise and when? if you are going to spend winters in the Eastern Caribbean, I would consider it. The winds blow even in the anchorages. The new generation wind generators are extremely quite and more efficient.
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:01 PM   #15
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Where are you going to cruise and when? if you are going to spend winters in the Eastern Caribbean, I would consider it. The winds blow even in the anchorages. The new generation wind generators are extremely quite and more efficient.
Exactly...just like installing solar if you boat in a place that is overcast 200 days a year, solar is debatable...but if you boat on Lake Meade, solar might just be the ticket.

Sure 2 of everything including gensets and you have ultimate power and flexibility...you just have to decide where to cross the line.
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:12 PM   #16
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if you are going to spend winters in the Eastern Caribbean, I would consider it. The winds blow even in the anchorages. The new generation wind generators are extremely quite and more efficient.

Bay Pelican is in the Eastern Caribbean and the Wind Generator is wonderful, producing a steady 7 amps plus. Thus reducing generator run time. My calculation is payback of all costs within 4 years of 4 1/2 month seasons.

We selected our unit for quiet, not output.
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:39 PM   #17
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Bay Pelican is in the Eastern Caribbean and the Wind Generator is wonderful, producing a steady 7 amps plus. Thus reducing generator run time. My calculation is payback of all costs within 4 years of 4 1/2 month seasons.

We selected our unit for quiet, not output.
What wind generator do you have?

My power consumption while at the dock is 750kwd a month. At .24 per, that's a pretty hefty bill.

I'd like to run the numbers and see if wind generation might work for our situation.
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:54 PM   #18
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Old 02-01-2014, 05:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seattleboatguy View Post
Do you think a wind generator on a trawler would ever "pay for itself" as far as saving money by not running the diesel generator at anchor? I suppose you could even argue that, at the dock, it might cut down on your electric bill.
I have one, and advocate same for cruisers. That said, "pay for itself" hmmm... the first time you do something stupid and kill your batteries, plus cannot start the boat or generator, you know the wind will blow, and you'll recharge. For me, having the ability to recover from an "Oh Shoot!" situation means I'm comfortable with mine. That doesn't mean I'd give up the generator, nor the solar panels. It's simply one component of my power supply side.

Cost effective differs I suspect between dock bunnies and those who live on the hook. For me, I'd have one. Mine's an Air-Breeze. It's not the be-all and end-all of power production but is one part of keeping Seaweed comfortable at anchor.

Good luck.
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Old 02-01-2014, 07:00 PM   #20
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Eventually.

That's the reality. The payback isn't short term. Whether one feels it is soon enough to justify the expense is a personal choice. That is why you don't see businesses going that route as the return on investment doesn't meet their targets.

The other issue is will it pay for itself before a better technology comes along? That is anyone's guess.
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