Inspired Windspire

by Cristina Foung
(writing from West Coast Green)

My favorite green product of the week: the Mariah Power Windspire

What is it?
The Mariah Power Windspire is a vertical axis “plug-n-produce wind power appliance.” It’s only 30 feet tall, with a two foot radius. It’s rated for winds up to 100 MPH and (based on initial testing) should produce about 2,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year in 12 MPH average winds.

Why is it better?
One of the coolest things about the Windspire is how quiet it is. Unlike horizontal axis turbines, the Windspire spins at only two or three times the speed of the wind. Mariah Power estimates that the Windspire has a maximum noise level of about 45 dB (compared with 65 to 100 dB levels of other turbines). To put that in context, 40 dB is like a quiet library.

It’s also really easy to install. The Windspire is on what they call a hinged monopole. All you need to do to get it up and running is pour the concrete base, assemble the unit, and pull the poll up vertically (apparently it’s been done with just a standard pick-up truck). This design saves you from having to use cranes…and that means you save money big time.

You do have to make sure that your Windspire is perfectly upright in order to achieve maximum efficiency and they don’t recommend roof mounting as the unit is heavy and does produce some vibration. But all in all, it sounds like a solid unit for residential application. Thus far, they’ve installed 30 to 40 units and are looking to ramp up production next month to 100 units and hopefully come November, they’ll be rolling 500 off the line every month.

Where can you find it?
You can reserve a Windspire for $4,995 from Mariah Power. Or if you’re interested in learning more (and you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area), stop by their booth at West Coast Green tomorrow to check out some videos and a fun little model.

Besides her green products column on Cleantech Blog, Cristina is a passionate advocate for green living at the Green Home Huddle at Huddler.com, which focuses on electric cars, energy efficient appliances, and other green products.

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