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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rooftop wind turbines

The San Diego newspaper had an interesting story about a developer of small wind turbine.

The company, Helix Wind, appears to be struggling, but the product description was fascinating:
Helix Wind makes turbines small enough to be mounted on homes or commercial buildings. Its core products spin on a vertical axis and look like soft-serve ice-cream cones.
It reminds me a little of the story about Adobe installing wind turbines on roof of its skyrise HQ in downtown San Jose. The latest round of turbines generate about 50 kWh per year. The installation was finished last month.

We put solar panels on roofs due to scarce real estate, so at some level wind turbines on commercial or residential roofs make sense. The Merc story implies they get more energy per square foot than the equivalent solar panels.

To me, this seems to renew the (often unseemly) rivalry between the two main renewable energy growth areas. (Hydro is certainly renewable, but the recent growth has been in the wrong direction from a RE standpoint).

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