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Photos of Northern Power HR3 Wind Turbines by Paul Gipe

The HR3 was designed for remote, battery-charging applications. The HR in its designation was for High Reliability and it lived up to its billing.

In 1981 Art and Maxine Cook installed a 3 kW wind turbine on their farm in western Pennsylvania’s Somerset County. For nearly three decades Northern Power Systems’ HR3 had sat atop a 60-foot (18 m) truss tower on the Cooks’ lawn, reliably producing wind-generated electricity through winter snows and summer sun.

In high winds Northern Power Systems furls its HR3 model by tilting the rotor skyward, following the example of 1930s-era windcharger Parris-Dunn. A shock absorber dampens the rate at which the rotor returns to the running position. The design includes a winch and cable for manually furling the turbine.

One noteworthy HR3 operated for 12 hours in the furled position during a fierce Antarctic storm. The radio station eventually went off the air when the exhaust stack for the backup generator blew away. After the worst of the storm had passed, the HR3 dropped back into its running position, recharged the system’s batteries, and brought the station back to life. Twice during the first two years of operation anemometers at the site blew away, once after recording a wind speed of 126 mph (56 m/s).

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