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05/09/13

Photos of Southwest Windpower Skystream Wind Turbines by Paul Gipe

The Skystream was the last of the turbines developed by Southwest Windpower and one of the more recent introductions of new small wind turbine technology into the North American market.

As with the introduction of the Air turbine earlier, the Skystream was marketed heavily—some would say overhyped.

Nevertheless, Southwest Windpower courageously opted for a relatively low power rating of the 3.7 meter diameter downwind turbine. Initially the company rated the turbine at 1.8 kW. Moreover, unlike many small turbine manufacturer’s the marketing literature emphasize the 3.7 meter rotor in the marketing materials, and not the power rating. Thus, it was the Skystream 3.7 and not the 2 kW Skysteam.

Later Southwest Windpower succumbed to the exigencies of pressure on sales and “rerated” the turbine to 2.2 kW.

Though the Skystream did not have any aerodynamic means of overspeed protection—it depended on the dynamic breaking of its permanent-magnet generator—there are very few reports of catastrophic failures.

When the company locked its doors in 2012, Southwest Windpower had shipped 8,000 Skystream turbines.


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