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05/09/13

Photos of Southwest Windpower Air Wind Turbines by Paul Gipe

For its initial product, Southwest Windpower brought to market a highly-hyped micro turbine the “Air”. When introduced, the one-meter diameter Air was rated at 400 W.

The turbine—and its marketing—was controversial. Failures and complaints were high. The turbine was extremely noisy. Some compared it to a chain saw or a Harley Davidson motorcycle revving its engine.

The Air model went through many iterations. Most were simply numbered with the production series, but there were “major” revisions that resulted in new brand names such as the “Air X”, and eventually the “Air Breeze”.

The Breeze was rated at 200 W. This a major reduction in the official rated power of the turbine. However, at long last the turbine was both reliable and quiet. At the Wulf Field in the Tehachapi Pass, the turbine could consistently deliver nearly 150 W at its rated wind speed. The unit at the Wulf Field has operated consistently and reliable since installation in 2007.


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