Early Field Tests on Air Breeze BR0001068

By Paul Gipe

We installed an Air Breeze at the request of Southwest Windpower in mid December. The turbine was provided by SWP at no charge. We are testing the turbine pro bono. 

The Air Breeze is the latest in the Air series of micro wind turbines. The turbine is rated at 200 W, which much better reflects the turbine’s capacity than earlier versions of the Air (303, 403, X versions).

The turbine (s/n: BR0001068) arrived undamaged in attractive exterior packaging. The packaging was much improved and it appeared far more care was expended on the packaging and the operator’s manual than in previous versions.

As in the previous tests of the Air series, for the 200 feet of DC cable run to the batteries from the tower used by the micro turbines, we use #4 AWG copper conductors in accordance with SWP’s Air 403 installation manual.

The Air Breeze uses new blades and a new hub.

The tower clamp is the same as before and the beta unit we received had a defective casting that allowed one of the four clamp nuts to spin in its housing. We went ahead with the installation anyway.

Preliminary Test Results

The Air Breeze is “rated” 200 Watts at 28 mph (12.5 m/s). Unlike previous versions of thi

s series the Air Breeze is not provided with a power curve. Instead SWP states the expected monthly energy production that a consumer can expect.

Note: This data is preliminary. Tests are currently under way.

Nevertheless, preliminary data indicates that this unit fails to meet its rated power at its rated wind speed according to testing norms using 1-minute averages. However, this unit’s power curve is much closer by far to its advertised rated power than any previous version of the Air series.

The scatter plot shows that the turbine will periodically produce in excess of 200 Watts at wind speeds greater than 22 mph. It will also produce much less than 200 Watts at wind speeds greater than 22 mph. The power curve averages all values within a given wind speed bin. Thus, below average performance will offset above average performance.

At average annual wind speeds of 9, 10, and 11 mph, the Air Breeze will meet SWP’s estimate of Annual Energy Production. At average annual wind speeds of 12 mph and above the Air Breeze will increasingly miss its projected output.

Tests on the Air Breeze at Applachian State University’s Beech Mountain test site are comparable to the results at the Wulf Test Field.