Frequently Asked Questions
Hand selected questions that have helped our previous customers understand the Windstrip opportunity.
+ I haven’t heard of Windstrip before. How long has Windstrip been in business?
Windstrip and its strategic partners have put all their focus and energy towards Research and Development (R&D) over the past 8 years. Windstrip’s primary R&D partnership is the University of St. Thomas located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Through projects led by world renowned professors in fluid dynamics, thermal sciences, and power management, Windstrip R&D has contributed to three generations of Windstrip power electronics and turbine designs. The beginning of 2018 marked the initiation of Windstrip commercialization of our hybrid product. Our patented Hybrid Power System (HPS) changes the way energy is drawn, stored, and used for residential and commercial applications. Although Windstrip is relatively new, our products have been developed and refined so as to offer a complete renewable energy solution to the consumer.
+ What is the difference between an off-grid, on-grid, and grid-tied site?
On-grid power sites are connected to the local utility company’s power distribution system. On-grid sites are free to utilize power from the utility company lines in exchange for a power usage cost in the units of kilowatt hours (kWh). In the event that an on-grid site incorporates renewable energy sources that produce more energy than needed from the utility company, the site is often times capable of selling the extra energy to the local utility company. This is also known as a grid-tied system.
Off-grid sites describe power systems that are not connected to the electrical grid by design or on purpose. Often times, off-grid sites are labeled “off-grid” due to the location’s inability to be supplied by the electricity grid. Off-grid sites then must include alternative methods of energy generation, energy storage, and regulation. Oftentimes, diesel/bio-fuel generators have long been the widely accepted energy source for off-grid sites, however, wind turbines and solar panels have gained traction over the past decade for off-grid energy sources. Off-grid sites typically include battery banks for storage and support of the desired load.
+ What separates your product offering from that of other renewable energy companies?
Our technology and products were born and continue to be developed from our customers’ need for complete, distributed, and renewable energy solutions to address environmental and economic needs of their industries, such as in telecom due to poor-grid or off-grid locations and prevalent use of diesel generators for power.
We have developed multiple energy systems founded on our fully integrated Hybrid Power System (HPS) and our Intelligent & Dynamic Energy Addressing system (IDEAs™). Our HPS is a cost-effective, scalable, and flexible distributed energy solution designed for the telecom industry to operate entirely on renewable wind and solar energy sources. The HPS is fundamentally based on our modular and versatile smart electronics, IDEAs™. Our HPS and IDEAs™ can also integrate a wide range of types and sizes of other power sources and multiple uses, firmed by batteries or other means. Stemming from our original HPS, we have developed multiple additional renewable energy solutions across multiple market applications such as telecom, renewable vehicle charging stations, wireless mesh, Wi-Fi, off-grid security and surveillance, microgrid, commercial, and residential.
HPS COMPETITIVELY UNIQUE & LEADING-EDGE COMPONENTS
- Dynamically adjusting patented, modular electronics optimize power conversion and integrate multiple power sources
- Patented Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs) featuring proprietary wing design capture the most power per swept area
- High-efficiency solar controls with proprietary electronic control algorithms
+ How much will I help the environment by converting to renewable energy?
Your contribution to helping the environment by converting to renewable energy depends upon the magnitude of conversion and your current methods of energy production. For example, in 2016, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,766 kilowatt hours (kWh), an average of 897 kWh per month. In other words, the average U.S. residential household requires approximately 1.25 kW of power each day. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has addressed the topic of contributions for residential renewable energy systems seeking grid equivalencies for CO2 emission reductions. The EPA has arrived at the following emission factor:
1,640.7 lbs CO2/MWh × (4.536 × 10-4 metric tons/lb) × 0.001 MWh/kWh = 7.44 × 10-4 metric tons CO2/kWh (AVERT, U.S. national weighted average CO2 marginal emission rate, year 2016 data)
Thus, the average U.S. residential utility customer requiring 10,766 kWh annually indirectly emits approximately 8 metric tons (~17664 lbs) of CO2 annually by pulling from the grid. Depending on the magnitude of conversion to renewable energy, your house or company will help the environment in a big way.
+ How much space will I need to allocate for a Hybrid Power System (HPS) at my residence/business?
The key aspect of the Windstrip HPS is its versatility and site-specific design process. In more detail, Windstrip Design Engineers will work with you to evaluate your site and recommend the best HPS design for your available space and site specific meteorological resources (wind and sun availability). The required space needed for your HPS will be directly related to your desired system rating. Therefore, if space is limited, our Design Engineers will balance your available space with the most optimized system to meet your power requirements. Keep in mind that the unique design of the Windstrip Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) paired with PowerTower™ mounting requires a minimal footprint as the design utilizes unused vertical space. The real estate required for VAWT installation is dependent on VAWT model size and the associated PowerTower™ monopole diameter and foundation.
Windstrip VAWT Sizes (Height x Diameter)
- WS 1290: 7.4m H x 2.3m D
- WS 860: 6.1m H x 1.9m D
- WS 580: 5.0m H x 1.5m D
- WS 390: 4.0m H x 1.3m D
- WS 260: 3.3m H x 1.0m D
- WS 170: 2.7m H x 0.8m D
- WS 120: 2.2m H x 0.7m D
Typical Solar Panel Sizing (Width x Height)
- 400 Watt or 500 Watt Panel: 2m W x 1m H
+ What kind of hybrid configurations are possible?
Windstrip Design Engineers evaluate each potential Hybrid Power System (HPS) site and utilize the flexible sizing of the HPS storage and power sources to design an optimized system according to customer power generation goals, available space, and meteorological resources. The HPS building blocks for initial site design are commonly used by Windstrip Design Engineers throughout the evaluation phase and refined as site details are revealed:
+ I’m looking to go completely off-grid. Is this possible with the Windstrip technology?
In many cases, it is possible to go completely off-grid with our hybrid product. Based on the location of the hybrid deployment and the site-specific wind speeds, solar availability, and available space Windstrip Design Engineers design the most cost-effective and optimized system to meet customer driven power generation goals.
+ Which hybrid configuration do I need?
Windstrip hybrid configurations are variable and scalable by design to fit your site and requirements. Contact a Design Engineer today to start the process of designing your optimized Hybrid Power System (HPS). Or, start getting a feel for the Windstrip HPS capabilities with respect to your site requirements by using our Design My HPS calculator.
+ I don’t know the wind speed at my preferred installation site. Can someone come out to my location to make sure my investment will be viable?
Site evaluation is a key phase in determining if the Windstrip Hybrid Power System (HPS) is a fit for you. Our Design Engineers conduct a detailed site evaluation which includes preliminary site evaluation using local weather station data, topographical research to identify meteorological trends for your site’s landscape, and anemometer wind speed testing at your site and projected turbine installation height. Site evaluations allow our engineering team to design an optimal HPS for your site’s conditions and provide predictive models which include projected power generation and time-to-payback for your HPS design. Contact a Design Engineer today to start the process of site evaluation.
+ Are there periods where I will have more power production than others? During the weakest points, will I still be able to rely on Windstrip technology?
If our system relied solely on wind or solar production, there would be low points where it would be very likely that you would not be able to rely completely on renewable energy. However, our Hybrid Power System (HPS) diversifies energy sources to optimize the most abundant resources at any given time. It is indefinite that at times your HPS will generate more power than other times. However, this is the nature of renewable resources. In most parts of the world, wind and solar availability often exhibit an inverse relationship. With the HPS design consisting of a multi-directional low cut-in Vertical Axis Wind Turbine and additional PV array smart controls, such as Maximum Power Point Transfer (MPPT), the HPS design at its core was designed for reliable and optimal power distribution.
+ What battery types can operate within Windstrip technology?
Windstrip technologies focus on technology agnostic, adaptable systems, integrated by efficient and versatile smart electronics. Our technology was designed from day one to remain compatible with legacy systems (traditional battery types), yet adaptable to new and emerging solutions such as metal-air batteries.
+ Interested in taking our towers completely off-grid, what is the feasibility of implementing an HPS to accomplish off-grid power production?
Accomplishing HPS off-grid power production is often feasible for sites with moderate wind speeds and solar availability. It is important to note that every tower site is different and requires site-to-site feasibility evaluations. Some sites may not have the real estate or available renewable resources to install a solar array and/or turbine. Based on tower specifics such as available space, loading specifications (structural and power loads), and customer goals, Windstrip Design Engineers will offer the projected HPS design to accomplish an off-grid tower. If the off-grid proposal isn’t what you had imagined, our Design Engineers work with you to design the most cost-effective and feasible HPS to achieve maximum supplemental power production.
+ How reliable is the system? Any redundancies present in Windstrip technology to avoid loss of power?
Uptime reliability is a topic of focus for our Hybrid Power System (HPS) installations in the telecom industry. Ever since the beginning of Windstrip technology design, our HPS has been designed specifically for the high-specification telecom industry. In fact, in past studies our system has shown the ability to operate at 99.999% uptime, otherwise known as “five nines” in the industry. If for whatever reason, our system fails to distribute the required power necessary to satisfy the load, our Intelligent Dynamic Energy Addressing System (IDEAs™) communicates with backup sources, such as grid connection and/or a backup generator, to kick in as needed to ensure your tower never goes dark. The telecom industry hinges on continuous service and uptime, and so do we. Our HPS utilizes cutting edge smart electronics and algorithms to optimize power extraction of multiple input sources while averaging the discontinuities of nature’s renewable resources making the Windstrip HPS the most complete telecom renewable energy solution on the market.
+ Is there an alternative to implementing Windstrip technology at sites with limited tower availability for PV and/or turbine installations?
The PowerTower™ is a unique and advanced application of the Hybrid Power System (HPS) initially being implemented in the telecom industry where existing towers lack sufficient supportive infrastructure to withstand more than one turbine and/or PV array installations. Our PowerTower™ was designed to be space efficient with minimal required footprint to achieve a sleek and cost-effective alternative to HPS tower installations.
+ How long will this product last?
Key aspects of our Hybrid Power System have been designed with long life components resulting in a system with limited required or scheduled maintenance ensuring an industrial-focused high-reliability product. Service, and very specifically scheduled regular service/maintenance, will be conducted by trained internal or contracted crews.
+ How much maintenance will need to be performed on my Hybrid Power System (HPS)?
Maintenance processes are put in place at the time of installation to ensure complete reliability and little to no HPS downtime. The Windstrip maintenance protocol broken into four processes:
+ I live in a four-season location with heavy rain/snow for a portion of the year. How do these environmental conditions affect performance?
From a protection standpoint, all electronics and cabling is weather protected to ensure no electronic failure occurs due to environmental conditions. In addition, our smart electronics automatically issues red-flag alerts to designated emails as well as Windstrip Customer Service if specific operating conditions are violated, such as high temperature parameter. Furthermore, our turbine blades consist of a quick wicking composite material that does not allow for snow and sleet to accumulate during operation. Environmental conditions will not negatively affect the performance of your system as our technology was designed for rugged environments commonly observed on telecommunications towers all over the world.
+ Who installs the Windstrip technologies at my business/residence?
The process of installing Windstrip equipment, like other new cell tower equipment, is to train and educate the individuals or teams that will be doing the installations. Selected installation crews will be either the owner/operator’s internal or contract crews and is decided on a per customer basis. The required training occurs with new customers (and possibly with existing customers in new regions) first by Windstrip-related personnel (internal or external). As teams are educated, most future training within a larger customer is most likely to be conducted internally, with limited (but substantive) Windstrip oversight.
+ What is my ROI on this investment? How long do I have to wait before I will make my money back on this?
Our Hybrid Power System (HPS) can approach as low as a one-year time-to-payback under optimal conditions utilizing our complete sustainable energy system. Shown below is the payback period for a real-life case study for a 3kW cell tower in India. For the case study we examine an off-grid and a grid-tied HPS versus the existing energy system at the site. The 3kW system realizes nearly $9,000 and $4,400 annual savings and pay back in under three years and six years for the off-grid and grid-tied systems, respectively.
+ Is there a format where I can do a test of this technology to ensure it will work at my business/residence?
First, our Design Engineers will begin with a site evaluation to determine if the Windstrip Hybrid Power System (HPS) is a fit for you. Our Design Engineers conduct a detailed site evaluation which includes preliminary site evaluation using local weather station data, topographical research to identify meteorological trends for your site’s landscape, and anemometer wind speed testing at your site and projected turbine installation height.
The next step in figuring out if the site is a viable fit for Windstrip tech includes a proof of concept (POC) at the identified site. The purpose of the POC is to showcase system capabilities at the specific location as well as extract data for representative predictive model building of a fully operational HPS.
+ Once installed, how do I know my system is generating enough power to keep me on track with my expected ROI?
Windstrip smart electronics, otherwise known as the Intelligent Dynamic Energy Addressing System (IDEAs™), includes live monitoring capability for observing performance trends and operation modes of the entire system as well as individual input sources. The IDEAsTM reports cumulative power in kWh daily and year-to-date (or defined period-to-date) totals. Comprehensive reporting allows for system performance evaluation and diagnostics to be viewed daily and over time by the customer to analyze the system’s actual ROI timeline.
+ Are there regulations that exist with installing this at my residence and/or business site?
Regulations vary depending on location and statutes set by national and local government councils. If you are not sure where to look to find regulatory information with respect to renewable energy installations, we are more than happy to help you find this information.
+ Other neighbors of mine also want to invest in renewable energy alternatives. Can we pool our investments and purchase a solution for the whole neighborhood?
It is very possible to pool investments and create a renewable energy source for the entire neighborhood. This type of Neighborhood Model is considered power sharing and could be regulated to provide equal amount of energy per household or take format of a subscription based program dependent on the amount of energy used per household.