27 June 2009

MREA small wind conference

Last week I was lucky enough to go to Wisconsin to the MREA Small Wind Conference. This was two days of fun ! Luckily the weather was nice when I eventually arrived, after a night in Philadelphia because of extremely bad weather which delayed the connecting flight. Almost everybody there was a small wind professional and there were lots of side meetings going on. Well worth it for anyone in the Americas who is into small wind. The micro wind side of things is pretty much frowned upon though.

I crammed three presentations into two slots which may be of interest. The first is a pretty standard Ampair commercial.


Then I delivered two presentations on some of the UK trials. One is from the Warwick Wind Trials which were run by Encraft. The other is from the Energy Savings Trust trial and is all they wanted to release prior to the full trial report coming out sometime soon. Both were with kind permission of the relevant trial management.



In the WWT slideset one slide is repeated twice. I'd meant to put up a slide with turbine failures on it and photos of dead Ampairs, Swifts, and a Windsave. Maybe it was just as well it didn't make it in.

There wasn't a single boring presentation there. One evening Bergey sponsored a load of beer out at the MREA site where they were preparing for the annual MREA Fair which was very welcome and they were the most popular model. Proven seem to have a very good following in the area, ARE seem to be up and coming, and Southwest were well represented as ever. There were about a dozen other manufacturers and a couple of hundred small wind installers and such like.

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05 June 2009

Ampair 600 and Ampair 6000 certification

This was a recent email to all our distributors that has a wider significance.

On the downloads page http://www.ampair.com/ampair/resources_downloads.asp we have now added four new documents in the "certificates" area which are sufficiently important that I write to you all.

The first and most important is the summary test report for the Ampair 600 in the 230V grid connected Mk 2.5 version. This report is issued by NaREC who are a well known and widely respected independent test laboratory. It summarises testing in accordance with BS EN 61400-2; BS EN 61400-11; BS EN 61400-12-1; and BS EN 61400-14 standards as amended by the BWEA Small Wind Safety & Performance Standard.

For those of you who do not know BS EN 61400 is exactly the same as the IEC 61400 suite of wind turbine standards. The -2 part deals with safety & durability, the -11 part deals with acoustic noise, the 12-1 part deals with power performance, and the -14 deals with acoustic tonality etc. The BWEA standard makes some amendments to incorporate recent industry experience and is aligned with the equivalent (but still draft) AWEA standard.

I believe we are the first small wind turbine company to release these particular test reports publicly. This is a very important step for us which on the one hand has the potential to assist us and on the other hand has the potential to harm us. The independent testing carried out in the preparation of this summary test report is absolutely unbiased and extremely rigorous. This means that the client can rely on the contents. It also means there is nowhere for us to hide. You will note if you read the contents that the reference power was measured as 231W which is lower than our stated rated power of 600W. Similarly the reference annual energy was measured as 481 kWh/yr which is lower than our stated rated power of 1232 kWh/yr. There is no escaping the fact that these numbers are lower than we stated and we think it is an important step forwards for the industry that we have the courage to put these independent test reports into the public domain. You will also know that we have always claimed lower numbers than are commonly claimed in the industry for machines of this size (1.7-1.8m diameter rotors) and yet in the independent trials such as the Warwick Wind Trials and the Delta/Zeeland Windtest the Ampair 600 has been shown to be one of the better performers, or in some circumstances the best performer. You will note that the Ampair 600 is designed as a Class I turbine which is the strongest turbine available, and you will also note that it achieved 100% reliability on test.

The performance of the Ampair 600 in the 230V grid connected Mk2.5 configuration is lower than we would like because of the way the turbine interacts with the inverter. We are working very hard to improve this. We have at this time no reason to doubt the performance claims we are making for the Ampair 600 in the battery charge 24V or 48V versions. In due course we will conduct independent testing of the battery charge versions but independent testing is a very expensive process which we struggle to afford and so we will delay that until we think it is economic to do so. This will probably not be until we put forwards the next revision of the 230V grid connected turbine for independent testing. We expect to receive no government subsidy for testing in the UK.

We would like to thank both NaREC and TUV-NEL for their patience and support during this testing process. They are leading the industry in terms of offering a commercially available and affordable small wind turbine testing and certification process. We look forwards to cooperating with them on the next stage which is that of certification under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme which is a requirement for grant funding of some clients in the UK.

We encourage you to use these reports to register the Ampair 600 for any local certification schemes in your countries. If you do so please can you keep us informed so that we can understand your local processes and coordinate your activities where appropriate.

The other three documents are the certificates of conformity for the Aurora PVI 6000 which is the inverter used in the Ampair 6000. These are the grid connection standards to the Spanish EMW, German VDE, and UK G83 standards. Those of you who are making preparations for installing Ampair 6000 units may find them helpful.

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