Essentially a windmill for the home, the Skystream 3.7 is the first wind-powered appliance that produces energy for less than the average cost of electricity in the United States, and also produces usable energy in exceptionally low winds.

Wind Power to the People

Wind-powered generators that can cut homeowners' electricity bills come to Hopkins County

BY PATTI SELLS, News-Telegram Feature Writer

Oct. 28, 2008 - Wind has been used as a natural resource of power since days of old, but its charting new territory with revolutionary Residential Power Appliances (RPA) that allow home owners the opportunity to tap into its non-polluting, endless source of energy right in their own backyards.

"This is a fairly new concept," said Bobby Harris of Harris Electric, who has served Hopkins County for the past 25 years and is now pioneering the way with wind generators through his new business, Wind Power of North Texas. "What it means for the future is savings. This is just another tool to use in conservation that will help people with the soaring cost of electricity."

The Skystream 3.7 signals a new generation of wind generators changing the landscapes of how homes and small businesses receive energy. It's the first wind-powered, grid-connected residential power appliance that produces electricity for less than the retail rate of most utilities.

According to Harris, the appliance ties into your house electricity with just a couple of wires. As the wind turns the blades it generates electricity for your home -- simple as that.

"This year my cost for electricity here at home has doubled," said Harris, who installed his own RPA about a month ago. "I'm hoping for about a 25 percent savings with just the one. I'll check it for several months, and if it's working, I'll install another one and double my savings.

"I like to try something myself before I tell somebody else about it, " he added.

The sleek, swept-wing blades are made of fiberglass reinforced composite and are as quiet as the trees blowing in the wind. Poles range from 33 feet to 110 feet. in height. Its universal inverter delivers power compatible with any utility grid from 110 to 240 VAC and provides 40 to 90 percent of energy needed for homes or small businesses.

According to Harris, his home uses an average of 2,000 kilowatts of electricity per month, and while the Skystream will not generate enough energy to completely run a household on its own, it is a good supplemental source for keeping costs down.

"If the wind is blowing 12 miles per hour all month long, it would put out about 700 to 800 kW," Harris explained. "I have a neighbor that is very conservative and just uses about 400 to 500 kW a month. It would probably pay her total bill, or she'd get a check back from the power company."

If you're not using the electricity the RPA is generating, it actually puts it back into the grid, he said.

"You can actually see the meter going backwards," he explained. "In other words, you're selling it back to the power company, and by federal law they are required to buy it back."

Harris said power companies are not objecting to this latest technological advancement due to the many "go green" campaigns focusing on a clean environment.

"It makes them look better in the eyes of the government when they can say, 'We have X amount of customers conserving energy with this," he said. "The ones having a hard time accepting it are not fully understanding the operation."

Many consumers are associating this latest advancement with solar energy and doing whatever they can to go green, not only for the environment, but for the savings as well. According to Harris, some new home builders are actually figuring the cost of a wind turbine as apart of the construction.

Depending on the cost of installation, the cost of electricity and the average wind speed, the Skystream can pay for itself in as little as five years.

"Payback here in East Texas is probably a little longer than it would be in West Texas, but wind patterns have changed the past several years and we're getting a little more wind here," Harris said.

The cost for a 55-foot pole installed runs $15,000 and $12,000 for a 33-foot pole.

"They say that the height of the pole does make a difference," said Harris. "On a taller pole you are supposed to get about a 25 percent increase in wind."

But regardless of the height, when the wind is blowing, you are saving money.

"This is important because of the cost savings involved," Harris emphasized. "It's getting to where, especially with the elderly, they're having to choose between buying medicine or paying bills sometimes. But this kind of savings can benefit everybody by reducing or even eliminating your electric bill."

For more information contact Harris at 903-885-2810 or visit www.skystreamenergy.com

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