Sunair Power Private Ltd has revisited the technology of vertical shaft windmills and has developed a machine for rooftop applications in the country.

The Bangalore-based company is offering solar-wind hybrid power systems that can generate about 8 units of green power a day, with 60 per cent coming from wind sources. While the windmills are completely manufactured by the company, the solar panels are sourced from module manufacturers.

The ‘micro hybrid power generator' consists of a 1.7-KW wind turbine and a 1.1-KW capacity solar module, an inverter and batteries for 230-V AC output, and costs about Rs 4.5 lakh.

The system is not tied to the grid and is independent of the power supply from the grid.

“While the concept of vertical shaft windmills has been talked about for years now, it hasn't been too successful because people have been expecting it to generate large capacities. While this doesn't generate high capacities, it is good for a county like ours where wind flow is not very high,” Mr Ramesh Viswanath, co-founder of the company told Business Line.

“We saw that since India is more of a ‘sun' country rather than a ‘wind' country, we had to make something to suit the low wind spends prevalent in India,” Mr G. K. Venkatesh Prasad, co-founder at the company added.

Low-speed advantage

According to Mr Viswanath, the advantage is that the vertical shaft machines rotate even at low wind speeds of 1.5 m/s and generate power at 3 m/sec compared with conventional windmills that start spinning only at speeds of 3 m/s.

“Also, unlike horizontal shaft windmills, this is completely vibration and noise free and is also immune to the direction of wind flow,” he pointed out.

The three-year-old company that is partly funded by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy , has done pilot projects at Nandi Hills; Raitara Samparka Kendra (Farmer's Interaction Centre) in Karnataka's Belgaum district , and at the company's office in Bangalore. The company is currently targeting to set up the systems in hospitals and police stations .

The machines can also be used on wind farms and a few wind farm developers have evinced interest in purchasing the generators, Mr Viswanath said.

Sunair is in the process of applying for certification from the Centre for Wind Energy Technology (CWET) after which users will be eligible for subsidies of up to 90 per cent. With this, the payback period will be about 3 years as against 8 years prior to certification.

sushma.un@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 16, 2012)
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