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doubles the cost-efficiency of production. Although the initial expense is higher, a hybrid system provides greater continuity of power supply at a lower cost per watt hour. THE SOMA WIND GENERATOR

New Zealand's connection with California isn't one of size alone. For 12 years a native of Santa Barbara, CA has been building wind generators here in New Zealand.

Harold Ward sailed his 40 foot yacht across the Pacific to New Zealand in the years 1975-1977. Locals were soon to see the merits of the prototype wind generator he had built for his yacht and, one thing leading to another, "Wardy" began commercially building the machines in 1978. Soma Power Ltd. is now a well established company in Auckland manufacturing wind generators. The demand for wind generators through the early years was only just enough to keep one man in business, though it provided the experience to make the wind generator. As a result many 12 year old units are out there, testing the durability of the designs.

Development has been centered around the original alternator configuration of 12 or 24 poles of copper windings set around the central stationary aluminum stator housing. The appropriate number of ceramic ferrite magnets are set in an aluminum hub which rotates around the outside of the stator. Using this number of poles allows power output from the alternator at lower RPM than, say, a 4 pole automotive type alternator. As with all alternators there are no carbon brushes to wear out and replace. The alternator is directly driven by the 3 blades on the Soma windmill bolted to the face of the alternator hub. This is an extremely secure method of attachment with the hub having been designed to both take the blades and contain the magnets.

The Real Advantage

The real advantage of building the alternator from the ground up, in house, is that we can choose the materials for wind generator use and abuse. Corrosion resistant alloys are used for the stator and hub housings. The stator is completely encapsulated in high temperature epoxy resin. Copper windings can be varied in size to optimize output in relation to the blade characteristics and swept area. The blades and alternator are in effect "tuned" to go together.

System Cost and Relative Performance

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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