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Cascade Launches Oh-So-Quiet Rooftop Wind Turbine

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Plastic parts maker Cascade Engineering is bringing a small rooftop wind turbine called the SWIFT to North America. The company says the SWIFT is significantly quieter than traditional small wind turbines — less than 35 decibels, compared with 40 to 50 decibels for competing products. The tiny turbine is already available in the UK, Belgium, New Zealand and the Netherlands through its Scottish designer, Renewable Devices. Cascade has licensed the technology to bring it to the U.S.

Several cities, including San Francisco and New York, have called for more small wind systems to be installed on city buildings, so perhaps the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Cascade could be a hit with urban planners concerned about noise pollution from wind turbines. Renewable Devices says the SWIFT is “the quietest wind system currently available,” due to a ring that connects the outer edges of the blades, which causes air to move silently off the rotor.

In North America, Cascade is targeting both commercial and residential building owners, and the company will first offer the product in the Northeast and Great Lakes states. While the company is targeting home owners, it isn’t a DIY product — it requires a professional installer and costs $10,000 to $12,000. For that price, customers get a wind turbine that produces 1.5 kW, or up to 2000 kWh per year, and has a blade diameter of 7 feet.

In the U.S., the market for small-scale wind is still tiny, and most of the wind turbines that get installed are for large wind farms that will sell the power to utilities. But there are still a variety of startups looking to develop products, as the trend of small-scale distributed renewable energy has started to gain momentum. Some of the startups we’ve covered include Quiet Revolution, Mariah Power, Marquiss Wind Power, Helix Wind, and Southwest Wind Power (round up here).

24 Responses to “Cascade Launches Oh-So-Quiet Rooftop Wind Turbine”

  1. akismet-ae61a05474e38fb33699a7378478fc6e

    The Swift does not need batteries but it will not usually produce 2000 kWh per year unless you live in a lighthouse or place like that. Rooftop wind is not an effective technology, and it will give windpower in general a bad name. Rootops are not good windpower sites. Small wind turbines can work well on tall towers on good sites, although they are never a source of cheap electricity. City dwellers with good intentions should look elsewhere to save the environment. Put some insulation in your walls and roof and turn off the lights and stuff when you leave the room.

  2. My designs for ‘ROOFTOP electricity GENERATING WIND TURBINE’ have been presented on the internet for a couple of years. Please visit to see a unique configuration. Queen Wind Turbines can also be structured along roadsides to convert the kinetic energy of vehicle drafts into electricity. I am merely an innovator and designer; it would be nice to have prototypes made of my products. Anyone interested?

  3. William A. Marley

    If you buy The Swift (above) you’ll have to buy not one but two inverters if you want to run 240v. Each inverter costs around $2K each. Now if you want to use a computer or watch TV without horizontal lines across the picture, you’ll have to get pure sine wave inverters !
    These devices cost as much as $10,000.00 each. You can, however, get cheaper ones that don’t work very well. Now you’re going to need a automatic transfer switch for around $2500.00. Ok, you are ready to pay the Electric Utility Company! AEP/PSO of Ohio, which controls areas in many states, not only Ohio. I can say unequivically they are the biggest rip-off electric company on the face of the earth. They’re going to charge you around $5000.00 just to hook-up this equipment.
    This is the greening of America as Barrack Obama says ! Unless the prices come down, only Al Gore will be able to afford greening!
    I haven’t included all the costs, there’s installation at $60.00 per hour. Usually takes me five or six eight hour days. Of course I have a bucket truck that goes up 80 feet. Total, complete installation of this wind turbine would cost around $25,000.00.
    I can install a SKYSTREAM 3.7 (which has a built in pure sine wave inverter that puts out 240v.) for around $10,000.00 complete !

  4. William A. Marley

    Why would I or anybody else buy this albatros for 10~12 thousand dollars when I can buy a SKYSTREAM 3.7 for $5600.00 that produces 450KwH per month ! That’s 5.4KwH per year instead of 2KwH per years for the atrocity above !

  5. this would be good to have in the event the power gird goes down or local power goes down. I have been in emergency situations where we went without power for a week or more. Not fun. In addition, if you have a medical situation where power is required for survival this is a viable option. Survivalists would probably advocate a system like this as well. I live in Nebraska and it is windy here. This would work well.

  6. Will Wiese

    This is NOT a stand alone windmill. Although it could be set up that way. You don’t need to store the electricity in batteries.
    What it is is a ‘Grid tied’ system. The electricity generated is fed into an inverter which feeds the local electricity grid. Your needs a met first, and any additional power is fed into the local grid for distribution to everyone else. You use less of the grids power.(So you don’t pay for that electricity.) The electricity you don’t use from the grid is therefore available to other folks.
    You still get power from your wind generated electricity. Any electricity you send to the local electricity grid earns you money! It will pay off in time without batterys!

  7. Frank kandrnal

    Stand alone alternate energy systems will never make cheap electricity for you. Cost of the batteries is prohibitive and this fact will not change anytime soon.
    Batteries age and need replacement, usually sooner than later.
    Grid inter-tied system has better chance, but then, you are still tied to utility power.
    You cannot compare the alternate energy technology to DVD players and other electronic gadgets. Alternate energy systems are more material intensive, hence the cost will always reflect the ever increasing material cost, even if the production labor is driven by slave drivers.
    The word cheap energy is the dream of the days gone. We lost that chance in anti nuclear sentiment of the past.
    You will never see cheap electricity from wind or solar madness. It appears to be cheap because of the heavy subsidies pumped into it right now, but sooner or later we will bear the consequences for what we do today. One thing is certain in our future! The utility bills will be high and standard of living low.
    There is only one alternate energy that has the potential to save us from financial oblivion. It is nuclear energy from Thorium. However, how many people ever heard of this safe technology? A very few! Wind and solar is the new religion of the fanatics. Financially, it is unworkable solution propagated by those who are ignorant of the facts.

  8. Don’t be intimidated by the price. $10 to 12,000 is cost-prohibitive on the surface, but there is a $4000 federal tax credit, plus there are oterh credits and low-cost loans available for individuals and businesses located in rural counties. It might end up costing more like $5-6000 after all is said and done. And $5000 opens up the market to an entirely new group of people.

  9. danny e west

    folks, come on, what we need is affordable 1.5 to 2 kw power that can be installed by the homeowner. in this economy and considering the coming taxes (carbon, cap-n-trade, etc) there will be more demand for the family unit than commercial. AND there will be less money to buy with.

  10. Jim Wright

    Windpower is not economical. Wind turbines require the energy produced to be stored in environmentaly unfriendly batteries.The return on investment for wind turbines is terrible compared to nuclear power, a technology which actually has less of an environmental impact than the windmill/battery combination. Wind would be a better technology if it could produce a continuous stream of reliable electricity at a competitive cost (but unfortunate it cannot). Windmills are toys being built because they are subsidzed by the government much like corn based ethanol plants.

  11. Bill T

    This is inspiring. First, MI needs all the jobs it can get, so I’m glad Cascade is in Grand Rapids. Second, small scale wind is still a developing industry. Remember when CD players cost $400? DVD players $900? Wait till communist China starts cranking these out for about $100 a piece, you’ll see Cascade and other companies adjusting accordingly. Also, look at it this way, we NEED electricity, we don’t need DVD players, yet we buy them anyway. We also NEED Furnaces, hot water heaters, and clothes washers, -though once upon a time we didn’t have those either, but are now standard in every household. At some point, it WILL be ‘code’ to have some sort of renewable energy (wind/solar) included in every new build. Older homes will have to upgrade. This is a ready product to help make that happen.

  12. cost is prohibitive. if these companies want to really exsist then they have to bring it to the realm that makes financial sense. It seems that they are just using federal dollor grants for nothing

  13. Walt Ozierski

    The average home uses about 10,500 kWh (kilowatt hours) each year. According to this article, the wind turbine systems designed for the home can cost nearly $12,000 (installed) and produce up to 2,000 kWh per year. I live in a 2000 sq. ft. home in Virginia. My average electric bill is $225 per month or $2700 per year. If my home is considered “average” and I reduce my bill by 2000 kWh annually (19%), I’d save about $513 each year. Using my rough numbers, it would take over 23 years to break even. Am I missing something? Perhaps I need to add an array of solar panels as well – for another $30,000. Now I see why France went Nuclear . . .

    • William A. Marley

      Oh yes ! When you sell the excess electricity to the utility company, they pay you 3/10th of a cent per KwH while they are charging you from $10.00 per KwH to $40.00 per KwH.
      Jimmy Carter was a genius when he instituted tax breaks for solar and wind back in the early 80’s. The idiot that screwed up California when he was Governor, recinded those tax breaks when he was President.
      If you are looking for state rebates, don’t expend too much energy, you won’t find any unless you live in California. Everyone gets the measley stipend of $4000.00 federal rebate.
      Until we get rid of the blood-sucking utility companies and the (pockets full of utility co. money) people who regulate them we are not going to get anything that will improve our lives electrically that is affordable.
      This greening of America is a conspiracy between Obama (Democtrats) and the utilities (Republicans) to screw you out of your hard earned money !
      Build your own wind turbine with an old worn out box fan really cheap, just use the internet, it’ll show you how !

  14. I think there is a better designed system than this. The rooftop wind turbines at WindEnergy7 are more reflective of the proven designs of Utility Scale Wind Power. You see, there is decades of design, testing, and engineering behind the three bladed wind turbine designs that are used in large scale wind farms. This thing is different looking and may be a nice piece of visual I guess, but most people investing in home wind systems want performance not a sculpture.

    The rooftop wind system at WindEnergy7 follows proven technical knowledge of wind power. Besides, their turbines stainless steel parts will last far longer than this plastic design pictured here. Have a look at a real durable turbine here.. rooftop turbine