Tuesday, November 1, 2011

hoisting the wind turbine

hoisting the wind turbine
into the blue sky, three blades
catching the wind

On Halloween day, the wind turbine is up at last. It's been eleven months since we purchased the Bergey GVFX3524 and three solar panels. We celebrated this trick with treats: apple cider and homemade cookies.

On the ides of December last year, the parts for the wind turbine arrived in the snow. They sat in their cardboard boxes all winter and through the extremely wet spring.

In late May John began clearing wild blackberry bushes and thorn trees from the wind turbine site southwest of our house.

All through the extremely hot, dry summer, John dug five five-foot deep holes for the guy wire footings, chipping away at the rock-hard clay with a pick ax. A cement truck came out the last week of August to pour the 3 1/2 foot concrete footings as well as the foundation for the power equipment shed. 

A week later on the first of September, a young couple came out to move a little garden shed to the wind turbine site. This shed would house the power equipment: batteries, charge controller and inverter. John cleared a path through the woods, but he forgot to measure the width of the roof, so he and the two movers had to cut branches and a few small trees to squeeze the shed through.

Sliding the shed onto the foundation on rollers was tricky and required a lot of maneuvering with a fork lift to get it straight without slipping off.

By the end of September, the guy wires and gin pole for lifting the wind turbine tower are up and the poles for the tower have been connected. The solar panels propped against the shed are conditioning the batteries. Later, they'll be mounted on permanent racks.

In October John and our neighbor, also John, raise the turbine tower without the turbine attached, to test the winch and all the guy wires. This takes 3 1/2 hours, with the two men taking turns cranking the winch with a gigantic wrench. Then it's lowered again. John puts the internal wiring in place and attaches the turbine. Then he waits for a day that's not raining or too windy for the final raising. On the last day of October, a hot Indian Summer day, John and John go to work again cranking the winch.

John has to clear some more branches as the turbine starts to go up.  

Turbine half-way up, gin pole halfway down.

This time it takes only 1 1/2 hours. Up, but not quite straight at the top!

John has to open some of the malleable wire rope clips, tighten some of the wires and loosen others until the pole is straight from bottom to top. Now the only thing left to do is the power wiring, which gets the power into and out of the batteries. This will help us get off of coal and oil, and for that we'll be able to celebrate every windy and/or sunny day.

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