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Wind Turbine Information

The Wind for Schools program aims to install small wind systems as schools as a demonstation project for educational purposes. With this in mind, the national Wind for Schools program has identified a suggested wind turbine that is easy to implement and interconnect to the school's electrical grid, is small enough so that all of the system generation will be used at the school, and has integrated data logging to provide data for use in the classroom. The standard Wind for School system is a SkyStream 3.7, 2.4-kW wind turbine. Click here to see a spec sheet for the Skystream 3.7.

Schools are able to install whatever type of turbine they would like or can afford and still be part of the Wind for Schools network. However, not all turbines offer data logging and have the long standing performance of the Skystream. Click here to see a list of small wind turbines that you may also consider if a Skystream is not for your school.

If a school has a larger wind resource available and the funds, a larger wind turbine could be an option. Northern Power systems is supported by the Wind for Schools program and their Northern Power 100 (100kW) is a good selection for those in a good wind resource. Click here to see a spec sheet for the Northern Power 100.

Cost of a Turbine

The funding that JMU receives from Wind Powering America is simply to administer the program in our state and does not include any funding for the turbines at the schools. Thus it is the schools responsibility to find the funding for the system, and JMU's State Facilitator will be available to help identify funding opportunities and understand the costs of a turbine.

A small wind turbine like a Skystream 3.7 can cost up to $20,000, but depending on the installer that you work with and the support of your community that can be much lower (Roughly $12,000-$15,000). Click here to download the Wind for Schools Project Power System Brief. Many of these items can be donated by the utility, members of the community, or the installer. For a project funding fact sheet, click here.

Low Cost Options

Due to the limited wind resource available at schools in Virginia as well as the lack of funding in this economy, we recognize that schools may want to look at other wind turbine options for their Wind for Schools projects. Below is a list of some other suggested wind turbines better suited for lower wind speed and also at a lower cost. You can also download the Low Cost Option Factsheet.

Funding Ideas

There are many funding options for schools that want to put up a wind turbine on campus. Some ideas are listed below:

  • JMU has received cost matching from BP Wind to support Wind for Schools projects and we are working on securing more of this kind of support from businesses in Virginia
  • State Energy Office: In 2010 the Virginia State Energy Office offered funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help schools install small wind systems on their campuses. JMU is hoping that the State Energy Office will be able to find funds in years to come to continue to help fund these worthy projects
  • Appalachian Regional Commission and Tobbacco Commission: Schools in the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Tobacco Commission territory may also be elidgible for funding for projects
  • US Department of Agriculture: The USDA has two grants, REAP EEI and RBEG, that could be used to fund renewable energy projects at schools in rural areas
  • Lowes: The Lowes Tool Box grant is commonly used for projects in other Wind for Schools states
  • Green Energy Certificates: Large businesses in the state will be purchase the environmental attributes associated with the first 10 years of operation of a smalll wind turbine on school property for about $2,500. Schools will want to identify possible companies in their area and write letters to invite them to sponsor your project. JMU can help with this process as well.
  • Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) Settlements: SEPs are a policy vehicle designed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to give violators an alternative to standard fines for noncompliance. Instead of paying the full anount of its fines, the company can volunteer to fund environmentaly friendly projects. JMU is can help get schools in touch with the right contact at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
  • KidWind has a list of grants and funding they know about that may help fund KidWind workshops, Challenges, or hands-on materials.

We have put together a comprehensive Grant Writing Guide for schools. This document includes information on potential funding opportunities, Wind for Schools grant writing guidelines and example grants, and other resources that will help you compose grant proposals for your school's project.

Measuring the Wind

It is crucial to understand your wind resource before deciding to install a wind turbine. The Virginia Center for Wind Energy offers meteorological tower loans for schools through the Virginia Wind for Schools program but there are a limited number of towers available each year. On-site wind meaurements at the height of the intended turbine for a full year is optimal. However, there are many wind estimators available for schools to use to understand their wind resource before deciding to pursue a small wind project. The most common are listed below (note some require you to purchase a license):