Rust along leading edge of tail fin.
Deterioration of rubber mount and washer stack behind.
Rusty display screws on inverter.
Cracks between blade and saddle, paint missing where nose cone touched blade.
(Click any image to enlarge)
Part 3: Summary - Good, Bad & Scandalous
Bergey Turbine – the GOOD:
- Very simple design, with little to go wrong, wear out or break.
- Extremely strong blades. The 'pultruding' process means there is a very high quantity of orientated glass fibre which makes the blades exceptionally robust.
Bergey Turbine – the BAD:
- The blades are fixed profile along their whole length, which is
less than optimal regarding energy capture and noise.
- Old technology inverter makes an annoying whistle while operating.
- Poor design / manufacture leaves a number of components not
fitting or deteriorating in just a few months, for example:
- tail-fin cut from pre-galvanised sheet but has no post-guillotine treatment so cut edges rust,
- nose cone (spinner) doesn't fit properly so packed out with a stack of washers,
- nose cone anti-vibration mounts made from UV susceptible material and cracked badly.
- inverter display screws have no corrosion protection so go rusty.
None of the above is particularly difficult to put right, but it demonstrates a poor design attitude or bad quality control.
Bergey Turbine – the SCANDALOUS:The UK Government issued a certificate under its MCS programme and promoted and encouraged people to install this wind turbine. The certificate includes a noise specification, but despite being installed correctly (and checked by NAPIT) at certain speeds the Bergey doesn't meet its specification by a huge margin! Further, just above the test range the turbine is deliberately allowed to over-speed and make even more noise.
I believe these faults make this turbine unusable near habitation and brings the whole Government certification scheme into disrepute.
- Cogging from the alternator induced resonance resulting in a 'fog
horn' noise, 'warbles' and acoustic disturbance significantly outside
its MCS noise specification. Listen to resonance recordings from
- Gross over-speed. Once the inverter reaches maximum power the
turbine stays into the wind with no mechanical regulation. The turbine
then escapes to a very high speed with associated massive noise output.
The noise has been compared to a helicopter or turbo-prop aircraft.
This is a deliberate Bergey design decision; I assumes it is in
order to maximise yield, which could otherwise make the Bergey appear
- The turbine is not permitted to be left in a 'braked' condition, so can not be legitimately stopped after installation.
Hutchinson's Tower – the GOOD:
- Light weight with relatively small foundation block means minimal
- Easy to build and fairly low cost.
Hutchinson's Tower – the BAD:
- Structural resonance when used with Bergey turbine.
- Excessive deflection (too flexible) during gusty wind conditions.
However my own (very crude) test using a Telehandler to support the tower
suggests that it does meet the deflection/load requirements specified
by Bergey in their 'Manufacturer Tower Design Requirements' document.
This suggests that the problem is more likely to be excess load being
applied by the turbine.
- Weld distortion of flanges leaves a question as to the exact tension in the fixing bolts.
Micro-generation Certification Scheme (MCS)In the next part of this write-up I attempt to go through the correct procedure and raise a complaint via MCS. After a year this eventually results in a meeting with representatives from MCS, BRE Global (the certification company) and DECC ('Department of Energy and Climate Change'). In summary: they appear desperate to avoid recognising this as a scheme problem.
The screen dump opposite is how MCS markets itself, be warned it is just propaganda.
- "MCS is a mark of quality ..." ?
Based on my experience that seems difficult to justify in the everyday sense of the word.
- "... and demonstrates compliance to industry standards" ?
Are standards written by the industry itself what consumers or the wider public need? I suggest we need protection from unscrupulous manufactures and false or misleading claims?
- "Consumer Protection" ?
I am £50,000 out-of-pocket and the only suggestion from MCS was "sue your installer". Where is the protection?
- "without miss-selling or misleading" ?
I purchased on the basis of the MCS certificate, but even its very restricted data isn't remotely accurate. With prima facie evidence of a problem, MCS itself is misleading consumers and the public as it continues to certify and promote this turbine.
- "satisfying rigorous and established European and International
Purchasers of renewable energy systems and those who are affected by them (all ordinary citizens) rely on the Government to ensure these standards are appropriate - THEY ARE NOT!
- "competence of installers" ?
Does that include SIAC / Bergey who nearly toppled my tower?