Minnesota business owner Tony Magnotta has installed a mini vertical axis wind turbine farm on the rooftop of his office building in St. Paul. The three turbines on the rooftop were joined by a fourth turbine installed in his parking lot. Magnotta owns the office building and one of his companies, Minnesota Wind Technology, is housed in the building.
According to Magnotta this is the first urban wind farm of its kind in the country. Magnotta also installed solar panels, explaining that this would make the building “totally self-sufficient.”
The turbines installed are approximately eighteen feet tall and were manufactured by a Taiwanese company, HI-VAWT. “We switched from natural gas to electric heat. We’re saving hundreds to $1,000 a month,” said Magnotta, who is in discussions with the HI-VAWT to manufacture more turbines.
The cost was not cheap; each turbine cost Magnotta $20,000 and he paid $50,000 for the solar panels. But because of the federal government incentives combined with the long-term energy savings, he believes it’s a good deal. As energy costs continue to increase on a constant basis, Magnotta says, “We’ll all have to do this.”
The wind turbine installation fits in well with the City of St. Paul’s energy conservation efforts as city officials are constantly looking for ways to create a more environmentally sustainable city.
There are three versions of the HI-VAWT turbine ranging from 300 watts to 3 kilowatts. The design is a combination of a stocky Savonius turbine along the axis and a set of three Darrieus blades.