UK certification scheme list gets shorter

The list of small wind tubines that hold the coveted MCS certification is growing shorter as time goes by.  In order the qualify for the lucrative Feed in Tariffs, you need to own a turbine on this list.  Recently the Eoltec has disappeared and now following technical problems the Proven 35 has also gone.

The MCS administrators have made this statement:

MCS today announces that the certification of the both the P35 and the P35-2 has been suspended, pending further information on the recent failures it has experienced.

We are now advising all customers of either the P35 or P35-2 to follow the safety advice of braking those systems, and then contacting their installation company for further advice.

The Proven 11 (formerly the 6 kW Proven) is now on the approved list    

Evance…      Evance Wind Turbines Limited      R9000…      
    Evoco…     Evoco Energy Limited     Evoco 10…     
    Gaia-Wind     Gaia-Wind Ltd         GW 133-11kw…     
    Proven Energy P11…     Proven Energy         P11…     
    quietrevolution QR 5 v1.3…     quietrevolution     QR 5 v 1.3…     
    quietrevolution QR 5 v1.4…     quietrevolution     QR 5 v 1.4…     
    Skystream 3.7…     Southwest Windpower, Inc.     Skystream 3.7…     
    Skystream Marine 3.7…     Southwest Windpower, Inc.     Skystream Marine 3.7… Info
    Xzeres -442SR Xzeres Wind Corp     Xzeres-442SR Wind Generator…    

There are several other good products out there.  For example the C&F turbines from Galway are worth watching.  See this rather positive write up.There are other old, established manufacturers who are weathering the storm gracefully whilst others boom and bust.  Here is a quote from one:

Over the years we have seen a number of small wind companies take venture capital or go public as “penny stocks”. With their newfound millions they hire high-power managers and marketers with no background in small wind, they build slick web sites, they advertise and promote extensively, and they woo dealers with visions of untold riches. They focus much more on quantity of sales versus quality of sales and they don’t address product and support issues with the same priority. The result is often hyped-up expectations, dissatisfied customers, a sinking reputation, and an inability to build sales based on word of mouth referrals. Sales slow while overhead expenses continue, losses build, more money is poured into the company, and at some point the money-men pull the plug. They thought they were in for a quick buck, but they had no idea how difficult the small wind business really is.

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23 Responses to UK certification scheme list gets shorter

  1. Iain says:

    How can you possibly say c&f are a good turbine when customers all over Scotland are unhappy with production, turbines broken, false claims on output and now having to pay for “upgrades”. The 10yr warranty that means nothing, price rise and double service costs than previously stated.!!!

    • admin says:

      Hi Iain, Thanks for your input. I don’t get all the news. Making small wind turbines is certainly not easy, and buying them is not for the faint hearted!

  2. Greg says:

    I appreciate your caution about inexperienced fast buck operators booming and busting. Do you have any thoughts on XZERES? I am a shareholdee in the company and find inforamation about the companys reputation and professionalism hard to come by.

    I’d appreciate any info or ideas you may have.

    Thanks,
    Greg
    Ann Arbor, MI
    USA

    • admin says:

      hi Greg,

      It’s an interesting story. I designed a wind turbine that was made in Africa (African Wind Power) fifteen years back. AWP exported some units to the USA with fatal modifications to the design, and the USA agent decided instead to use the basic AWP machine with an enhanced alternator and start manufacture of the ARE turbine. ARE was bought up by Xzeres who are still using what was basically my design (furling tail etc).

      I don’t know much about the Xzeres machine today to be honest with you. I’d always recommend looking for happy users if you want to judge the value of a wind company. Customer support is key. Without good support the product is not likely to be successful for long.

      I hope this helps.

      Hugh

      • We installed an Xzeres turbine in November 2011. It did not work. It did not work because of a faulty circuit board in the controller which was not replaced for several weeks during which Xzeres tried to blame others for the fault. (When they supplied a new circuit board that fault was resolved). I had to work really hard to get the change made.
        Other faults then emerged which were eventually resolved at the end of February 2012 and the turbine then started to produce well. It generated double the output of our 6 kw Proven turbine.
        Unfortunately its good generation was accompanied by a level of noise that Xzeres and VG energy employees agreed was higher than it should be. A neighbour complained to Sheffield City Council’s Environmental Health department and they started to monitor the noise level for themselves. (A separate issue here is the poor professional performance of the officer assigned to the case – I am pursuing a complaint against the officer as a result).
        Xzeres response to resolving the noise issue has been very poor. I have had to work hard to get any action taken and none of the modifications that have been made through 2012 have resolved the issue. Eventually Xzeres changed the alternator for a reconditioned model in October 2012 but within a few weeks they decided that it was not performing properly and turned the turbine off. It has not worked since the end of November 2012.
        Other issues have occurred during the year. An anemometer should have been fitted during the installation – this has still not occurred. The heat dumps were initially located outside our farmhouse but made such a whistling noise that they needed to be moved. Xzeres said that it was perfectly safe to move them indoors to our cellar. In high winds, I have recorded temperatures in excess of 120* F in the cellar. This issue has also not been resolved.
        Communication with Xzeres is very frustrating. I send almost daily emails to Frank Greco the CEO who replies very politely but action rarely follows. I have yet to decide whether he is ineffective, disingenuous or at the mercy of the board, who through the main shareholder, David Baker have made it clear that they do not want to receive my correspondence.
        Meanwhile the company is touted as a ‘bull stock’ on the New York Stock Exchange which shows that they must have a healthy turnover which in turn shows (given our experience) that they prioritise new sales over providing adequate service to existing customers.
        Our losses are approaching £7,000 (not including the time that I have spent working on the problems) which I will pursue vigorously.
        I am also taking other actions such as making a complaint to MCS.

    • Donald says:

      Hi Greg,
      I take it you’re keeping up with Hugh Piggotts blog. If the service we have had from both Xzeres and VG energy is anything to go by I would suspect they’re both in deep trouble.
      Regards
      Donald.

    • Ian Howat says:

      Hi Ann,
      I had some cash to invest as part of my pension fund and erected a xzeres turbine. I have had lots of problems and at the moment it is broken down yet again. It was down for 3 weeks a the windiest time in the late autumn during what was one of the most produtive periods. It broke down again one month ago (burned out generator and a damaged blade). The supplier took 2 weeks to send some technicians (the excuse was “Too windy” or no technicians available”) I have been very dissapointed in the sevice that I have recieved from the supplier and in the reliability of the machine. I can you more detail if you require as I have recorded everything.

      Kind regards, Ian Howat

  3. Dan Maltby says:

    We are an insurance broker specialising in wind turbines. Luckily we only insure 2 Xzeres turbines, both of which have not been operational for several months. There appears to problems with the alternator, I believe they are using Chineese alternators which don’t work.

    Xzeres don’t appear to have the capability of being able to get replacement parts and get the turbines working again.

    Anyone wanting to buy a 10kw turbine go for an Aircon or Bergey, both are reliable turbines.

  4. john wilson says:

    firstly im an xzeres owner

    as every other turbine maker they have had issues
    spares were a problem -this was due to the very high demand for new turbines before the Fit reduction. I have been promised this will now improve.
    The alternator issue was due to a faulty batch, they have change supplier
    They are working hard to improve their software and hopefully will soon have any issues resolved
    in reply to Mark Woods i have my dump load located indoors, i have never had an issue, yes they do make a noise so not something to put next to your bedroom window !
    on the whole i think the turbine is a good simple design which in the long term will prove its worth

  5. Donald says:

    Bought an xzeres 442sr from VG energy in July 2012. Never went right from the beginning. My wife was constantly resetting it. In September it went into overspin and it’s death squeals could be heard miles away. New blades, etc, had to come from the states. Ten weeks downtime.Spring 2013 alternater gone. Thirteen weeks downtime so far, awaiting alternater from states. Spares backup with VG appears to be practically none existent and words could not describe my thoughts on the Xzeres 442sr.

    • John Wilson says:

      Hi Donald
      I had the same problem with the over speed, again last September causing the blades to shatter. This was due to a bug in the operating software which has now been fixed. I insisted that the changed my alternator at the same time as the blades due to the stresses it has been put under. I had a 4 week wait for parts as well. Since then it has run without fault so don’t loose hope !!

  6. Donald says:

    Xzeres 442 sr. Still waiting for alternater. Forgotten how many weeks that is.

  7. Aidan Hicks says:

    Reading this confirms my impression of xzeres, which unfortunately I formed over last year when they ‘tried’ and failed to gain planning permission for one of their turbines for me, an application they withdrew at the last minute for reasons still unexplained leaving me £3000 out of pocket and none the wiser. The promise of a partial refund was the last email I received, since when all their agents seem either to be away on leave, unable to answer the phone or just plain uncommunicative. The blessing I suppose is that I don’t actually have one of their turbines.

  8. Donald says:

    Can now confirm, xzeres 442sr installed July 2012, blades and alternator replaced October 2012, March 2013 alternator gone again, so much for reliability.

  9. Donald says:

    Nearly six month to get alternator, easily the most useless piece of equipment it’s been my displeasure to own in my nearly fifty years farming career.VG Energy say” not their fault” as Xzeres couldn’t supply part. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t sell lawn mowers without a reliable back up spares supply in place first.

  10. Chris Down says:

    Having read all the comments above I can only agree Xzeres are the worst company I have ever dealt with. After waiting 4 months for it to be installed only for the control box to blow up as did the replacement, 6 week delay for each one, then worked OK for 6 months only to breakdown again. This time they said it was the alternator this took 8 months to arrive but the thing still did not work so they decided to replace all the cables. It has now stopped again after only 3.5 months but they are not coming to look at it for another 3 week.
    I can’t decide whether this company are just plain incompetent or out and out crooks. How is it they are still have MCS accreditation.

  11. Donald says:

    My wife commented today “this is the 3rd Christmas we’ve had the wind turbine & the 3rd Christmas it’s been broken down”. How does it know? Just how does it know?

  12. ja d says:

    I installed a 442SR from Xzeres 4 years ago. The wind generator came with a 5 year warranty. Living in a remote area of Colorado, it was/is important to me to have a reliable/dependable source of alternative energy. We chose the 442 in the belief that the product was reliable and that the Company, Xzeres, would stand behind the 442. Both of our beliefs were gravely misplaced. The four years since installation have been an absolute nightmare. The last time our 442 worked was early spring of 2014. We finally got a technician from Xzeres to come out to the field in October, 2014. He determined that internal parts in the generator needed to be replaced and that he would be “back in two weeks” to repair. He finally came out the week of May 11, 2015, a full 7 months later. After reviewing the installation, he determined that he did not have the right parts and would be “back in 2 weeks.” Guess what, 2 weeks have come and gone and he still hasn’t come out. Now he is saying another technician will come but can’t give us a date.

    Please understand, we have documented a four year history of dealings with Xzeres. My installation contractor, who has been a life-saver, estimates that during the last 4 years, the generator has only been operational for 12 of the last 48 months. I personally believe it is somewhat less than that. I want to warn others against dealing with Xzeres. I would hate for others to spend as much as I have and receive a defective product and deal with an unprofessional, uncooperative company.

  13. Donald says:

    Aye Ja d, ours has been up for 39 mths, has worked for 17. 3rd alternater installed this week having been broken down since early March, pretty similar waiting time to previous occasion. On another occasion had to wait for new blades to come from USA. as it went into over spin , due to some diagnostics glitch, & feathered the blade tips, ie,fibreglass disintegrating. Biggest bit of cheek I’ve seen was being asked to pay 1/2 the technicians accommodation expenses this time. We agreed as long as they took it off the £10,000 min they owed us for downtime, never received a penny on any occasion. Service from Scotland’s biggest wind energy supplier has also been pretty atrocious.

    • CLARE RENTON says:

      Dear Donald
      XZERES 442
      Did you ever get the money?
      is there any law on this
      Did anyone ever sue them successfully for beach of contract / loss of income
      I see they have printed terms and conditions excluding any liability . Did they ever try to uphold them in court?
      please can you reply to me at crenton@29br.co.uk

      I paid £52000 and it has generated 7000 units in 3.5 years!

      CLARE

  14. Donald says:

    Hi Clare, no, haven’t received a penny compensation for down time, now awaiting our
    4th alternator in 4 yrs with an average waiting time for each of 6-9mths. Was in the process of registering a complaint with MCS with a view to legal action when I was informed I could have a bit of difficulty getting it repaired in the future. Anyway it transpires that legal action could easily cost more than the £70,000 or so we paid for the turbine. Just been a dead loss,my wife insists its coming down in the next two month & an Aircon 10 going up on its base with an adapter plate fitted. She’s probably right as to extend the warranty (without which repair would be unviable) will likely be astronomical. I shall be sure to send photos of it rotting in the grass, ” ‘cos it’s not worth anything, who would buy it” to the Philippines, Thailand, & worldwide.

  15. Chris Riley says:

    Anyone know anything about Eocycle? They are making some impressive claims for AEP but no machines installed in the UK ?…..the world?
    Their rep is trying hard (called at my mates farm) but lots of real data is missing – claim lowest cost of energy and best warranty but no evidence to back this up.
    Saw the turbine on a trailer at All Energy Glasgow (too cheap to take space in the exhibition?) and the composites were fairly ropey ….give them about 2 years……and the corrosion protection poor…..no….not poor…… crap

    Seems the machine is certified under MCS …but then so were Evoco and many others…..

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