From time to time I comment on the list of approved wind turbines that qualify for the hefty Feed-in-Tariffs that are being dished out and that make small wind turbines a Money Earner (potentially) in the UK lately.
I am glad to see Bergey Windpower on the list now. That’s not because I think the Bergey is a specially good turbine. It’s because the US company look after their customers.
Small wind companies have a poor record for looking after their customers. Proven for example before their demise left a wake of unhappy folk and problems that took too long or forever to resolve. From being the longest established and best known, they went bust and left hundreds of people stranded with turbines that could not be run, and that lost their MCS status. Now these turbine owners can get a solution with VG Energy and that is wonderful. But their experience highlights how little security the (very expensive) MCS testing process offers to the buyer. Whilst excluding all small and DIY operators from the money game.
Eoltec are now back on this ‘approved’ list. However it’s important to know that there a still a lot of unhappy customers out there who do not have working turbines and who are not being helped out by the French company or by their (now very quiet) former UK agents. See for example the comments on my last posting about Eoltec a year ago.
HERE IS A MESSAGE FROM AN UNHAPPY OWNER: “This is a call to any frustrated owners of Eoltec 6KW machines that have found themselves without a working machine, no access to spare parts and no joy from the machine manufacturer.
I bought an Eoltec 6KW machine in 2007 and I have had problems from day one. The machine never worked for a full warranty period of 2 years without an issue. The machine has not generated one unit of power since November 2010 and I only received the first written response from Eoltec ever last week through the UK ECC( European Consumer Centre). They are blaming installation/maintenance for my problems. The issues with my machine are design/manufacture related and so responsibility lies solely at the door of Eoltec and no one else. I paid top price, as have you, for a machine it seems that was never engineered or tested properly.
I would like to rally together some sort of joint effort to force Eoltec to own up to their responsibility in relation to these machines. If you would like to be involved then please forward your details to eoin(at)seres.ie.”
If you have a site with good wind then the most important thing about any small wind turbine that you buy or build is whether it will be reliable. And if it breaks down (which is a feature of small wind turbines) then how long will it take to fix. MCS certification, while adding a lot of cost to the wind business, has not improved the reliability of small wind turbines dramatically if at all.
Unhappy owners in the UK need to make their first legal claim against the installer/supplier in the UK. If these agents are bankrupt then there is an insurance available through the MCS structure, but the whole mechanism is somewhat obscure and has failed to work for most stranded owners. And community groups are not covered in any case.