Playa Blanca Community – WindAid

Location: Playa Blanca, Piura, Perú
Date of Installation: June 2012

  • Installation of a WindAid 4.0 (Peak 2500 Watt wind turbine). Now being serviced but we are discussing replacement since there is a newer, larger school.
  • Since July 2014, WindAid’s model is to build a smaller WindAid 1.7 turbine (500 Watt peak) per house for every house that wants one.

Equipment installed

500 Watt Peak HAWT – Piggott inspired design from WindAid – locally manufactured

  • Blades: fiber glass, carbon fiber, foam, and resin
  • 8 permanent Neodymium magnets
  • Direct drive with 3-phase Delta stator
  • 100 Amp Deep-Cycle Batteries
  • Inverters dependent upon family

Energy Demand

Originally just for the school but now installing for any household. Typically, the turbine is used to power:

  • LED lights (12 volt and/or 220 AC)
  • Small charging stations for cell phones and radios
  • Small appliances and TVs

Financing

The end user pays a monthly fee for maintenance:

  • 30 Peruvian Nuevo Soles or 7 British Pounds per household (the same or less than they would pay for candles, kerosene, or comparable). The money stays in a community-run fund that covers all maintenance costs, including parts.
  • Community provides food, housing, and potable water for all WindAid volunteers and workers during installation.
  • Volunteers provide the funding for the turbines, including materials costs, and in building and installing (with the community)

Ownership & Management

All operation and maintenance is community-based:

  • WindAid teaches both about wind energy, and maintenance, including training a community technician at the WindAid workshop and on-site

WindAid is accessible:

  • Installation team is in town a minimum of once every two months to do education, maintenance, training and installation.

Problems & Solution

Playa Blanca is an incredible community in that they are focused on living in and creating for not only themselves but as an example to the communities around them, a sustainable town.   To that end, they have been incredible in working with WindAid.We have run into several functional problems:

  • Governments saying yes yes yes, but getting nothing done
  • Partners testing prototypes who did fantastic but with no exit plan
  • The original turbine for the school immediately burnt out an inverter due to bad wiring.

Ultimately it has been the communities’ passion, and the enthusiasm of the volunteers that has allowed us to overcome all of these barriers, and install in Playa Blanca every turbine we are able to build with the groups that come down.

  • The government, though encouraging, and even promising help, has yet to come through (though once again looks promising for a larger turbine for the school).
  • We have not again worked with outside companies for this project, nor tried for a mini-grid again (that was the original plan with the local government).
  • It is a longer-termed community focused volunteer initiative that has allowed us not just to take on powering an entire town, but empowering that town to embody the ideals of small scale wind turbines, used on a personal basis, by people that have an integral understanding and long-term vision for the best possible life of their turbines and their use.

Highlights

This project is long-term with full support of the community, and their involvement. Despite the many hurdles we have hit along the way, the community has always been highly enthusiastic about finding a way to make powering their town with wind a reality. The longevity of the program allows volunteers to almost completely fund the project. It also allows for so many more things, such as:

  • Better technician training.
  • Community education, both for children at school and adults.
  • The opportunity to not just live in, but be a part of the community for an international volunteer base.
  • A larger number of installations in almost the same environment, to see the varying effects on the same design of turbine.
  • A nice juxtaposition of designs as they progress.
  • An integrated set up to create local jobs.
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