Gallery: HELIX WIND TURBINE: Small Wind Gets Smart


Harnessing wind power for use in residential applications has been a challenge, but a new breed of vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) from Helix Wind offers a promising design that may change the way we do wind at home. The Helix Wind Savonious 2.0 uses a unique rotor capable of capturing omni-directional winds to provide quieter, kinder small wind power for your urban home.

The Helix Wind Savonious 2.0 is a 2kW rated turbine that can be tower-mounted between 14 and 35 feet or roof mounted just 2 feet above roof line. The rotor measures 6ft by 4ft (1.8m by 1.2m) and utilizes long helical blade scoops to maximize energy performance in turbulent, gusty or multi-directional wind conditions.

The capabilities of the rotor to spin in any wind make it ideal for urban settings. The combination of lower height and quieter action make Helix’s turbine more neighbor and zoning commission friendly. As far as noise, the Helix Savonious 2.0 operates at less than 5 decibels above background noise.

And there’s good news for the bird lover in all of us – the Helix is safer for wildlife. The rotor spins at much slower speeds than horizontal turbines and both birds and bats recognize the rotor as a solid object. Bird-blade collisions are mostly a concern in “big” wind but the fact that the Helix rotor doesn’t fatally confuse our feathered friends is a big plus.

At present, the Helix Savonious 2.0 is undergoing evaluation for UL and cUL listings to make it eligible for rebates under all state Renewable Energy Programs. The base price for the Helix Savonious 2.0 is $6,500 before tower and installation. A low wind version starts at $8,500 and a larger 5kW model starts at $16,500.

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  1. RogerBrown June 23, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    you have to be very careful with your expectations – vertical helix turbines are chronically inefficient because they are mainly mounted on roofs, where the air is chaotic.

    with the current state of helix technology, it is much more cost effective to stick with horizontals until efficiencies improve.

  2. Namuha July 29, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Interesting thoughts and comments. Keeps in mind that the sun only works when the sun is up. Nothing ever works by itself. You have to almost always use something else in conjunction with it. So Solar and wind with hydro and grid tie as a last resort… or do you do a generator to last through the night till the morning? Decisions … decisions…(wink)

  3. z24zig May 4, 2010 at 1:10 am

    very cool
    Idea – line the jersey berriers between the opposing traffic lanes on highly traveled highways and the wind created by the passing trucks and cars will create electricity

  4. arasu February 4, 2010 at 9:30 am

    very stylish

  5. river rat December 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Wind in general is one of the poorest methods for power generation. Pros Free— Cons not free, intermitent , unreliable, not even close to being cost efective. Solar and geothermal are the only way to go green. Look at the life cycles of this system. Because one ran for a week, month,year or five years. We need systems that can run for fifety years, be tuned up and run for another fifety. We need stone age tech. like hydro. No I don’t mean build more hydro. Just systems robust and dependable as hydro. We don’t need banks and stock traders selling carbon futures. Sorry to say it’s all about the money. Lets start a group (Energy for Earths Survival). No I don’t have all the answers, just a wish that our leaders had a few.

  6. Helix-Turbines October 17, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    That’s because VAWTS are a hoax. Ever ride a bicycle into a stiff wind? Ever drive your car and forgetting to take off the parking brake? That’s a VAWT. As one side catches wind, the other is being resisted by wind. Wind does not blow in a circle. Wind blows in a single direction, so as a VAWT has 2 sides, they cannot both go WITH the wind.

    Ever see a big utility company use VAWT turbines in a wind farm. NO. That’s because they have to make profit and perform. That means the blades must harness wind without being resisted by the wind, like a real wind turbine. I build home energy systems and I would never recommend a VAWT. Maybe for a artistic look but if you need actual productivity look at that new HO-4.2kW that that just came out. It’s proven wind/solar hybrid and in the scenario that Jeff8 outlined above, that system would be cranking. Since it has that patented rooftop turbine kit by WindEnergy7 it’s stable and silent on the home roof.

  7. Jeff8 April 19, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    I saw the 5k Helix VAWT in action at Hampton Airfield in Hampton, NH today. According to, the wind was 10-15 gusting up to 25-30 so I figured it would be a good day to go down and check it out. I got there and the wind socks were 3/4 to fully straight out. The Helix VAWT was barely moving and a times with the wind blowing quite briskly in my face it was literally not moving at all! The inverter was on the outside of the building so I checked out the output. With the exception of one brief burst into the 70 watt range, the thing was literally producing < 15 watts the whole time I was watching it. I spoke to the owner and she showed me their loggs over the past 2 weeks (it just got hooked up). The highest day was 19 kwh with an average of 10-11! That’s maybe 4,000 kwh/year based on those numbers and these are windy Spring numbers so we’re talking probably something closer to 3,000 kwh/yr! That BLOWS for a $30k, 5 kw rated machine! Needless to say I was VERY unimpressed and would NEVER but one of these based on what I saw today.

  8. Elffin March 30, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    The company is selling at a big discount to Southeast Asia, why not here at the home front.

  9. foobar123 March 22, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    It is interesting to note the ratio of comments that point out that vertical axis mills are fundamentally inefficient (this is basic physics) compared to horizontal axis machines — versus all the wishful thinking. We need to do a better job of teaching physics in high school.

    These machines are just a novelty and not a serious way to produce wind energy.

  10. mab139 February 19, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Awsome, the next step is to replicate it using recycled parts and spend less than 5bills.

  11. thewhale November 19, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Way too expensive. I live in over taxed New Jersey. We are looking for reasonably priced wind generators that we can install everywhere. They have to pay for themselves and generate additional income. Any Suggestions?

  12. Frank October 16, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    Manzar you should go to their website.

  13. Manzar Masud September 18, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    hi.. my name is manzar.. i am doing aeorspace engineering from institute of space technology,islamabad. I have been assigned design of wind turbine as my final year project. I have searced for many horizontal and vertical axis wind turbine and found this helix wind turbine. I need guidance if i can manufacture this wind turbine as my final year project. I have limited resources. If some one could tell me about the components used in makind this wind turbine and all details..


    Manzar Masud

    Institute of space technology pakistan

    department of aeronautics and astronautics

  14. EFG Wind September 5, 2008 at 1:44 am

    The Helix Wind, wind turbine is a well designed product, I know I have the demo in my possession right now and I have to say they have their product is designed to capture the wind that sets the standard. The design is sleek and well refined. Yes, the Savanious design does not match its horizontal brothers in power production, but in the residential market I can tell you that this is welcomed and long awaited tubrine that performs nicely in its class and your neighbors won’t complain…they will want one. This turbine already meets the zoning laws in almost every city. So you won’t have to fight to produce your own energy. We belive for the following reasons people will choose their design.
    -The audible noise signature is 5db higher than normal ambient noise levels. It has noise signature significantly less than you homes air conditioning unit. You will hear the wind through the trees and howling past the power lines before you will hear the turbine!
    -The look is very unique, artistic and it will produce affordable power.
    -The cost is still cheaper than solar and qualifies for rebates. Plus it can produce 24 hours a day.
    -It does a great job in turbulent wind areas like residential communities, it does not have to search for the wind, and it captures it from all directions.
    -Low wind start up speed.
    -Last of all this is a complete system to include the inverter, tower, and turbine. You just need to install it and connect it to your house and grid connect.

  15. at802 August 31, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Steve and Ray make an excelent point. The whole problem with the green movement is that it is too damned expensive! I do not know anyone that does not want to reduce their energy usage and save the planet. The only thing holding most of us back is the initial cost. Solar panels and wind turbines are way too expensive for the masses, and way too expensive for the technology involved. That average computer has ten times the technology involved it it and they are cheap. Bought a high end H&P last summer for $1300, compare that to what it would cost to power even a small home with wind or solar. If you want to save the planet get the cost of this stuff down to where the masses can afford it! The same with energy efficient electric and hybrid autos, if you can afford one of them you dont need them.

  16. vjeko72 August 18, 2008 at 1:53 am

    please do yuo have a distributor in europa


  17. Albert August 12, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    I’m impressed! My first concern would be how it would stand up to the rigors of a Canadian Winter. Zoning laws and neighbour’s opinions re asthetic appearance would be my next concern and last, but not least, cost effectiveness. I have no doubt the larger model would be the perfect adddition/replacement to the traditional windmill at the farm/farmhouse out in the country, but in the city, between neighbor’s houses? I am as curious about these concerns as I am intruiged by the technology.
    yours truly,
    Albert, a boyhood admirer of Popular Science/Mechanics magazines. :)

  18. chip w. May 6, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    i need to know the realities of savings if i have a 300 dollar a month electric bill. obviously i am new to the whole green movement.

  19. tieole April 27, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    What a piece of crap. Savonius machines have been around for centuries, but they are not as efficient as horizontal wind turbines. Ask yourself why large wind turbine manufacturers with large engineering offices don’t build these, because they are not sound designs. A machine built by losers for losers – can capture the wind from all directions, defies the betz law. I think you all need to go back and take a look at your high school physics courses.

  20. whodoes March 22, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    In response to the worn out and road weary “return on investment” argument, i say… HOGWASH ! POPPYCOCK ! and… hmmmmm ,… BALDERDASH! This argument completely ignores how markets and consumers actually function. This is similar to claiming that I wont buy locally grown produce until I can get it for a comparable price. WRONG, I’ll buy it now.I’ll pay more for a product that tastes much like the imported stuff from walmart’s grocery. Ill do it happily and regularly and as many other locals do the same I’ve noticed that there is a growing selection and increased availability. It is well understood that the “overpriced” (yet somehow still purchased) runway/fashion magazine apparel of today will be the source material for the mass produced, and almost universally affordable, walmart / J.C.Pennys merchandise of tomorrow. This holds true for the P.C. gamer who will pay twice as much for a video card which is only 20% better or tenfold as much for a sports car which is only twice as fast. First adopters are those willing to pay a premium beyond that of your average consumer ( lets go WAY back and remember the iPhone <–sarcasm.) . These early adopters help encourage and kick start the mass production which allows the average consumer to benefit.I’m willing to pay extra for the option to have recycling service for my household waste rather than insisting that it “pay for itself” before I opt in. I’m willing to pay the “first adopter” premium for green technologies that allow me to step outside the cycles of pollution and dependency on foreign energy.
    sorry for the length… happy day to you all !

  21. screamingservers March 16, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    The free market startup cannot sell $16k products that produce $5k energy over 10 years. No one will buy them. I could sell 1000s in just my mid sized city Wichita, KS if it has a 3 year roi. Make it cheap or give up. If you do not have the financial backing for mass production, or the ingenuity to cut costs, go work for someone who does or keep this as a hobby.

  22. Jamie March 13, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Steve and Ray,
    Obviously you’ve never worked with alternators and dynamos before. It takes ALOT of torque to energize these devices. That is why that gas gernator that you mention has a 8 to15 hp engine. It’s also why wind turbines are so large. It’s the reason why the mini wind turbines and handcranked dynamos only put out 5 to 12V and less than 2 amps. The altnernator from the gas generator that you mention would have to be stepped down so many times and become very inefficient. As far as the price goes. Take it from someone who has made several wind turbines and a gas generator from an old discarded lawnmower, R &D takes a very long time and costs REAL money. Economies of scale is the only thing that will help renewable energy become more mainstream. You can help by buying as much as you can comfortably afford to lower production costs per unit and show these new start ups and the free market as a whole that there IS a market for thier products.

  23. Sheldon Beckham March 4, 2008 at 12:28 am

    Very interested in this system,a full data package of the makeup and operating parameters would be appreciated!
    Thank you!

    Sheldon Beckham
    S.J. Beckham Distributors

  24. KACZMAREK February 19, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    hello,hour society sell new technology .we are interressting by your product
    can you inform us,about price

  25. Hybrid February 15, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Just a question are there larger models in the making for industrial use or will they only be focused towars the home market

  26. gerald duffy February 2, 2008 at 10:50 am

    They sure look better than the ones that do not work now. What is the wind speed they need. Lets hope our government does not get involved with these. Like they gave the oil companies a tax breaks, and they have record profits. They gave the present wind outfits 60% tax breaks and they produce a trickle of power. The carbon credits are sold to coal plants so they can burn dirty coal . They are destroying rural America and would but them on the Statue of Liberty if they could. Go solar, put solar on every public building. Solar produces power when we need it not just when the wind blows Enron again!!

  27. Matjaz January 7, 2008 at 6:49 am

    Hello Matt!

    I also did math and i just do not understand the price. Can we work togehter on building similar thing?

    Best regards,

  28. matt January 4, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    I agree with both steve and ray, $16000 is way too much for this. Although I’m sure that the actuall production only runs around 1000-3000, the extra mark-up may be for R&D (wind tunnel testing, airfoil desins, ect) but its marked up too high.. I personally was looking at building a similar design, and thrus far, have not been able to break $1000 for material (currently total is around $700 for everything), though this will probably be the equivilant to the 1-2Kw model. If they really want to make a huge difference to increase popularity and usage of this type of energy, they should consider a different price range. Most people will be conserned with the initial start-up cost, as with any type of green energy, solar or wind. For companies, that may not be a big issue, but for a small family it is. Ray makes a good point with the generator as well.

  29. ray December 22, 2007 at 2:36 am

    I am pretty much there with steve. Why would I buy this? I can drive down to the home depot and buy myself a gas powered 5kW generator for $400 and run it for a very long time on $16000 worth of gas.
    If I pull off the 10 HP gas powered motor I now have a 5kW generator. The rest is pretty simple. Extend the drive shaft of the generator, add a drive bearing and some supports then bolt some plastic on to the extended drive shaft. Where on earth could the additional $16100 come from? Cant be a whole lot of NRE costs associated with this item. Pretty much all prior art so there cant be too many patents associated with the design. Certainly not as many as there are in a new $16000 car anyways.

    This item is much simpler than its gas powered counterpart so why is it 2 orders of magnitude more expensive. If the price were to come down to its appropriate $1000-$1500 range for a 5kW model people couldnt help but buy the darned things.

  30. Steve December 17, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Why are you deleting this??
    The cost of these units is ridiculous. Do we need a Henry Ford to make these units affordable for everyone? Are the electric companies keeping this technology from being implemented? With the advent of compact flourescent light, 75% less enegery use, and now LED bulbs, 90% less energy use, we can stop building powerplants and the use fossil fuels. I suppose we need to have the Chinese build these wind units for us since we can’t do it affordably, no disrespect to them. Imagine every house with these units on them…how much energy would that produce? No more blackouts and far less reliance on polluting fossil fuels….Is this just me?

  31. Steve December 17, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    To whom it may concern,
    The cost of these units is ridiculous. Do we need a Henry Ford to make these units affordable for everyone? Are the electric companies keeping this technology from being implemented? With the advent of compact flourescent light, 75% less enegery use, and now LED bulbs, 90% less energy use, we can stop building powerplants and the use fossil fuels. I suppose we need to have the Chinese build these wind units for us since we can’t do it affordably, no disrespect to them. Imagine every house with these units on them…how much energy would that produce? No more blackouts and far less reliance on polluting fossil fuels….Is this just me?

  32. Vish Rao December 10, 2007 at 12:38 pm


    I have been researching alternative energy solutions for a India where there is an abundance of wind power everywhere. I am currently working as an IT consultant in the USA with some serious plans to return to India and help save the environment in India at the same time offer a clean energy source for a country that is virtually straved for energy. Compared to all the other competing solutions out there, I would have to say this is by far the best and the cutest windmill out there.

    I would really like to hear from you and hopefully build a relationship. If you could send me the technical details from an infrastructure standpoint, I would greatly appreciate it.


  33. Peter November 19, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    AJ – thanks. I was curious about the size/density issues as the UK has a lot of low (2 storey) but closely packed occupant-owned housing, and European housing is often more closely packed than in the US (excluding flat/appartment/tenement-styles).

  34. Khue Nguyen Kim November 13, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    Dear Sir,
    We are Viet Design and Development LTD. Company in Viet Nam country – HoChiMinh City.
    We are interested in your wind power product to deploy our power supply projects.
    We highly appreciate if you could send us your product infomation :
    – Catalogs
    – Technical Data
    – Prices
    Sincerely yours,
    Note : our demand
    power output : 50 kw/h – 500 kw/h
    wind speed : 3-8 m/s

  35. AJ November 13, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Peter- Many companies market the Savonius type turbines in smaller sizes (See and Generally the yields of these drag-based turbines are much lower than the regular lift-based designs. The obvious advantages are however their compact bodies, and their low speeds- which can be important in urban areas. Turbines are normally positioned at a distance of at least twice their diameters to prevent interference from one another. However, this distance may be larger for the Savonius turbines.

  36. AJ November 13, 2007 at 10:48 am

    Peter- Many companies market the Savonius type turbines in smaller sizes (See and Generally the yields of these drag-based turbines are much lower than the regular lift-based designs. The obvious advantages are however their compact bodies, and their low speeds- which can be important in urban areas. Turbines are normally positioned at a distance of at least twice their diameters to prevent interference from one another. This distance may be higher for the Savonius turbines, however.

  37. » Helix Wind Savo... November 12, 2007 at 6:05 am

    […] stylish residential turbine, you could do worse than Helix Wind’s Savonious 2.0 (via Inhabitat). It’s a 2kW turbine than can be put on a 14-35 foot pole, or–and I like this […]

  38. Neece November 11, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    What a great design and alternative to wind at home! I’m glad it’s bat and bird friendly. That’s a real concern.

  39. Peter November 10, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    Distributed technologies have much to offer. Although at that price they still look like an option for the more affluent.

    Do they come in (much) smaller versions? e.g. for mobile use?

    Is there a density above which they degrade each other’s performance? i.e. in urbanised areas where there are lots of close-packed houses, rather than single multi-occupancy units.

  40. Poloynis November 9, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Cool. These scaled-down personal types of energy generators spread the infrastructure costs across a broader base of consumers, reducing installation costs and increasing the feasibility of using alternative energy resources. They act like a ‘shoe-horn’ of sorts, decreasing our need to attach to larger energy supply grids.

  41. Christopher P. November 9, 2007 at 4:43 am

    Clearly a sophisticated piece of aerodynamic engineering! Whimsically, the segments look like a jai alai xistera!

  42. SonnoProfondo » B... November 8, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    […] [Fonte: Inhabitat] […]

  43. Joyce November 8, 2007 at 11:56 am

    What an innovative design! Hopefully, it indeed will be eligible for energy program rebates across the nation.

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