by , 01/08/07

SkyStream Windmill 2

If you’re anything like me and find windmills both genius and oddly calming, the residential Skystream 3.7 windmill by Southwest Windpower may be the perfect addition to your backyard landscape. Available in 35-110 foot heights (determined by your site characteristics), this slim yet high-performance wind generator can produce 400 kilowatt hours of energy per month, up to 90% of an average household’s energy consumption. Skystream works efficiently with your local utility grid, too, switching back to grid power when wind speeds drop below 8 miles per hour.

So what’s the fine print? Skystream, while intended for residential use, requires roughly an acre of land to function properly, and costs $8500 including installation of the 35-foot tower. Southwest Windpower estimates the wind tower paying for itself in four to twelve years, depending on your energy consumption, weather patterns, and local utility rates.

+ SkyStream
+ Southwest Windpower

Related Posts


or your inhabitat account below


  1. bullock susan March 17, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    We are a 215 ac. farm. We raise horses. There is quite a bit of wind. Is this kind of energy feasible and are there any grants under the president new programs for farms or small business? Are there loans available?

  2. jescojeff March 11, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    I agree with Ryan,,,,,,,,,,not worth the money……… A 4000kwh per month unit in a 10-15k price range is what I’m looking for also. Just have to bide our time, someone will have it sooner or later. Jeff

  3. uhauldealer30639 January 24, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    i read on this 3.7 streamer and it only puts out 400 kwh (PER MONTH) not 90% efficient if you ask me. An average household uses about 2500 kwh (PER MONTH). so for $8500.00 to have one installed isnt very good. not efficient for me and the energy saving PROGRAM. you need one that can produce up to about 4000 kwh +(PER MONTH) @ a reasonable install and a good warranty. why put one in when it only does about 400 kwh per month??????? :( an average household that produces about 4000 kwh + would probably buy one of these around $10-$15k. saves customer about $2500.00 to $3000.00 per year. NOW THAT IS WORTH IT. Call me if this is possible. 260-495-1655 RYAN

  4. DougJ June 12, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Wind Turbine is installed in the Caribbean.

  5. DougJ June 12, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    I installed a Skystream this winter at my home in the Caribbean after doing quite a bit to reduce my energy consumption. The advantage to me is the grid tie. I do not need batteries to store the power. 40 cents per killowatt also helps.

    I agree with tom g about the noise. I am on a 1 acre lot at the top of a mountain and based on the whisper quiet promise of SW Wind I installed it at the top of our site about 40\\\’ from our home. I can stand the whine during the day when i am going about my daily activities, but my wife cannot. We turn it off most of thetime when we are home. Because it is a second home and we are there about 40% of the time we make electricity when not there.

    Someone suggested that the bearings need greasing? I filled the tower with marine foam, slight improvement. It was also suggested I wrap a rope around the tower to stop the vibration. Have not tried that.

    I think that site selection is the most important issue. I would not install on a site less than 2 acres and I would get it away from my house as far as I could, preferably something in between to buffer the noise.

    Doug Jones

    I would appreciate any suggestions. Can call me at 612-272-5600in Minnesota.

  6. TomG June 5, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    I’ve had a Skystream in operation for over a month. Anyone who says this thing is quiet should have their ears checked. I have the standard 33 ft monopole with the tower stuffed with fiberglass. It can easily be heard from 1/4 mile away. We call it the neighborhood police siren. At RPM over 200 it produces a very, very loud whine that sounds exactly like a siren. I can easily hear it inside my house from 600 ft away. I can tell how much power it’s putting out just by the sound. Southwest has been no help at all. They’ve ignored all my emails and phone calls. Anyone who would put one of these in a residential neighborhood is asking for a lot of trouble from neighbors and noise ordinances. Fortunately, I’m in a rural area and the nearest neighbor is just out of hearing range.

  7. kirk June 2, 2008 at 9:19 am

    how does this thing stand up in the winter, -40

  8. Chad Monteith February 27, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    I too purchased a Skystream (about 45 days ago) and have been truly impressed. I placed it about 150′ from the house and we cannot hear it at all inside, ever. If the wind goes above 25 mph, we can hear it when we step outside, but even then it is just a swooshing sound like what a heavy, slow moving, fan blade would make.

    The costs previously mentioned are all accurate and I paid $1200 to have a contractor pour the conctrete, dig the cable trench, run the wiring, and raise the unit. The wiring and conduit was $450, the rented trench digger was $100, and the concrete was $250, so there wasn’t much left in true labor. I could have done these things myself, but I believe in paying a few extra dollars for the experts to do it. Also, buy your own wall meter at a electrical supplier for $100 and forget the handlheld monitor from Southwest Power ($300). The 33′ pole is not at all as unsightly as I envisioned. Having to do it again, I would absolutely have gone with the 50′ pole.

    We have an all electric house with a heat pump and use about 1600-2200 kwh a month depending on the weather. Electric rates are steady, so we like not being at the mercy of the natural or LP gas people. The downside is that the Skystream will never get us off the grid. Even ten of them probably wouldn’t be enough, but we shave $15 off the bill AND are responsible for 15 pounds of coal NOT being burned (the REAL payback) each and every month.

  9. NickB. February 25, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    I live pretty close to you and we’re not in the *best* area for wind, but it’s not too bad and fits with the target market for this unit (low wind areas, grid tied systems). According to the wind maps we have around 11-12 mph average wind, which would get us close to 400 kwh/month according to Skystream’s specs. The monthly output diagram from the spec sheet covers up to 800+ kwh at 24.6 mph. Peak output is around 30 mph, with wind speeds above that causing output to taper off (I’d assume due to safety breaking but not sure).

    Everyone needs to read Ron’s comment!!!!! Rule #1 is that it is a lot cheaper to cut consumption than produce electrity, and for those complaining about break even timeframes… ROI break even for Solar is around 15 years from what I’ve seen, I think the analysis I did on the Windstream put the break-even at around 13 years for our wind conditions, $.13/kwh, and $8,500 for the tower and Skystream unit. NOTE: that is not counting Federal tax credits and other incentives that you may be able to get for putting a system like this in.

    Unless you are, need to be, or want to be off-grid (like Rebecca from West Texas), putting a system like this in will require you to invest in a solution that will not hit break even for a LONG time, but there could still be “green” motivations to do this. Also, in either situation cutting your consumption (moving to energy efficient light bulbs, HE appliances, insulation, etc) should be your first priority!

  10. James Reisner February 9, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    I would like to hear from the company about the 3.7 and other models. I have thought about windpower for a long time and actuall did some research a few years ago. An article in The Longview Daily News (tcn) 2/9/08 re Don Sims redindled some interest. Thanks

  11. Cory January 8, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Why is there a limit of 400 kw per month on the energy production if the wind is blowing and the windmill is turning. Can it produce more than 400kw per month? I am looking at purchasing one of these units and placing it at my residence here in Ponder, TX. It is an open 5 acres ( very little trees) on a hill where the wind is constantly blowing. Would the return be worth the investment to power @ 3200 sq ft home (All Electric) with a pool and large shop? Any thoughts

  12. ron December 28, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    All of you high KWH users need to take a small portion of the $8500 installation and have an energy audit done on your houses.You can probably easily save more than the output of the generator,and for a fraction of the cost.Not using the electricity in the first place is easier on the planet than generating more.I’ve cut my own usage from 600 kwh to 450 kwh per month and the payback is in the order of five years.New,more efficient refrigerator,compact fluorescent bulbs,Led lights outside.Turn down the temperature on the water heater.Plug computers,televisions,dvd players, etc.into power bars so they can easily be shut off.At .11 per kilowatt this saves me $198 per year.

  13. ben December 16, 2007 at 2:33 am

    Realistically, the next Skystream should increase its potential KW power output by 50% minimum to make it economically viable in most American homes. This 3.7 model is likely intened to generate consumer buzz from Greens rather than power. Also, 3.7 introduces the Skystream brand and helps predict future demand for manufacturing. I’m interested to learn about the release date of Skystream Version.2.0 in early 2008!

  14. Lew November 26, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Im a new homeowner but live in town on between 1/4 and 1/2 acre. Supposing I can gain enough height/clearance, how possible is it for someone in my situation to gain from a personal windmill? Heat and stove are gas. All other appliances and lighting of course are electric in my 1880 Victorian– definitely due for a power upgrade. Any suggestions? Thanks everyone.

  15. Sophie November 26, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    Larry –

    I am one of those people who consume 3000 KWH. Only in the winter, though. We live on an open field and the wind howls. We have geo thermal and efficient windows and try to keep the lights off and don’t leave our computers on much. We dress warmly in the house. We use our fireplace as well. Where do you live? We live in northern Indiana.

  16. Larry Cullison November 12, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    I own a Skystream 3.7. I have not had it long enough to say how long it will take to “pay for itself” or what the monthly output will average, but I can say this. When the wind blows it pumps out plenty of power! It is not unusal for it to produce 2 KW in good wind. I have watched my electric meter come to a dead stop and then start turning backwards. What a great feeling. I can honestly say that they are not having to shovel more coal into the boiler to supply my electricity except for the calm days, and then I feel like I’m just using what I put into the grid in the windy days. It does shut down when it senses no power from the grid. That is a requirment for Grid Tie systems that was imposed by the Power Companies to prevent “Islanding” that could cause harm to their people who may be working on the lines. There is a way around that if you disconnect completly from the grid, but You will have to figure that one out. I question the price you quote here – I purchased mine from a dealer for $5600. I bought a used Cell Phone tower and modified it for the wind generator. As with all wind generators on the market, the tower costs as much or more than the generator. I have a Total of $9000.00 invested along with many hours of personal labor and I am making electricity. It appears that the Skystream will produce most of the 20KWH per day that is my average use. These folks who use 2000 – 3000 KWH per month need to take a look at their lifestyles. We can’t consume at those rates and expect to leave a healthy environment for our Grandchildren. How about heating your swimming pool and hot tub with Solar? One more comment from an owner – It does make some noise. My wife and I don’t mind – it doesn’t make nearly as much noise as a Coal Fired Power Plant or even the trucks that haul the coal. The sound is the whine of the generator at speeds above 200 RPM. The noise is not obnoxious at all and when it’s making noise the wind is blowing hard enough to make noise of it’s own. You have to be ouitside within 300 ft. of it to hear it, so if it bothers you go inside or put on you headphones. I like the sound of GREEN POWER! And I didn’t do it “For the Money” I did it for the environment. As long as we have a government held hostage by Big Oil, they will not make the changes we need in energy production. We must do it as individuals.

  17. MICHAEL J. SCHMITZ August 24, 2007 at 5:59 pm


  18. Vince in Grand Rapids August 14, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Good people!

    Take a look at the Inhabitat posts “Flying Wind Turbines.” Get the wind turbines up where the wind is (well over 33 feet above the terrain) and most of the objections to wind power disappear or are minimized.

    The Magenn MARS tethered balloon, which rotates in the breeze similar to an old-fashioned waterwheel, is designed to provide power to small villages in lesser developed countries (think most of Africa).

    The most promising utility-scale concept is the Sky Windpower Flying Electric Generator. Sky Windpower wants to have fleets of their FEGs aloft at 15,000 feet or more, connected via the tethers to the power grid. The company says that it estimates the ultimate cost per kilowatt-hour, once in full operation, at about two cents (US dollars). That is very competitive with conventional (coal-powered) generation, without the human lives being lost in coalmine accidents as recently experienced in Indiana and Utah.

    Vince in Grand Rapids

  19. rebecca todd August 7, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    I recently purchased property in far west texas. With deregulations, the cost to run power lines 1/4 mile is an astronomical fee. ($17,000+/-) We are going to use an Aermotor for water well power and we hope to use a Skystream for our electricity source. We use very little electricity, therefore, I believe this is the way to go.

  20. Matt August 2, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    In my opinion, SWWP has achieved a marketing coup, with this kind of article appearing in countless virtual and print publications. They spent millions on advertising, including many “news articles” that appear to be genuine, but are actually pre-written by marketeers. Many of the comments I read on your site indicate the lack of real information offered concerning actual power production in given wind conditions. All wind turbines require an adequate wind resource to function properly and be cost-effective, and you can forget the 33′ tower in all but totally open sites (no tall trees or structures within at least 300′). There are actually better machines on the market, but they are more expensive. The SkyStream incorporates features that were driven by the desire to produce a really cheap turbine that many could afford (yes, they are very cheap) and install in the suburban/rural landscape, but they are definately NOT for everyone. PV remains the most accessable RE technology for the urban landscape (so far). These machines will NOT take care of a $500.00/month electric bill, unless you are paying huge amounts per kWh, and if you have a very, very high wind speed average.

  21. gus mcray July 29, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    We just got back from Europe where windfarms are common. All of us had better start thinking about methods other than burning oil or coal to generate power because the world is running out of oil quickly and coal is just too dirty. At the moment our electricity grid is dependent on the burning of oil primarily and coal secondarily. We need to harness nuclear power as soon as possible with solar, wind, thermal, et cet as supplemental sources of energy. The price does not seem high to me and reading the comments from you folks who are burning 2,000 plus units makes me shiver. Jimmy Carter called it like it was and still is, we need to understand that we are consuming a non renewable resource at an unprecendented rate. There is a finite amount of oil in this world and we have passed the peak of both discovery and production. We are on the downward slope my friends and it will get very slippery, very fast.

  22. Inhabitat » FLYIN... July 17, 2007 at 5:44 am

    […] seen wind turbines fit for backyards, balconies, even oceans- and now now pioneering wind-power engineers are looking to take wind […]

  23. Paul June 17, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    I live in Arizona where this item is made. We are not in a very good location for a windmill but the times it blows, it is usually 20 mph on up. I am in the process of installing a weather station that can meter the wind per day.

    One of the other posts mentions power outages. If you go to the manufacturer’s website it talks about islanding laws. I am not sure what these laws are but it mentioned that if the grid goes down, the windmill must shut down also. I think this is for safety reasons. So unless you are completely off the grid, this does not good in outages either.

    In March of 2007, our KWH consumption was just under 1,500. 400KWH per month is very small compared to our use. Now in the summer as it is now with central AC, we are most likely almost double or more than doubled. Not worth the investment in our minds.

  24. Alina Mildred Treis May 13, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    We live on a hill in Schoharie New York – 35 miles west of Albany.
    We have 95 acres of land and our house is 45 feet high and we have plenty of space for a windmill as our house sits on a 10 acre field. We also get very high winds that every year our shngles and gutters get blown off.
    We want to install a windmill on our property

    Can you contact us. My cell number 518 588 3770, but I would rather you contact me at the number below.

    My number is 518 295-7520. I will be home for vacation by May 25th when I would like to hear from you. Please email me too.


  25. don April 30, 2007 at 2:09 am

    I am quite curious about this windmill. I live on 72 acres of open land, my energy consumption is quite high. My last house with heated swimming pool and hot tub, about $500 per month. That house was both Natural Gas and Electric, this new house is all electrical with oil heat. I am looking for a windmil (not so sure how much energy is consumed to create a $500 per month bill) that will provide enough energy to replace Mr Thomas Edison. Wind is intermittent.

  26. George Keys April 25, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    I’ve got to wonder… I’m over here in Norway these days. Seems like there would be more than enough wind here…but $8500+ seems like alot of money. I’m wondering if being connected to a government progam jacks up the price. What the hell is so expensive in this wind device anyway???

    I’d like to by the Norwegian “Think” electric car too… I want to be green but they want 200,000 kroner for one and that’s over 30,000USD. Ofcourse they use to be cheaper I think… before Ford bought them out. See what I’m getting at here ya’ll?!?!

  27. Koven April 18, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    There never is talk of the advantage having wind power in a power outage. I live in St. Louis, we lost power for a week or so in the winter, and then again in the heat of summer for even longer. This would be great for those types of situations!

  28. royal March 7, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    The problem I havewith windmill electricity is that they’re just not cost effective. It would take years for me to save enough money on my power bill to pay off the huge $8500 price tag. And right about when the thing is paid off, it would need to be replaced. I think I’ll wait until the city is using these things and the economies of scale drop the price to a truly reasonable amount.

  29. Bethany March 2, 2007 at 11:38 am

    They just installed a much larger wind turbine at a school near my university, I went to go visit it. It makes very little noise actually, sort of just a whishing, soft, and somewhat calming. I would definetly recommend one to your parents!

  30. Barbarie January 20, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    I understand what Chris is saying.I am total electric and my KWH for this month is 2,716 so 400KWH is a very small percentage for us.

  31. Chris January 15, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    “400 KWH per billing energy mo.” This would only pay about a forth of my bill per mo. and that is on a lower than average month. In all fairness I do have a well, septic and no gas appliances. Does anyone else see my problem?

  32. Nedra January 14, 2007 at 12:42 am

    Although, this is pretty good, the link Ro provided in the first comment has me greatly impressed- even if the price made me hyper-ventilate just a little bit. It’s designed for urban areas and the design is like no other run of the mill mill. It’s just crazy cool.

  33. Meredith January 12, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Just curious how loud these are. I am trying to convince my parents to do this, they live in a very windy location, on over an acre, but they are concerned about noise and how it looks. This one is rather attractive, so if it is quiet too, I might be able to convince them!

  34. Ryan January 10, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Ouch, Larry.

    Regarding urban dwellings, some city streets can get incredibly windy sometimes. The wind tunnel effect. Why not stick these on the sides of buildings?

  35. Emily January 10, 2007 at 4:07 am

    Larry- the “lame product post” actually DOES list pricing- $8500 including installation for the 35-foot tower. Prices vary based on site and height of tower.

  36. Larry January 10, 2007 at 4:02 am

    How much is this? It is a lame product post that doesn’t include pricing.

  37. Ajay January 10, 2007 at 2:51 am

    It seems an extraordinary unit – considering the cost vis-a-vis a similar solar installation!
    Would work wonders in third world countries – where the avg consumption is less than a tenth of the avg. consumption in the developed nations!

  38. Pandu January 9, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    It would seem that the local climate, as it pertains to wind, would factor into how long it takes for the windmill to pay for itself. Obviously the thing only works if the wind is blowing hard enough.

  39. dr. miguel stroe January 9, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    The price is quite steep for the average homeowner!

  40. Juli January 9, 2007 at 9:26 am

    While exciting, us urban dwellers are still out of luck. With small urban plots of land, horizontal geothermal systems are usually unrealistic, vertical geothermal systems are cost-prohibitive, solar/PV systems are also usually impossible due to blocked solar access and remain cost-prohibitive. Finally, the promise of a renewable energy source that is potentially affordable and, ZOINKS, still not an option. We are trying to be green by living densely within a connected, compact urban grid. Can you explain why an acre is needed? Are there circumstances where less than an acre could work for wind?

  41. Ro January 9, 2007 at 5:44 am

    I personally still think that Quiet Revolution ( has better windmills, but I haven’t compared the two, so I can’t really tell while I write this.

    The shape of the blades is nice though 😉

  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home