Do your wind turbine homework

By Ron Rannals

In response to a recent Point of View criticizing Alaskan Wind Industries, I would challenge anyone to log on to the current Web site of the manufacturer of these wind turbines in question and price out the options  mentioned. I found that the prices quoted in the opinion piece do not exist. The writer addressed the costs and options for a direct competitor and exposed what was supposed to be the lethal blow to generate new customers into purchasing automotive car parts, and with the help of some MacGyver reruns on Hulu, create the most indestructible product that works so well that none of the current top manufacturers of wind turbines in the world have showed any interest.
The wind turbines the writer criticized have been manufactured from the ground up by engineers who have engineering degrees. They run tests of prototypes over and over again, manufacture a product, train their partners and install the product with the help of journeyman ironworkers and electricians. With the Skystream product comes a patent and a warranty.
If we all had to convince one another how to build a car using only the local car parts dealer and an old rusted-out car frame, we would be talking ourselves to death about how one manufacturer charges $800 per air bag, when I had proof that they were manufactured in Mexico or China for 25 percent of that price.
“Not a bad profit for two days worth of work,” I would tell my friends and relatives. I would then go on to convince those same people that I had the answer to solve the high prices that the automakers had been charging all of those years. If challenged by friends and relatives that the major car manufacturers had their own engineers, repair facilities nationwide, years of research and development, prototypes that were tested hundreds and hundreds of times, and above all a safe vehicle; I would simply respond, ”My way is cheaper. “Why would I want to give the big automakers more money, so they could make more profit margins? Come on!”
That comment would be challenged by others as well: “What is your warranty policy? How many do you currently have in production nationwide? Can I call up and talk to an engineer (with credentials in his field of study) if something stops working or a bearing fails?”
To that I could respond, “Yes, but look at the money you are saving.”
The reality is that engineers go to school for years, start companies, create new products and apply for patents. They are sponsored by large investment groups, they create several prototypes, they test them over and over for safety and reliability and they market the product with a warranty (that complies with federal and local laws.) The next step is training and partnership distributors (with certified installers for correct operation).
As for the writer trying to expose all the outdated costs and margins of another man’s business – that’s background noise. The economy operates with a profit margin being built into all of the equations of small and large businesses. With the price of Skystream, you are getting a local company to back the product.
Case in point: When someone purchases a home appliance and it malfunctions, they can either read the entire manual to become an expert or call a trained expert. Possibly the reason why Homer Electric Association endorses a product such as the Skystream comes from their own research and approval of operation and reliability. It takes a lot to get trained and start a company these days, and I applaud the efforts of Alaskan Wind Industries for offering a high quality solution with certified journeyman ironworkers and electricians installing the product.
Now, how much was that alternator again? My car ….. I mean my wind turbine is malfunctioning.

Ron Rannals is a former Alaskan resident who currently resides in Santa Barbara, Ca. 

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Posted by on May 20th, 2009 and filed under Bay View. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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