Back in the late 70's early 80's, my dad started planning for his retirement.
He first installed 2 wood burners for heat, (since then converted to coal) then installed solar for domestic hot water, and finally we installed a Jacobs wind turbine. He figured that this way his living expenses would be taken care of. We first had a wind turbine charging batteries that was designed by a local guy. It was a downwind machine (blades behind the tower like arrow fletchings). This type did not go very well. A very turbulent wind. And using batteries for heating or cooling type appliances really draw the batteries quite rapidly.
The Jacobs wind turbine was built off the original designed by Marcellus Jacobs that accompanied Admiral Byrd on his first trip to the south pole. Jacobs also had quite a good thing going as he originally was generating 32v and had a whole line of 32v appliances and farming machinery. He had helped with the electrification of many, many farms throughout the midwest.
When they restarted the company in the late 70's, they used the original designs and plans for the windmill itself. But now they hooked it up to a synchronous inverter to be able to tie the unit directly into the utility grid. The beauty of their inverter was the the generator field was created by the utility power thereby disconnecting it from the grid when the grid went down. A safety feature for all utility workers.
Our original windmill set up on top of a 100 ft above ground corten steel tower with the 3 legs 18ft apart buried 8 ft down and then cemented in place and backfilled. When we converted to the Jacobs machine, we had to have an adapter plate made to convert our tower to their tower stub that enclosed their generator and braking mechanism. Their 100 ft tower's legs were only 10 ft apart at the base.
The blades were 23 ft in diameter and made of sitka spruce. And when they hit the tower, they splintered all over the place.
The unit that we bought was the # 18 machine built. Then they redesigned them after the first 40 were built. We replaced numerous blade sets and a few inverter boxes. When the machine was working, it worked great, but we seemed to be a test tube for any changes they wanted to make on the unit.
The biggest problem I think was that Control Data Corp was the funding mechanism for them to restart production. CDC wanted to see returns on their investment and didn't quite understand that this was for consumers to help them with their utility bills. So the company then started developing wind farms. They sold a lot of machines and sort of put the individual homeowner's needs on the back burner.
Luckily (?) our machine was struck by lightning. The insurance company refused to allow me as a qualified installer and repair dealer to perform the necessary repairs. Instead we were forced to remove the unit and send it to R.I. to another dealer. While there, someone offered to buy it and we sold it. The corten steel tower was then sold to someone else.
Initially we were allowed to turn our meter backwards, but the utility company put an end to it. They installed a ratcheting meter to only allow electric 1 way through the meter. We then had to install a second meter to record excess sent back. We're still waiting for the payment of that excess generated electric.
Our unit was a 10KW designed machine. In our area of S.E. Pa we were told to expect about 1000 KW of electric generation per month. This would have satisfied their electric useage at the time.
Jacobs has started production back up again from what I have found. http://www.windturbine.net/home.htm
Their website has some good wind speed charts and a lot of good info on it.
I still have my climbing belt and some diagnostic equipment, however I don't know if the knees will still make it up to the top of a 100 ft tower. But I did like to be up there dangling. It took some getting used to but after a while I was hanging with the best of them.