Project Development, Solar, Wind Power

Small Wind Turbines Experiencing Strong Growth

Admittedly, large wind turbines are more visible both on this Web site and out in the field. Recent data from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), however, shows that small turbines are experiencing brisk business throughout the U.S.

On the opening day of the U.S. wind power industry’s annual conference, AWEA’s small wind turbine committee unveiled the results of its Small Wind Industry Market Study, which forecast sales of nearly 13,000 small wind turbines in 2005 totaling nearly 14 MW of installed capacity across the country and $25 million in sales. Other findings from the market study are: – The small wind turbine industry could reach sales of 75,000 turbines totaling 115 MW of installed capacity in the 2006-2010 timeframe; – Four U.S. firms supply at least one-third of the global market for small wind turbines; – The industry believes that growth targets of 18-21 percent are possible over the next five years with the right government policies in place to grow the market; – U.S. small wind capacity is targeted to increase from approximately 30 MW to 107 MW by 2010; – Manufacturers are aiming to reduce hardware costs 20 percent to $1,700 per installed kW by 2010; and – The average size of small wind turbines has doubled from 500 W in 1990 to 1 kW in 2004. The small wind turbine committee is optimistic about growth prospects, with some asserting that the small wind turbine market will eventually dwarf the market for their larger cousins. However, they point out that small wind is not matching the growth of the residential photovoltaic (PV) industry because government support programs usually favor PV over wind. They support incentives and federal research funding comparable to what is offered for the PV industry, especially in light of the fact that the industry is still largely U.S. based. The small wind turbine industry hosted a special reception at the Small Wind Pavilion on the exhibit floor at the Denver, Colorado wind power trade show on Tuesday at 5 p.m. Local small wind turbine owners were present at the reception to answer questions about their system. Information courtesy of AWEA