Investment Tax Credit May Cut Cost Of Small Wind Turbines

A brighter future for residential wind generators is likely if a U.S. proposal becomes law.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-08-07 [SolarAccess.com] A brighter future for residential wind generators is likely if a U.S. proposal becomes law. The Home & Farm Wind Energy Systems Act was introduced by Republican Representative J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, to provide a 30 percent investment tax credit for turbines. The proposal was co-sponsored by three other Republican politicians, and the proposal has been discussed with President George Bush and Watts hopes to see the proposal approved by Congress this fall. “We think it’s a great way to create an energy alternative for homes, for farms and small businesses,” he explains. The current cost of residential turbines is hindering salesbut, with a tax incentive to lower up-front costs, he says increased sales will result, helping manufacturers to increase their volume and lower costs even further. “Home owners, small businesses, and farmers are squeezed by energy costs, especially in California and the northeastern U.S.,” Watts adds. “Wind power, solar, nuclear and petroleum sources are all needed to solve the country’s energy problem. We need to raise the consciousness of the American people on the importance of wind power.” Mike Bergey, president of Bergey Windpower of Norman, Oklahoma, welcomes the proposal. A 10-kilowatt residential turbine costs $32,000 and takes 15 years to pay for itself in lowered electricity costs. Bergey points to the state of California as an example of what happens if the initial cost of a turbine is reduced, noting that the state enacted a 50 percent rebate last year. Since the rebate went into effect, 70 percent of his sales have been to customers in California. While annual sales of household turbines are numbered in the hundreds, “there are over 20 million homes in America with an acre or more of land that would be suitable for one of these machines,” explains Bergey. “Small wind turbines have been overlooked for far too long as a potential contributor to our nation’s energy supply,” says Randy Swisher, executive director of the American Wind Energy Association. “In terms of energy produced per dollar expended, they are one of the best options for homeowners and small businesses to consider.”
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