Federal Government Endorses Small Wind Turbines With Tax Credit

Small wind manufacturers Southwest Windpower played an important role in establishing a federal-level tax credit for qualified small wind turbines through the passage of new legislation, a significant step forward for the industry. H.R. 335, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, was introduced on Friday, October 3, 2008, marking the first federal incentive to develop small wind systems since 1985. Small wind turbines qualify for a federal investment tax credit (ITC) worth up to $4,000 that was passed in 1424. The ITC is available until 2016. In conjunction with a pending equipment certification program, the small wind industry estimates that the enactment of this federal credit will create thousands of new jobs and could grow U.S. markets by over 40 percent annually.

In order to make clean, homegrown energy more accessible, Senator Ken Salazar said that cutting edge small wind systems could be an important part of the solution. The tax credits will reduce energy costs for America’s consumers, small businesses, farmers, and ranchers, while helping us move toward energy independence.

In bringing legislation such as H.R. 1424 to fruition, Senator Salazar of Colorado and Congressman Blumenauer of Oregon played a crucial role. Salazar and Blumenauer introduced separate bills into their respective House governments after realizing small wind had not been included in similar 2005 legislation. Putting this legislation into action was Andy Kruse, co-founder of Southwest Windpower, who worked closely with Salazar and Blumenauer.

In 2007, I worked with Andy Kruse on the Rural Wind Energy Development Act, and he and Southwest Windpower have demonstrated the numerous benefits of small wind power through the passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act last week. This tax credit will allow consumers throughout the country to generate clean, renewable energy while simultaneously reducing their energy bills with this tax credit.”

A new tax credit reduces the cost of wind generators for homes, making them more affordable. Skystream 3.7 is one of Southwest Windpower’s fully integrated backyard-sized, grid-connected wind turbines that was launched in late 2006. The Skystream generates about 30 percent of the household’s power based on the wind resource. It has been reported that early adopters have saved more than 50 percent on energy costs. It is becoming increasingly affordable for consumers who want to reduce their energy bills and their environmental impact to use small wind with the new federal tax credits and numerous state incentive programs, according to Kruse.

According to Kruse and other industry leaders and groups, such as the American Wind Energy Association, small wind systems, 100 kW and smaller, should be subject to a 30 percent federal investment tax credit to put the industry on an equal footing with solar photovoltaics, which share the same market. Consumers can choose from a variety of technologies depending on the availability of wind and solar power. Last week’s broad legislation extended and expanded a similar credit for the solar industry. In residential applications, solar PV installations can receive a 30 percent credit, and in commercial applications, it will be uncapped.

About Southwest Windpower
Southwest Windpower, based in Flagstaff, Arizona, is the world’s largest manufacturer of small-scale wind systems (400 to 3000 watts).

With a history of developing wind technology, the company has produced more than 130,000 small wind generators which supply power to everything from sailboats to telecommunication towers to homes and businesses. Developed specifically for grid-connected residential markets, Southwest Windpower’s Skystream 3.7 wind turbine is the first fully-integrated wind generator on the market. Southwest Windpower distributes its wind turbines worldwide.

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Alex Jones

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