Federal Government Endorses Small Wind Turbines with Tax Credit

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New Law Gives up to $4,000 to Consumers who Purchase Southwest Windpower’s Skystream 3.7Southwest Windpower, the leading manufacturer of small wind turbines, played a leadership role in the passage of new legislation creating a federal-level tax credit for qualified small wind turbines — a significant leap for the small wind industry as a whole. This legislation marks the first federal incentive for small wind systems since 1985.

On Friday, Oct. 3, 2008, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, H.R. 1424 was passed which included a new federal-level investment tax credit (ITC) for qualified small wind turbines. The ITC is worth up to $4,000 and available for units installed through 2016. The U.S. small wind industry projects that the enactment of this federal credit, combined with a forthcoming equipment certification program, will provide thousands of new jobs and could foster U.S. market growth of more than 40 percent annually.

“Cutting edge small wind systems can play an important role in our efforts to expand the production of clean, homegrown energy,” said Senator Ken Salazar.”These tax credits will provide America’s consumers, small business owners, and farmers and ranchers the opportunity to bring down their energy costs, while helping to advance us toward an energy independent future.”

Senator Salazar of Colorado and Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, long-time champions of renewable energy, played a key role in fighting for legislation such as H.R. 1424 to be passed. Upon realizing small wind was not included in similar 2005 legislation, both Salazar and Blumenauer separately introduced bills into their respective House governments. Working alongside Salazar and Blumenauer, Andy Kruse, co-founder of Southwest Windpower, worked hard to bring this legislation to life and make small wind more accessible to the general public.

“Since working with me on the Rural Wind Energy Development Act in 2007, through the passage of the credit as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act last week, Andy Kruse and Southwest Windpower have done a tremendous job demonstrating the many benefits of small wind,” said Blumenauer. “With this tax credit in place, more consumers around the country will be able to generate their own clean, renewable energy while at the same time reducing their energy bills.”

The new tax credit reduces the cost of residential scale wind generators making the technology more accessible for consumers. This includes Southwest Windpower’s Skystream 3.7. Launched in late 2006, Skystream is the first fully integrated backyard-sized, grid-connected, wind turbine designed for residential use. Depending on the wind resource, Skystream generates between 30-80 percent of the power required by a typical home. Early adopters have reported a savings of more than 50 percent on their energy bills.

“With the new federal tax credits and several State incentive programs, small wind is now an increasingly more affordable solution for consumers who want to reduce their environmental impact and their energy bills,” said Kruse.

For years, Kruse and other industry leaders and organizations such as the American Wind Energy Association, have advocated for a 30 percent federal investment tax credit for small wind systems, 100 kW and smaller, to put the industry on equal policy footing with the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry, as the two technologies share the same market. This also gives consumers a choice of technologies depending on their wind and solar resources. The broad legislation passed last Friday also extends and expands a similar credit for the solar industry. Residential and commercial solar PV installations can receive a 30 percent credit, for residential applications and uncapped for commercial uses.

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