JULY 2010

Equipment Spotlight

Wind Turbines

Wind turbines collect kinetic energy from the wind and convert it to electricity that is compatible with the electrical system of a home or business.

Cascade Renewable Energy has distributed and marketed the SWIFT Wind Turbine in North America for residential, community and commercial customers since 2008. According to Jessica Lehti, senior sales and marketing manager, “The cut-in speed of the SWIFT product is 8 mph, and it is rated as 1.0 kW at 11 m/s, which is the industry standard for rating a turbine. The cut-in speed indicates the point at which the turbine begins generating electricity. SWIFT Wind Turbines are grid-tied, so once the product is installed, power will always come from their wind generated electricity first, and the rest of the power they may need will come from the user’s regular utility source.”

Lehti said that unique aspects of the SWIFT include: a quiet design suitable for urban, suburban and rural areas; flexible mounting options – they are structure and pole mountable; an outer diffuser ring that reduces noise created from the wind traveling along the blades, which increases efficiency and reduces vibration; dual fins that direct the turbine 360 degrees, keep the turbine positioned into the wind and provide over-speed protection; a grid-connected unit that offers efficient and autonomous operation without the use of battery storage; and a renewable source of on-site energy.

Cascade Renewable Energy

“Specifically, SWIFT Wind Turbines offer a small, quiet, structure-mountable option for residential home owners and commercial businesses with limited land resources. SWIFT does not require large amounts of acreage for installation because it can be mounted directly to a building. The small design – the rotor is seven feet in diameter – allows users to install multiple units for additional energy savings, and our product also provides an opportunity for LEED credits for green building,” Lehti noted.

Wind Turbine Industries Corp. (WTIC) manufactures the Jacobs 31-20. Chad Palmer, marketing manager, explained that the Jacobs “is a 20 kW system, rated at 26 mph. The height options offered for this product range from 80 to 140 feet and the Jacobs is available with a freestanding lattice or monopole tower. Our system’s unique design has been field-tested for well over one quarter century and it has proven to be one of the most effective and reliable small wind systems available to date.”

Wind Turbine Industries Corp.

WTIC has manufactured the Jacobs 31-20 at their location in Minnesota since 1986. “We sell approximately 70 to 100 units annually, with room for growth. Our system tends to be most appropriate for rural applications, both commercial and residential. One of the greatest challenges in serving these groups involves the inconsistent zoning regulations among them, but we’ve been able to navigate those challenges quite well,” Palmer said.

Qua Le is vice president of sales and business development at Xzeres Wind Corp. Members of the firm design, develop, manufacture, sell and support small wind power systems. “Our products include 2.5 kW and 10 kW systems. Each system includes a wind turbine, power electronics, towers and ancillary components for complete installation. Our products feature a highly-efficient design with few moving parts for easy installation, and reduced service and maintenance costs.

“The superior performance of our products is validated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Xzeres products are reliable – over 100 systems have been deployed in North America and carry a 10 year warranty. The durability turbine system provides 20+ years life. We offer a proven track record and the lowest cost of ownership, compared to similar products in the market today,” Le reported. He expects to sell over 80 wind power systems this year and 300 systems in 2011. “We plan to take advantage of federal, state and local incentives, American utility rebate programs and feed-in-tariff incentive programs across the globe.”

Xzeres Wind Corp.

He noted that despite strong market potential – due to incentives and robust utility policies – local permitting challenges have throttled market potential. However, several key states have recently worked together in enacting legislation to streamline the permitting process at the state level. This process may aid in a significant increase in sales within these markets.

Le claimed that for the last decade, the industry has been largely self-regulated, but at the end of 2009, a technical standard was finalized and a Small Wind Certification Council is now able to certify equipment for compliance to the technical standard. “Many in the industry see certification as a strong sign of the industry’s maturity and as a building block for lasting growth. In fact, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners will also begin the process of certifying small wind turbine installation professionals in the fall of 2010,” said Le.

According to Le, “Electricity prices across all sectors have risen by 6 percent since 2006 and this trend will continue. High prices of traditional electricity make alternative energy sources more competitive on an incremental-cost basis, particularly when factoring in renewable energy’s other financial and intangible benefits.”


Pioneer Coverall Roll-Rite, LLC tarpARMOR Aerostar, Inc. Cascade Renewable Energy Raum Energy, Inc. Vestas Wind Turbine Industries Corp. Xzeres Wind Corp.