The micro wind turbine market has exploded in the last three years – heck, even the National Football League is on board with wind power – so now is a good time to update one of CleanTechnica’s most popular posts from 2008, “Top Five Micro Wind Turbines.” With three of 2008′s top five micro wind turbines coming from one company, we thought it was time to branch out a bit and give you a more expansive picture of the potentials for micro wind power in 2012 and beyond. Just one caveat: this article is not endorsing any particular company or wind turbine, but at the end you’ll find some tips on researching the product that’s right for you.
And now, without further ado, CleanTechnica’s Top Five micro wind turbines – remix!
1. Southwest Windpower, Inc.: Skystream 3.7
We’re featuring Southwest Windpower’s popular Skystream 3.7 turbine in this year’s top five not only because it continues to get good reviews, but also because last month the company announced that it is one of three wind turbines qualifying for California’s wind energy rebate, under strict new guidelines that include third-party certifications and performance verification. Southwest Windpower estimates that the rebate for a Skystream comes to $6,750 based on the California Energy Commission’s rebate of $3.00 per watt of rated capacity. The Skystream 3.7 comes with a five-year warranty and a software package that enables you to monitor it from your computer. It is also now available in a wind-solar hybrid package, so if you’re interested in this product be sure to research it from both the wind and solar angles.
In other company news, earlier this year SouthWest Wind partnered with GE to develop what they bill as the first fully smart grid-enabled micro wind turbine for residential use, the Skystream 600.
2. AeroVironment: Architectural Wind
For the business and public sectors, AeroVironment’s Architectural Wind micro turbine makes our list again because it highlights a look-at-me factor that is becoming more important in the alternative energy market, as more companies and institutions use sustainability to boost their public profiles. Though a focus on aesthetics can greatly (though not necessarily) increase the installed cost of a wind turbine, the investment could be absorbed as a promotional expense. If you look at a couple of the NFL’s micro wind turbines you can see that teams are focused on attractive, high visibility products that add green luster to their brand. On those counts Architectural Wind succeeds with a sleek, eye catching style, and its modular design makes for easy scalability. Architectural Wind is just one advanced alternative energy product in AeroVironment’s portfolio, which includes solar unmanned aircraft. Earlier this year the company also won a contract with the Washington State Department of Transportation to install nine electric vehicle charging station’s for the West Coast Green Highway initiative.
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Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.