Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The future prospect of small wind energy market

The large wind farms seem to get all the attention of the media, and the small wind systems often end up being overlooked in different news and other media reports. This is somewhat strange when you consider that that small wind power sector is experiencing rapid growth on global scale and looks well set for a very bright future.

Small wind turbines are turbines with the nameplate capacity that does not exceed 100 kW. Small wind turbines are constantly growing in popularity all over the world and they certainly represent an interesting business option for many clean energy investors.

According to a 2011 Pike research report the global market for small wind systems should more than double between 2010 and 2015, increasing its worth from $255 million to $634 million.

What are the reasons behind this rapid growth in small wind energy installations? Small wind power systems have several advantages over large wind turbines with the most important being the wide distribution. The wide distribution allows easy installation in communities where utility rates are high and wind is abundant. 

The promoted wind power awareness has also played its part, and in many cases there are also very favorable tax incentives for installing small wind power systems.

The costs of small wind turbines are likely to decline in years to come.

In United States, wind turbines under 100 kilowatts had costs of around $6,040 per kilowatt of capacity in 2011, which represented an increase of more than 10% as compared to 2010. One of the main reasons for this increase in prices was the uncertainty over the prolongation of wind energy tax credit. 

AWEA reports that the U.S. small wind energy market experienced decline of 26% in 2011 as compared to previous year. Even despite this decline, U.S. still leads the world in the production of small wind turbines. Many energy analysts remain optimistic in believing that the costs will significantly decline in years to come, reaching around $4,250 per kilowatt in 2015.

In order for small wind power systems to be effective you need to live in area with an average wind speed higher than 10 mph. Small wind power systems range from 400 W to 100 kW.

Even despite this increase in prices, small wind turbines still represent one of the best clean energy investments for homeowners and small businesses with residence in windy areas. The small wind energy market is expected to continue strong growth through the next decade.