Small wind turbines are a perennial point of contention. According to wind energy expert Paul Gipe, they often don’t live up to their hype. However, in very high-wind and off-grid situations, they may sometimes be useful. You really just have to do the best you can to evaluate your unique situation. Check out this guest post below for a look at the small wind turbines that lead the market.
It seems not a month goes by without some crazy new idea about how to more efficiently harness wind on a small scale passing by our desks. But really who are the biggest small wind turbine companies in the world? We scoured the industry to put together our updated list of the top 5:
Bergey Windpower is based in Oklahoma and is one of the longest standing small wind turbine companies in the world. They have a relatively simple horizontal design, identified by its yellow color, which is well suited for farms and other open spaces. Although their strongest presence is in the U.S., they do have presence in other locations with installations in over 50 countries. It was reported that Alec Baldwin would install one of their 10kW turbines on Long Island.
XZERES’ wind designs are manufactured and deployed in the United States, the UK, and elsewhere around the world. According to their website, XZERES’ WindRx site assessment can aid in designing systems for markets such as residential, micro-grid based rural electrification, agricultural, small business, rural electric utility systems, as well as other private, corporate infrastructure and government applications. XZERES was formerly Abundant Renewable Energy (ARE) which ultimately went bankrupt in 2010 as part of a failed acquisition by Helix Wind (also now out of business). Afterwards XZERES was formed to resurrect ARE. XZERES trades publicly on the OTC (over the counter) market and had trailing 12 month revenue of $4.41m USD as of 11/30/2012.
Unlike the other companies listed here, New York City-headquartered Urban Green Energy (UGE) specializes in full distributed renewable energy (DRE) solutions, deploying hybrid solar/wind/storage solutions for enterprise customers. However, vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) have caught many people’s attention over the years, and no company has sold more VAWTs than UGE. With a unique look, they utilize a helical Darrieus design that allows the turbine to harness wind from all directions simultaneously while being extremely quiet and durable. High-profile installations of UGE turbines include projects with Lincoln Financial Field (home of the Philadelphia Eagles), BMW, and GE. UGE also designs and supplies a variety of applications for its wind turbines, including telecom base station applications, wind/solar off-grid street lighting, and teamed up with General Electric in 2011 to provide wind-powered electric vehicle charging stations care of the Sanya Skypump. In total UGE has worked in approximately 80 countries.
The Gaia-Wind small wind turbine is a Danish design and is now approximately 20 years separated from its initial inception. The company’s global headquarters are located in Glasgow, Scotland, from where they manufacture and distribute their turbines worldwide. Within the US the exclusive distributor is Talco. Over 500 of their wind turbines have been installed worldwide with a combined operational history of more than 1,500 years. The Gaia-Wind turbine can be spotted by its two-blade design, which includes a patented hub which allows the two oversized blades to rotate.
Evance Wind Turbines is a UK-based company established 12 years ago. With over 1,600 of their turbines installed, it is among the leading companies in the industry, with a particularly strong presence in Europe. Evance has a single model wind turbine, rated at 5 kW, for both grid-tie and off-grid configurations, and sells them in systems which range from 5 kW to 15 kW.