US Federal Small Wind, Solar & Geothermal Tax Credit-

Tax Credit:
30% of cost with no upper limit
December 31, 2016
Existing homes & new construction qualify. Both principal residences and second homes qualify. Rentals do not qualify.

By Eileen Majors

It was a windy northern Reno day when we visited Paul Phillipson and Tim Brown of Planet Safe Systems. Distributors of Windspire® wind turbines, they had a lot of great information on this effective way to produce power. It’s all about the wind and apparently it doesn’t take all that much of it to power an average home. In general, you will want average wind speeds of around 12 miles per hour, although in some locations, these wind turbines make sense with lesser wind conditions. (“Average wind speed” means the average for 24 hours per day, 365 days a year for an average year.)

One big factor homeowners now have to consider is the 30% tax credit being offered by the federal government and substantial rebates or incentives which may be available from local electric companies. This all adds up big time when you are considering how long a new system could take to pay for itself.

A Windspire® wind turbine costs around $6,500 and installation varies, running between $6,500 and $10,000 depending upon the site, according to Phillipson, Vice President of Operations at Planet Safe Systems. He said that with a PG&E offered credit of $3,000 on the equipment purchase and a 30% federal tax credit for the entire project cost, they have been seeing customers end up absorbing only about 50% of the total cost of their project. A simple call to you electric company will let you know what rebates or incentives they may currently be offering.

Each installed unit requires careful consideration with site wind surveys and an engineered foundation, so hiring a professional for installation is usually the way to go. We visited the home of Fred Howell, to take photos, who told us he has been considering the purchase for about 40 years. After seeing and article on a local company who produced them a few years back, he made a call to them. He was told there were over 1,000 back orders and they could only make a few a day, so his chances on a waiting list looked slim and slow. He didn’t bother.

Recently Howell was contacted by Planet Safe Systems where President Tim Brown told us much has changed in the industry. Their company has become distributors for Windspire who moved production of the turbines to Michigan. They went into mass production in a reconfigured automobile parts manufacturing building. Brown said that the story is quite inspiring. This company put displaced auto industry workers back to work, now making wind turbines. He also said that the Windspire® units were readily available and parts are easy to get from this company with local offices in Reno.

One reason for this company’s recent boom is the affordable, attractive and ultra quiet design of the Windspire® according to Brown. At only 30 feet tall and 4 feet wide, the unit is distinguished by its sleek propeller-free design. Independent tests confirm Windspire will produce approximately 2,000 kilowatt hours per year in 12-mile per hour average winds. The stronger the wind, the more power it generates.

Planet Safe Systems offers turn-key solutions in about 3 to 4 weeks from licensed contractors. They offer on-site surveys, on site-specific wind data and they can be reached at (775) 852-7735. We recently learned that Almanor Energy Plus of Lake Almanor is also a distributor of Windspire® wind turbines. Theycan be reached at (530) 596-3128. These professionals can detail for you the associated costs and calculate the savings you can expect to find blowing in the wind.