Bill seeks tax credit for residential wind turbines


WASHINGTON – A brighter future for residential wind generators is likely if legislation introduced recently by U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., to provide a 30 percent investment tax credit for the units becomes law.

H.R. 2322 is also tagged the Home and Farm Wind Energy Systems Act.

The current cost of residential wind turbines, he indicated, is hindering their sales. With a tax incentive to lower the up-front cost of the machines, increased sales would result, helping manufacturers to increase their volume and lower costs even further.

Favorable reaction. Mike Bergey, president of Bergey Windpower of Norman, Okla., a leading small turbine manufacturer, welcomed Watts’ bill.

Right now, he said, a typical 10-kilowatt residential wind turbine costs about $32,000 and takes about 15 years to pay for itself in terms of lowered electricity costs.

As an example of what can be done if the initial cost of the systems is reduced, Bergey pointed to the state of California, which enacted a 50 percent rebate last year. Since that time, Bergey said, 70 percent of his company’s sales have been to customers in California.

20 million suitable. While annual sales of household wind turbines are numbered in the hundreds of units, Bergey added, “There are over 20 million homes in America with an acre or more of land that would be suitable for one of these machines.”

Bergey said similar legislation is expected to be introduced soon in the U.S. Senate.

Randy Swisher, executive director of the American Wind Energy Association, also applauded Watts’ proposal, calling wind energy one of the best options for homeowners and small businesses to consider, in terms of energy produced per dollar expended.


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