There’s been a massive boom in developing solar power technologies in recent years, with companies receiving tax breaks, but wind power has been decidedly ignored. Sure, large-scale wind power has had its production tax credit to anchor the industries’ rise, but what about small-scale wind systems? While a turbine is often the cheapest, and most realistic DIY option for off-gridders, in order to get a reliable energy supply you still need to spend a good $10,000.
So, the good news? Recently, the Rural Wind Energy Development Act was introduced into Congress that might even the playing field. It would provide a federal tax credit of $1,500 per kilowatt of capacity to purchasers of small wind systems nationwide. This five-year credit would apply to all wind systems with capacities of under 100 kW used to power individual homes, farms, or small businesses.
The credit is critical to sustaining the growth of wind technology while helping individuals and communities become more independent from unpredictable prices and supplies of traditional sources of energy.
As it stands now, there is no federal support for small wind systems. Residential solar and fuel cell systems, however, which share the same competitive market as small wind, have been receiving a 30% federal tax credit. The federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) applies only to large utility-scale wind projects, not to individuals who want to install their own wind systems for on-site power. Federal support would help broaden wind power take-up on a national scale.