Return of Federal Small-Wind Tax Credit a Big Boost for Small Wind
New investment tax credit of up to $4k to grow small turbine industry
Last week’s well-publicized economic bailout package, included several “sweeteners” to help it through the House. Extended were the tax credits for solar, wind, and geothermal as well as tax credits for green building and energy efficiency. But what also passed was a new federal-level investment tax credit for qualified small wind turbines. The ITC is valued at $500/.5kw capacity for up to $4,000 and available for small and micro-wind turbines (up to 100kw), including vertical-axis wind turbines, installed through 2016.
The U.S. small wind industry projects that the enactment of the credit, combined with a forthcoming equipment certification program, will provide thousands of new green collar jobs and contribute to an estimated 40% annual growth for the industry.
“With the new federal tax credits and several State incentive programs, small wind is now an increasingly more affordable solution for consumers who want to reduce their environmental impact and their energy bills, said Andy Kruse, Co-founder of Southwest Windpower, makers of the popular Skystream 3.7, a “plug and play” unit I previously featured as one of the top micro-wind turbines.
Tax credits have been shown to boost advances in utility-scale renewable energy industry and technologies And they have been shown to be a critical part of the rooftop solar PV industry, but tax credits for small wind have not existed for several years. This lack of federal support has kept small wind technology, and the cost-effectiveness of it, from growing as quickly as other renewable energy technologies.
U.S. Senator championed small-wind credit
The passage of the credit was due in no small part to Colorado Senator Ken Salazar (D) who fought to keep the credit applicable to homeowners, not just farmers and businesses. Salazar said,
“Cutting edge small wind systems can play an important role in our efforts to expand the production of clean, homegrown energy. These tax credits will provide America’s consumers, small business owners, and farmers and ranchers the opportunity to bring down their energy costs, while helping to advance us toward an energy independent future.”
A small wind provision added to the Farm Bill by Salazar (D) was removed from the final version that passed this earlier this year.
Image credit: NREL