Small-scale wind turbines: leading companies?

This screen compares the offerings of a dozen companies providing small-scale wind turbines, with power ratings in the range of 30kW of power, for residential energy generation. Costs range from $1,000-6,000/kW.

For each company, we have tabulated their size, experience to-date, turbine parameters, estimated costs and system reliability.

The three key challenges are performance, reliability and cost. We believe that resolving these issues creates a material opportunity for small-scale wind turbines.

For an overview into how the power of a wind turbine is calculated as a function of wind speed, blade length, blade number, rotational speed (in RPM) and other efficiency factors (lambda) please see this data-file.

Decline rates of wind turbines average 1% per year, then possibly accelerate to 3-4% per year in years 10-20. Decline rates matter for the ultimate share of wind in the future energy mix, as our forecasts see wind ramping up by 5x to supply 10,000 TWh pa of useful energy by 2050. However, a 1-4% decline rate would mean that 50-200GW pa of new wind additions would be required simply to offset the decline of previously installed facilities.

More recent overviews of offshore and onshore wind levelized costs are also available, generating ~7% IRRs at electricity prices of roughly 13c/kWh and 6c/kWh respectively.

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