Strategically Green - Blowin’ in the Wind
By: Elizabeth Sherrod, managing editor and research director, NAIOP
Innovations in wind energy continue to evolve with one of the newest being the WindCube®, a rooftop wind turbine designed specifically for commercial and industrial power users located in urban and suburban settings.
Manufactured by GreenEnergy Technologies, the WindCube features a patent-pending design that relies on the wind tunnel effect known in physics as the Bernoulli Principle. Technically speaking, as the wind comes into the unit, it becomes concentrated, creating increased velocity and in turn, more power. Because of the amplification effect, the WindCube is said to capture wind energy as low as five mph. The system generates electricity by running its motor backwards using an impeller (the opposite of a propeller). The manufacturer claims that this eliminates the need for a gearbox, a potential source of maintenance problems in conventional wind turbines.
The WindCube® patent-pending design captures wind energy as low as five miles per hour with costs ranging from $4.50-$6.00 per installed watt before rebates and other incentives.
According to GreenEnergy Technologies, the WindCube system does not store energy. When there is no wind, the building reverts back to using energy from the grid. When more energy is created than the building needs, the energy generated is returned to the grid and users receive a credit for the energy returned. The manufacturer designed the WindCube, available as a single (60KW) or dual (120KW) system, to harness wind from any direction and it can be roof or tower-mounted.
Installation is handled by the manufacturer who coordinates all phases of the process, from initial site analysis to turbine commissioning. Once the turbine is in operation, business partner, Roth Bros., Inc. provides users with 24/7 monitoring using an online remote system.
Information on the company Web site states that:
- the cost of a WindCube usually ranges from $4.50-$6.00 per installed watt before rebates and other incentives, depending on the model.
- several rebates and tax incentives are available which can result in a payback in as little as three years.
- generally, three main factors determine the payback period of the WindCube system: average wind speed at hub height; electric rate (located on the electric bill); and state rebates and incentives. Rebates and incentives vary state by state so interested parties should refer to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (www.dsireusa.org) for the most up-to-date specifics.
Through 2016, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allows owners of small wind systems with up to 100 kilowatts (kW) of capacity to receive an uncapped investment tax credit for 30 percent of the total installed cost of the system. Previously, this incentive was capped at $4,000. In addition, a 50 percent bonus depreciation is available for certain turbines placed in service in 2009 and 2010.
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