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Evaluating state markets for residential wind systems: Results from an economic and policy analysis tool

Description: The market for small wind systems in the United States, often defined as systems less than or equal to 100 kW that produce power on the customer side of the meter, is small but growing steadily. The installed capacity of domestic small wind systems in 2002 was reportedly 15-18 MW, though the market is estimated to be growing by as much as 40 percent annually (AWEA, 2002). This growth is driven in part by recent technology advancements and cost improvements and, perhaps more importantly, by favorable policy incentives targeted at small wind systems that are offered in several states. Currently, over half of all states have incentive policies for which residential small wind installations are eligible. These incentives range from low-interest loan programs and various forms of tax advantages to cash rebates that cover as much as 60 percent of the total system cost for turbines 10 kW or smaller installed in residential applications. Most of these incentives were developed to support a ran ge of emerging renewable technologies (most notably photovoltaic systems), and were therefore not specifically designed with small wind systems in mind. As such, the question remains as to which incentive types provide the greatest benefit to small wind systems, and how states might appropriately set the level and type of incentives in the future. Furthermore, given differences in incentive types and levels across states, as well as variations in retail electricity rates and other relevant factors, it is not immediately obvious which states offer the most promising markets for small wind turbine manufacturers and installers, as well as potential residential system owners. This paper presents results from a Berkeley Lab analysis of the impact of existing and proposed state and federal incentives on the economics of grid-connected, residential small wind systems. Berkeley Lab has designed the ...
Date: December 1, 2004
Creator: Edwards, Jennifer L.; Wiser, Ryan; Bolinger, Mark & Forsyth, Trudy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department