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Smaller wind turbines gaining interest

By Staff | Sep 17, 2012

By LARRY KERSHNER

kersh@farm-news.com

SPENCER – Even though there is uncertainty in the field of large, commercial-scale growth in wind turbines in Iowa, there is plenty of interest being shown in the realm of smaller, distributed wind units.

Distributed wind is the 100 kilowatt or smaller units, which still have tax credits available for them until 2016.

According to Rob Hach, president of Anemotery Specialists, based in Alta, these smaller turbines are “getting farmers’ attention for the credits to offset capital gains taxes, or to lock in their electric bills for the next 30 to 40 years.”

Hach and his father, Ken Hach, were at the Clay?County Fair Sunday for Iowa Energy Day.

Anemometry Specialists is the parent company for Wind & Solar Specialists, of which Rob and Tara Hach are owners.

Hach said most dstributed wind units will pay for themselves in seven years, although some have recooped their investments in less than five years.

On a farm, most of these smaller turbines installed to provide power for livestock confinement buildings.

Any excess power is fed back onto the local electric grid, typically sold to a rural electric cooperative.

“The RECs are very cooperative,”?Hach said. “In fact, Iowa Lakes (REC) is fantastic to work for.”

Each REC, Hach said, has a different way to compensate the farm owner for power put onto its grid. Some pay for each kilowatt, between 3 to 6 cents, while others credit the extra kilowatts to the customer for future use.

“We can install battery back-up units,”?Hach said, “but most people use the grid as their battery back-up.”

Hach said his company has a range of 16 to 18 different turbine sizes and models to match most distributed wind needs.

As their name indicates, the company also installs solar electric systems, which Hach said have become less expensive in the past few years.

“The panels cost less,”?Hach said, “and are easier to wire.

“The manufactures have made them more responsive to cusomer’s needs and more friendly to installers.”

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