The U.S. market for small-scale wind turbines on homes and small businesses grew 15 percent in 2009, with 20.3 megawatts of new capacity added nationwide, according to a new report. That new capacity represents about 10,000 new units, and bumps the total capacity created by small wind projects (100 kilowatts or less) to about 100 megawatts nationwide, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), an industry organization.
About half of that total capacity was added in the last three years despite a sluggish economy, the group said. AWEA credited federal and state incentives for construction of renewable energy projects — including a 30 percent tax credit for construction of small wind turbines included in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — and private investment that has pumped about $250 million into small-scale wind technology in the last five years. While only about 50 companies worldwide made small-wind systems a decade ago, there are now about 250 manufacturers today, including 95 in the United States, the group said.