Two years ago, remodeler Mike Gervais, owner of Prime Construction, in Burlington, Vt., partnered with an electrician to form Yellow Brick, a renewable energy installation company. The company installs photovoltaic panels and solar hot water systems, as well as the Honeywell Wind Turbine by WindTronics.
Since then, the solar market has become more competitive and a resurgence in the remodeling market has kept Gervais busy. However, he believes the wind turbine market will grow. “They are beginning to generate curiosity,” he says. He is a dealer/installer for the WindTronics product and receives leads from the manufacturer’s website. To date, Gervais has installed the turbine on two homes and two small commercial buildings.
Makes GooD Sense, But ...
The efficient turbine does not have a turning rotor and generates power at the blade tip, Gervais explains, where the speed is the greatest. His crew mounts the turbine on the roof, and his partner’s team handles the electrical connection.
Gervais says that the 6-foot-diameter turbine “really makes sense for a single-family residence.” One client told him that the turbine reduced her electricity bill by 20%. And homeowners can sell excess power to the utility company. Gervais recently added a smart meter to a turbine he installed on a restaurant roof to track electricity production.
When he meets with potential clients, the remodeler enters their address into the manufacturer’s dealer site, which uses a wind map to analyze the potential payback for that home or building. But, he says, the renewable market needs incentives because “the return on investment without rebates or incentives just isn’t there.”
$15,000: Yellow Brick’s average cost for the WindTronics product and installation, before rebates
The federal 30% (uncapped) tax credit on the purchase and installation of qualifying small wind electric systems expires Dec. 31, 2016
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING
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