Global small wind market grew 53% in 2008

US small wind up 78%

The US market for small wind grew 78% in 2008 with an additional 17.3 MW of installed capacity. This represents 10,500 units and US$77m in sales.

According to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Small Wind Turbine Global Market Study, the growth is largely due to increased private equity investment that allowed manufacturing volumes to increase, particularly for the commercial segment of the small wind turbine market (systems 21-100kW).

The largest segment of the market, residential (1-10kW) wind turbines, was driven by investment and manufacturing economies of scale, but also by rising residential electricity prices and a heightened public awareness of the technology.

AWEA projects a 30-fold growth within five years, despite a global recession, for a cumulative US installed capacity of 1700 MW by the end of 2013. Much of this estimated growth would be spurred by the 8-year 30% federal Investment Tax Credit passed by Congress in October 2008.

The USA continues to command roughly half the global small wind energy market share.

UK the world’s biggest exporter for <50kW

The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) says the UK is the world’s biggest exporter of wind turbines in the sub 50kW division, deploying 4.7 MW in international markets in 2008.

The study’s author Ron Stimmel of AWEA says: “The UK currently exports more small wind systems than any other country in the world and has a great potential domestic market. In the USA, the world’s largest small wind market, the federal government recently enacted a long-term financial incentive for small wind turbine consumers that could bring a 30-fold growth to the US industry in as little as five years. With the right policies, the UK market could see similar growth."

UK manufacturers currently hold an 82% revenue share of the UK market and export 50% of their output to over 100 countries worldwide.

Since 2005, over 10,000 small systems have been deployed in the UK, equating to over 20 MW of installed electrical capacity.