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finding a contractor
Finding an experienced Wind
Energy contractor in your local area can be difficult. Unlike
the solar industry, there is no nationally recognized database of wind
energy contractors and no nationally recognized process for certifying
them. NABCEP, a renewable energy certifying association has
certifications for solar PV and solar thermal but is still working on
its certification program for wind energy. One source of information
on wind energy providers is the member directory of the American Wind
Energy Association (AWEA), an industry group for the wind energy
Another option for finding wind energy providers is to contact
manufacturers who produce wind turbines. Most of them have
distributors by region and can tell you who in your area installs
their turbines. You can find a listing of small-wind manufacturers in
this section by clicking on
Wind Energy Manufacturers from the menu.
Finally, if all else fails try using the paper or
Web-based yellow pages. For many areas or for older phone books
there is sometimes no listing category for "Wind Energy" so you may
have to try listings such as "Electric Contractors" or "Home
When selecting a wind energy contractor here are some key things to look for:
- General Experience - How many years experience does
the company have in installing renewable small wind energy systems.
The use of small wind turbines is a growing area and many contractors have limited track
- Local Experience - Has the contractor installed wind
your local area. The closer the better. See if any of those
home might allow you to talk to the owner.
- Licensing - Is the contractor licensed in your county and
are they familiar with state and local building regulations that
impact wind installations.
- Certifications - Does the contractor have any specific
manufacturer or industry certifications.
- References - References are invaluable, particularly if
they reflect local work that is similar to what you plan to do.
Don't rely just on written references because too often these might
be from family or friends. Get references you can call and
then don't be shy about calling. That is often the best way to get
the real scoop on a contractor.
- Knowledge of Incentives - Most states and some local
governments provide a number of financial incentives for solar
systems. These can make a huge difference in the cost of your wind energy system. Find out if the contractor you are considering
is familiar with these incentives. Moreover, find out if they
will apply for the financial incentives for you as part of their
- Warranties - The best contractors warranty their work.
When comparing bidders look to see who provides the strongest
warranty. Check the fine print!
The wind energy field is rapidly maturing and becoming a major source of
energy for a growing population. To see a perfect example of this check
out our new feature:
The Evolution of Wind Energy in the Tehachapis. The
Tehachapi mountains are one of the windiest areas in the U.S. and wind
power has been established there for over 30 years. Learn how succeeding
generations of wind technology have helped this area become one of the
country's top energy producers.
|The first windmill for electricity production was built in Cleveland, Ohio by Charles F. Brush in 1888.
By 1908 there were 72 wind-driven electric generators from 5 kW to 25 kW. The largest machines were on 24 m (79 ft) towers with four-bladed 23 m (75 ft) diameter rotors.