A financial fix for wind turbine outlay

Helix Wind is offer loans to individuals and small businesses looking to make the jump into wind energy.

The Helix S322 vertical wind turbine is designed for urban spaces. Helix Wind

While wind turbines save money on power in the long term, the initial outlay for buying and installing one can be prohibitive to many homeowners even if they live in a state that offers generous rebates.

Helix Wind makes relatively small vertical-axis wind turbines that can generate electricity with winds as low as 10 mph. These small-scale wind turbines are designed for residential and small-business owners looking for microgeneration.

It may be a classic business model that helps potential customers fund this new technology.

Helix Wind has partnered with Atoll Financial Group, a financial services company based in Washington, D.C., to offer loans for its small wind turbines. It's similar to car manufacturers with a financing arm for auto loans or furniture stores that offer financing for a dining room set.

The financing packages offered in conjunction with Atoll will vary by market, country, and type of customer, according to Helix Wind CEO Ian Gardner.

"We conduct an extensive fact-finding process with potential customers to determine the best solution for their particular set of financial and resource conditions," Gardner said in an e-mail.

The plan will also include financing to enable distributors to carry more inventory thereby decreasing the time it takes to meet customer orders, according to Helix Wind.

Because the small wind turbine systems can be configured to for either residential and commercial properties, the systems range widely in price--between $4,500 to $250,000. But the company's Web site does offer some guidelines in terms of initial outlay.

"A 5-kW (kilowatt) grid-connected residential-scale system generally costs ($20,000) to 25,000 to install. The best candidates for these systems are homes and businesses with at least a half acre of property, a Class 3 or better wind resource, and utility bills averaging $150 per month or more," according to Helix Wind.

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About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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