Southwest Windpower the company that makes the most popular brands of small wind turbines in the USA has shut up shop abruptly although the products will continue to be made by other companies in future. Turbulent times for small wind worldwide, following the collapse of Proven in the UK in 2011.
It is rumoured that SMA are planning to discontinue their ‘Windyboy‘ range of inverters. SMA pioneered the use of solar inverters for small wind but there are plenty of other options available these day.
Small wind is feeling strong competition from the PV industry at present with the price of PV at rock bottom levels but how much lower can that price go? The Chinese solar PV industry that has put such pressure on the worldwide manufacture with very low prices, is now going bust. This is a good time to buy solar panels! But harder to find a grid-tied inverter manufacturer that will stay in business for long.
My opinion is that small wind turbines work best in off-grid situations, and that the recent fashion for mass producing them and installing them on poor sites for grid connection is not sustainable. New contracts for feed-in-tariffs cannot go on being available for much longer, and without them this size of turbine can never compete with multi-megawatt windfarm machines installed on windy hilltops or offshore even. But an off-grid turbine brings power where there is none, working with PV to keep the battery up and the generator down.