Business Idea: Manufacture an efficient, quiet, and sleek wind power turbine that both businesses and homeowners can use to harness the power of the wind to produce electricity.
Pitch: Although wind power is clean and increasingly cost-competitive, it is largely confined to large wind farms in rural areas. The primary obstacle to building windmills in more densely populated areas is the “not-in-my-backyard” sentiment. This sentiment arises from the large scale of most wind-powered devices, the noise and shadows that are created, and the height of traditional windmills, which normally exceed local zoning requirements.
Windspire’s mission is to make wind power available to businesses and homeowners by avoiding these complications. The company has invented and is selling a low-cost, attractive, plug-n-produce wind power appliance that can fit within the aesthetic schemes of many business and residential environments. The appliance called the Windspire, doesn’t look like a traditional windmill or wind generator. It is 30 feet tall by 4 feet wide, ultra-quiet, and is distinguished by its sleek propeller-free design. The sleek profile allows customers to easily scale up the number of turbines to meet higher energy needs. An individual unit is priced at $9,000 to $12,000 fully installed. After tax credits, the cost can be as low as $3,800, much lower than comparable wind turbines and other alternative energy options.
To make the Windspire more palatable for business and residential environments, it is manufactured with corrosion-resistant soft silver paint that can be repainted in any color. At 30 feet (which is equivalent to a three-story building), it is below typical residential and urban zoning requirements and its uniquely slender vertical axis design allows it to operate with a low-speed ratio, which makes it quiet and more visible to birds. In a business setting, several Windspires clustered together can be visually appealing and can display a company’s commitment to environmental stewardship. Like other sources of wind power, a Windspire generates clean, renewable energy that doesn’t require the burning of fossil fuels.
Windspire is sold in a “kit” form and includes everything that is needed except the concrete foundation. Maintenance is limited to oiling the bearings, which are 9 feet off the ground, once a year. The 1.2 kilowatts (or 1,200 watts) Windspire will produce approximately 2,000 kilowatt hours per year in the 12-mile-per-hour average wind. This amount of electricity is sufficient to supply roughly 25 to 30 percent of the power needed for an average house. A household that spends $3,600 a year on electricity could recoup its investment in Windspire in just over five years.
Windspire turbine units are sold through local authorized dealers and siting experts.