While recent reductions to feed-in-tariff rates have disappointed many, changes to the structure of the scheme now offer new benefits to landowners, farmers, businesses and communities able to install multiple small wind turbines on their land.

Here, Patrick Dormon, managing director of SIAC Wind Energy, explains how the feed-in-tariff works for small wind turbine installations and how these recent changes have benefitted his customers.

“When a microgeneration certification scheme (MCS) accredited small wind turbine such as our Bergey Excel 10kW turbine is installed by an MCS accredited installer, the owner becomes eligible to benefit from the government’s feed-in-tariff (FiT) scheme.

The scheme guarantees payment for the electricity that is generated by the turbine, also ensuring free energy and an additional payment for any surplus electricity that is exported to the National Grid.

The scheme is guaranteed to provide this revenue for 20 years. The speed of return on investment on a given installation depends primarily on two factors: how well the turbine is sited and the quality of the turbine’s performance in both high-wind and low-wind conditions.

A turbine like the Bergey Excel 10kW, for example, that delivers exceptional low start-up right through to high wind-speed performance, sited in an area with an average wind speed of between 5m/s – 8m/s, is likely to achieve payback within four to eight years.

As has been much reported since DECC announced it in July of last year, in December 2012 the FiT generation rate for small wind turbines (over 1.5kW, up to 15kW) reduced from 28.0p/kWh to 21.0p/kWh. Less reported was the removal of the remuneration break that previously penalised installations of larger turbines (over 15kWh) and installations of multiple small turbines (the sum of which was over 15kWh, e.g.

2x 10kWh turbines).

In light of the new flat FiT rate for installations under 100kWh, we are finding that more customers than ever are choosing to install multiple small wind turbines to power their farm businesses. In many cases, customers have actively opted to install multiple small wind turbines in place of a single larger wind turbine.

Not only are smaller wind turbines generally considered to be more aesthetically pleasing, they are often found to be more amenable to both planners and local communities. Thankfully for all involved it is possible to contain a multiple small turbine installation within a single planning application.

For Ian Armstrong, a farmer from the Carlisle area, the lack of downtime afforded by a twin turbine installation was the key benefit.

He said: “I opted to install two 10kW Bergey turbines, as not only would this allow me to double my wind energy generation capacity, it also means that should there ever be an issue with one of the two turbines, the other one would still continue to generate.

As a result of this, our installation was easier to justify to both our bank and our insurer.”

Reliability is a big concern amongst our customers and reasonably so, because of the poor track record of the many turbines that have entered and exited the market during the Bergey’s 30 year history.

While we are one of only a few offering a ten year warranty, we feel that the Bergey is the only turbine on the market that can legitimately claim a 30-50 year life span.

For further details contact Darren Murphy, our sales manager for the South West on 01666 501377 or visit www.siacnews.co.uk