Community Wind Handbook/Find an Installer

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WIND ENERGY STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT & OUTREACHCommunity Wind Handbook

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Community Wind Handbook


Find an Installer

Before attempting to install your wind turbine, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can I pour a proper cement foundation?
  • Do I have access to a lift or a way to safely erect the tower?
  • Do I know the difference between AC and DC wiring?
  • Do I know enough about electricity to safely wire my turbine?
  • Do I know how to safely handle and install batteries?

Homeowners, ranchers, and small businesses can install wind turbines, like this Skystream 3.7 residential turbine, to reduce their utility bills. Photo from Southwest Windpower, NREL 15030

If you answered "no" to any of the above questions, you should probably find a system integrator or installer to install your system. Contact the manufacturer for help or call your state energy office and local utility for a list of local system installers.[1]

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Small Wind Installer Certification ensured that installers were qualified, but as of July 2012, the NABCEP certification was suspended. Sixteen installers throughout the United States hold the credential. At the NABCEP website, you can find more information or a certified installer.

When you begin contacting installers, consider calling at least three to get a small sample of price quotes. Have your latest electric bill near so you can refer to it, as the installer will likely ask questions regarding how much energy you currently use on a monthly basis.[2]

The following is a list of questions that are important to ask an installer.

  • How long has your company been in business?
  • How many similar-size projects have you installed?
  • Can you provide references and contact information from a few satisfied customers?
  • How long will the installation process take?
  • Does your company perform all of the work, or do you subcontract some of the labor to other companies? If you subcontract, which portions? Who are the other subcontractors or companies?
  • Does the installation estimate include all costs, or are there other costs that are not listed that I am responsible for (shipping, excavation and backfilling, concrete and rebar, tower assembly, turbine assembly, trenching, etc.)?
  • Do you provide a warranty for your work? If so, what does it include?
  • Do you offer maintenance and repair services?
  • Will you train me in the proper operation and shutdown of the turbine?
  • What payment schedule do you require in your contract?
  • Do you retain the services of a master electrician for the electrical work?
  • Have you ever been sued? [3]

A credible installer may be able to provide many additional services such as permitting, obtaining interconnection approval, etc., but it will be at an additional cost and you will have to involve them earlier in the process.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1  "U.S. Department of Energy. Small Wind Guidebook: Where Can I Find Installation and Maintenance Support?"
  2.  "NYSERDA. Who Can Help Me Install My System?"
  3.  "Sagrillo, M. Questions Any Wind Installer Should Be Able to Answer"