Small Wind

The refreshing breeze of clean energy

Small Wind

If you live on rural land in a windy area, generating clean, renewable energy from the wind may be a good long-term option. Small wind turbines can help rural homeowners, farmers, ranchers and other property owners with wide-open spaces where the wind can blow freely. And with Energy Trust cash incentives, plus state and federal tax credits, it’s possible to offset up to 90 percent of the cost of a turbine in the very best case. 

Does a small wind turbine make sense for your property? We can help you find a trade ally contractor who can:

  • Further assess the wind quality at your site and determine if a small wind turbine makes sense
  • Recommend a small wind system for your needs
  • Provide a system quote that estimates annual power generation and your costs after Energy Trust incentives and state and federal tax credits
  • Discuss your community's approach to zoning and permitting. Cities, counties and other jurisdictions have requirements that relate to setback, tower height and other issues that may affect your project.
  • Help you apply for cash incentives and state and federal tax credits
  • Install a small wind system to serve your home or business
  • Explain maintenance and warranty details

Energy Trust Incentives

To encourage turbines to be sited for optimum performance, Energy Trust’s incentive is calculated using the turbine’s yearly estimated average energy output (AEO). The method of calculating the incentive depends on whether the AEO is more or less than 9,500 kilowatt hours:

  • For projects with an estimated AEO of 9,500 kWh or less, the incentive is $5.00 per kWh
  • For projects with an estimated AEO of more than 9,500 kWh, the incentive is $47,500 plus $1.75 per kWh over 9,500.

Examples:

  • Turbine A is estimated to produce an average of 9,000 kWh per year.
    Incentive = $5.00 x 9,000 = $45,000
  • Turbine B is estimated to produce an average of 12,000 kWh per year.
    Incentive = $47,500 + ($1.75 x 2,500) = $51,875

In addition, Energy Trust’s incentive may not exceed 50% for both PGE and Pacific Power territories of the total installed cost. Energy Trust will reduce the calculated incentive it will provide if the project receives other grants, rebates or incentives, so that the combined total of all incentives and grants doesn’t exceed 50% of the total installed cost. Energy Trust incentives are paid once the turbine has been installed, passed all required inspections, including the Energy Trust post-installation verification, and following Energy Trust's review of all required project cost documentation.

The incentive structure listed above applies to turbines 50 kW in capacity and less. For turbines larger than 50 kW, please contact Energy Trust.

Incentives are subject to availability of funding and may change.

Project Development Assistance: For larger projects, Energy Trust may provide up to 50% cost-share support for expert project development assistance such as grant writing assistance, feasibility studies, pro forma analysis and other project development activities.  This assistance is subject to budget availability and requires Energy Trust approval.

Eligible Turbines

Energy Trust provides incentives only to a short list of turbines that have met a set of strict requirements. For a list of turbines currently eligible for incentives and for more information about our requirements, click here.

Energy Trust does not endorse any particular manufacturer, contractor or product in promoting its programs. Energy Trust is not responsible for assuring that any aspect of any wind energy system project is proper or complies with any particular laws, regulations, codes, licensing, certification or permit requirements, or industry standards and makes no representations of any kind regarding any wind energy system or any energy generation results.

Tax Credits, Grants and Loan Guarantees

State and federal tax credits can play an important role in making projects financially viable.

Consult your tax professional to learn how tax credits and rules apply to your project. This information does not constitute tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties.

You must be an Oregon customer of Portland General Electric or Pacific Power. Systems must generate electricity and be connected to the local electric utility grid. To be feasible, the small wind turbine installation site must:

  • Be at least one acre in size
  • Be located within about 1,500 feet of a utility’s electrical meter (closer is better)

Additional small wind system requirements:

  • Tower height must be a minimum of 70 feet
  • All installed wind turbines must be on the list of Energy Trust eligible wind turbines
  • Wind turbine blades must be 30 feet above any trees, buildings or other obstacles within a 400-foot radius. (Future growth of trees for the next 20 years should be taken into consideration.)
  • Minimum setback between the tower base and property lines, power lines and habitable buildings must be equal to or greater than the height of the wind system, including the blades, unless explicit agreement is reached with the adjoining property owner and allowed by local regulations
  • Must be installed by an approved small wind trade ally

All projects and sites must be reviewed and pre-approved for eligibility by Energy Trust prior to installation. Also, your incentive application must be submitted to Energy Trust prior to purchasing equipment or starting construction on your project. Working with an Energy Trust trade ally contractor can help ensure that your project will meet Energy Trust requirements and qualify for Energy Trust incentives.

Incentives are not intended to influence consumer decisions on fuel sources.

Follow these steps to install a small wind turbine and get cash incentives and tax credits:

  1. Do your homework. Learn about permitting and zoning requirements where you live. Cities, counties and other jurisdictions will have requirements that relate to tower height and setbacks from property lines. Start by reviewing our Oregon Small Wind Permitting Information by County document. Learn about wind turbine siting. Understand the maintenance requirements of various turbines. Review Energy Trust’s eligibility requirements. Contact Energy Trust if you have questions.
  2. Contact an experienced Energy Trust trade ally contractor who will help determine whether your property is suitable and suggest options for optimal sites on your property. We encourage you to talk to several trade allies to find out about the turbines they install and the costs, advantages and disadvantages of each.
  3. Get bids from several trade ally contractors. See our Find a Contractor page for a list of trade allies.
  4. Select a trade ally contractor. If your trade ally determines your site shows promise after a site visit, you or your trade ally can order a “basic” wind resource report from AWS Truepower that provides estimated average energy output (AEO) and wind speed information. Contact us in advance if you have any questions about how to work with your selected trade ally to request the report. Certain input criteria required to generate the report must meet our Small Wind program criteria in order for the report to qualify to request a reimbursement (e.g. turbine must be listed on Energy Trust’s Eligible Turbine list, the customer and site must meet participation eligibility requirements, and the specified hub height must meet program guidelines). The report will inform the calculations in your submitted Energy Trust incentive application.

    A PGE or Pacific Power customer with an eligible wind site (as determined by the trade ally) can then request reimbursement from Energy Trust for up to $400 of the cost of the AWS wind resource report* by providing a copy of the report, a receipt and the following information to Energy Trust within 90 days from the report date:

    • Customer name
    • Site address
    • PGE/Pacific account number
    • Party to be reimbursed (and a W-9 form if a business entity)
    • Address of party to be reimbursed
    *Must be an AWS Truepower basic wind resource report in order to qualify for this Energy Trust reimbursement.
  5. Get your incentive application and site approved by Energy Trust. If your proposed site and system appear to meet Energy Trust’s initial eligibility criteria, then your contractor will help you complete and submit an Energy Trust incentive application. To qualify for incentives, your application must be reviewed and determined eligible for an incentive reservation by Energy Trust before you begin purchasing any equipment or otherwise start any project construction or installation activities. If you begin work prior to an incentive reservation, then your project may no longer qualify for Energy Trust incentive funds. Also, if separately applying for any tax credits for your project, carefully review the applicable eligibility criteria as some tax credits also require pre-authorization before beginning any work.
  6. Your contractor installs your small wind turbine system. All projects must meet Energy Trust requirements, and require a pre- and post-installation inspection, to be eligible for an incentive.
  7. Submit final cost documentation. Following completion of your post-installation verification, you will work with your trade ally contractor to submit a completion form to Energy Trust along with all required project cost documentation.
  8. Receive your cash incentive from Energy Trust. You have the option of arranging to have your incentive paid directly to you or to your trade ally, distributor or other designated payee.

Questions? Call us at 1.866.368.7878 or contact our small wind team.

Energy Trust does not endorse any particular manufacturer, contractor or product in promoting the Small Wind program. Manufacturers, contractors, products or systems not mentioned are not implied to be unsuitable or defective in any way.

Your contractor will supply and help you complete all forms required to receive cash incentives as well as state and federal energy tax credits.

More about the basics of wind power. Not sure how to begin planning for a wind system? Unsure what to expect from the local government permitting process? The information below will help you get started.

Tax credits

Permitting and Zoning