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Annual global installations of small wind turbines (SWTs) will roughly double over the next five years, growing from 86 MW in 2012 to 172 MW in 2018, finds a new report from Navigant Research (formerly Pike Research).

By 2018, the SWT market will represent $3.3 billion in revenues, the report adds.

"While the U.S. market for small wind turbines tries to regain momentum following the reduction or expiration of rebates and other key incentive programs in leading states, the overall market for SWTs is growing as a result of feed-in tariff (FIT) policies in the United Kingdom and Italy," says Dexter Gauntlett, research analyst at Navigant Research. “Beyond FITs, the small wind power market will be driven by growing demand for on-site generation, volatile diesel fuel costs and China’s growing need for power.”

At the same time, however, small wind faces strong competition from the solar photovoltaics (PV) sector, thanks to dramatic price drops in solar PV modules over the past few years, as well as the emergence of innovative business models - including leasing programs and third-party financing models - that have yet to be made available to the vast majority of small-wind customers.

However, wind energy still offers unique advantages, and the growth of solar PV has, in some regard, paved the way for SWTs, Navigant says.


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