Southwest Windpower Unveils Most Efficient, Easy-to-Use Small Wind Turbines

Unveiled at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with the backing of GE (NYSE: GE), in Las Vegas, Skystream 600 produces 74% percent more energy for commercial and residential use than its predecessor—making it the most efficient power grid-connected wind turbine in its class, providing an average of 7,400 kWh of clean, low-cost energy per year per household in 12 mph average annual wind speeds.

Depending on the wind resource, siting and energy efficiency, a Skystream 600 could provide up to 80 percent of an average home’s energy requirements. Skystream 600 will be the first fully smart grid-enabled wind turbine when available to the public in March 2011, making it easy for consumers to connect their homes or businesses to wind-generated electricity. With its state-of-the-art interactive Skyview™ system, users can monitor exactly how much energy the wind turbine is producing from anywhere internet access is available.

"Through multiple upgrades—including larger blade design, enhanced software and an improved integrated inverter—Skystream 600 provides users with a more efficient and affordable small wind system," said Dixon Thayer, chief executive officer of Southwest Windpower. "By reducing electric bills, Skystream 600 helps provide affordable independence and stability to users while producing clean energy that won’t hurt the environment."

Skystream 600 is part of GE’s "home of the future" exhibit at the Consumer Electronics Show, which showcases innovative products designed to help consumers manage home energy generation, cost and consumption. As the country’s leading supplier of large wind turbines, GE invested in Southwest Windpower, the world’s largest supplier of small wind systems, in early 2009 through its energy investing arm, GE Energy Financial Services. As part of GE’s ecomagination clean energy business strategy to drive growth and solve the world’s energy challenges, GE has committed to invest $10 billion in clean technology R&D by 2015, doubling the amount it spent in the past five years.

"In many applications, Southwest Windpower offers the most economical distributed renewable generation technology," said Kevin Skillern, managing director of venture capital at GE Energy Financial Services. "Through our investments in the company, GE Energy Financial Services is helping bring this new product to market."

Southwest Windpower, based in Flagstaff, Arizona, was founded more than 20 years ago, has 170,000 units installed worldwide and sells 15,000 turbines annually. Over the past four years, Southwest Windpower has grown 3.5 times in annual sales volume. More than 13 million homes in the United States could install a wind turbine. With the development of lower-cost, more efficient systems, Southwest Windpower plans for exponential growth over the next five years.

Southwest Windpower is the world’s leading supplier of distributed wind turbines. With history lasting more than two decades, the company is a global leader and pioneer in the design, manufacturing and distribution of small wind systems (400-3000 watts). Southwest Windpower has built and shipped more than 170,000 wind turbines to more than 120 countries worldwide and has sales representation in over 88 countries.

Headquartered in Flagstaff Ariz., the company also has operations in Cologne, Germany and a joint venture in Ningbo, China. Applications for Southwest Windpower systems include residential homes, commercial properties, micro grids, remote cabins, telecom transmitters, offshore platforms, water pumping and sailboats. Southwest Windpower is the manufacturer of such well-known products including Skystream, Whisper and Air lines of distributed wind systems.

GE Energy Financial Services’ experts invest globally with a long-term view, backed by the best of GE’s technical know-how, financial strength and rigorous risk management, across the capital spectrum, in one of the world’s most capital-intensive industries, energy. GE Energy Financial Services helps its customers and GE grow through new investments, strong partnerships and optimization of its $21 billion in assets. GE Energy Financial Services is based in Stamford, Connecticut.

GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified infrastructure, finance and media company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, health care solutions, and television programming, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide.