Spanish Springs residents Ray and Cecelia Cromer would agree that Mariah Power has earned the award. In August, two of Mariah’s 40-foot cylindrical windspires were installed in the couple’s back yard.
“We’re glad to have them. We’re going as green as we can,” Cecelia Cromer said. “We own a (Toyota) Prius. Every little bit helps.”
Last week, the Cromers received their first power bill since the windspires were installed. Ray Cromer said the windspires generated 22 percent of the energy they used, which meant a smaller charge on their bill from NV Energy.
“That’s power we don’t have to pay for,” Cromer explained. “That’s more than we expected. It’s not the windy season. We’ll be happy if we can save 25 percent on power.”
Computer software allows the couple to see daily average wind speeds and wind power generated. A bi-directional meter runs backwards if the spires are generating more power than the house is using. On a recent windy day, the wind generators produced excess electricity that was sent back to NV Energy’s “grid.”
“We generated 10 kilowatt-hours (kWh) that day and sold 4 kWh back to NV Energy,” Ray Cromer said.
The couple wants to do what they can to reduce their “carbon footprint.” Wind power, they said, helps take the demand off foreign oil and coal power.
“What sense does it make to burn coal in Nevada? We don’t have any.” Cecelia Cromer said. “They should take that money to develop solar and wind power and put Nevadans back to work.”
Mariah windspires generate power by spinning a wire coil in a magnetic field, Ray Cromer explained. It takes only six ounces of wind pressure for the spires to spin. The spires are relatively quiet, bird-safe and multi-directional. The cylindrical turbines can spin no matter which way the wind blows, unlike standard wind turbines. Less clearance and therefore less land is needed for the windspires than for traditional wind turbines.
Windspires are produced in the Cromers’ home state of Michigan. An auto parts supplier plant was re-tooled and 120 people were hired by Mariah in Manistee, Mich. The steel and aluminum spires are made of 80 percent recycled materials.
“They put people back to work. How can you not get on board with that?” Cecelia asked.
The Cromers’ cost for the windspires, with installation, was $32,000. Three weeks or so later, the couple received a $6,000 rebate check ($3,000 per unit) from NV Energy. The couple are allowed to take 30 percent of their cost for the wind turbines off their 2009 federal income tax bill.
“That makes it an extremely powerful number: $9,000 off the top, or bottom, of your taxes,” Ray Cromer said.
The Cromers’ neighbor, Albert Sousa, watched the windspire installation and decided to jump on the bandwagon. Now, Sousa has two 30-foot Mariah windspires in his backyard. The Cromers keep Mariah literature on hand for anyone who is interested in the turbines, which are visible from Pyramid Highway.
Mendive Middle School technology teacher Casey Rowley said his school’s 30-foot windspire is an educational tool and part of the alternative energy curriculum; there’s also solar panels on the school’s roof. The amount of alternative power generated is small compared to the school’s total power use, Rowley said.
“It (the spire) sends energy to the classroom, allowing students to see the energy produced,” Rowley said. “We can monitor wind speed and the power produced.”
Mariah Power is starting to go international with windspire sales expanding into Canada, Mexico and Europe, according to Aaron Kerson, Mariah’s western regional sales manager.
For more information, go to the company’s Web site at www.mariahpower.com.