Talk Inc. in Sauk Centre, MN focuses it’s business on installing and remanufacturing wind turbines, and also on solar installations.
Leading up to the national Small Wind Conference taking place in the Twin Cities on April 10-11, 2017 we thought it would be nice to catch up with Talk Inc. Owner Adam Suelflow to learn more about their wind turbine work.
How did you discover remanufacturing wind turbines as a business venture?
I started out installing turbines in Alaska for islands with a massive price for their power. The state of Alaska contacted me because I had grown a reputation for myself that established me as a “say-it-like-it-is” installer. I was upfront with the customers, and gave them the honest facts about buying a wind turbine. As I worked in more states, I noticed that there was a need for quality remanufactured wind turbines, and I seemed like the perfect man for the job with my experience in wind and being a grease monkey! Since then, we have expanded to fill the needs of our customers, like installing, repair, grant writing, and our biggest success to date—solar panels!
Do remanufactured wind turbines receive any Minnesota-based or federal incentives?
Yes, they qualify for the 30% federal tax credit and any state or utility incentives that may exist. USDA REAP grants can cover an additional 25% of the cost, too. Taken together, these opportunities make now a pretty good time to explore your wind and solar energy options!
What criteria should folks consider when buying a remanufactured wind turbine?
Everyone’s situation is different. Honestly, one of the biggest things to consider is if you have more consistent wind on your property or if you have a roof or open spot in your yard with minimal shade. That’s step one. Then, I would look at your local utility incentives. Some offer incentives for one and not the other. On the wind turbine side, I would ask yourself if you are willing to buy the factory mass-produced turbines that are too new to know how long they will last, or if you are leaning towards the model that has been remanufactured to last a lifetime and has a proven track record of life expectancy. It depends what your values are.
What does the typical installation look like? Is there a preferred tower height?
Installations vary by the job. For an island in Alaska, it takes a lot longer because you have to ship all the equipment and parts via boat. For the good ol’ Midwest, it depends more on waiting for a few calm days when we can erect the tower and install the turbine. The height depends on how high we have to go to catch the best wind. You have to consider if you are building on a hill, in a valley, around trees, etc. For solar panels, instead of optimal wind you look for optimal sunlight. It wouldn’t make sense to put them under an oak tree, but your house or shed roof might be perfect!