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Power supply answer blowing in the wind?

Power supply answer blowing in the wind?

Owner of Midwest Power Solutions, Colin Malaker recently installed one of his wind turbines at his dental practice, Sterling Dental Care. "I started the company because a lot of people are wanting energy solutions and don't want to be on the grid anymore," Malaker said.
Owner of Midwest Power Solutions, Colin Malaker recently installed one of his wind turbines at his dental practice, Sterling Dental Care. "I started the company because a lot of people are wanting energy solutions and don't want to be on the grid anymore," Malaker said.
At Sterling Dental Care, dentist Colin A. Malaker is doing more than helping patients keep their pearly whites right and bright. He’s also pioneering the use of wind turbines in Columbia.
Malaker opened his dental office in Columbia in 2004 and took up the dental profession after a career as a commercial pilot. This year, he started Midwest Power Solutions, which is the authorized dealer in Missouri and Kansas for WePower products, including Vertical-Axis Wind Turbines — VAWT.
What? Don’t know what a VAWT is? It’s a wind turbine with more human dimensions than those on wind farms such as the one in northwestern Missouri, with 140-foot blades and 260-foot towers.            
The wind turbine beside Malaker’s office at 3408 Buttonwood Drive features a mast that rises about 40 feet in the air and is topped by a set of five vertical blades 20 feet in diameter that looks a bit like a weather vane. Nearby is a garden complete with bird feeders, making the wind turbine look not that out of place. It’s only a little taller than the trees behind it.
Of course, it doesn’t generate as much electricity as those massive propeller-driven turbines at the wind farms, but it doesn’t ice up and isn’t noisy, Malaker said. At peak performance, not something always possible here in mid-Missouri, the wind turbine will produce roughly $500 to $700 worth of electricity per month. The turbine was installed in August, and Malaker estimates that here in Columbia, the wind turbine will operate at 60 percent efficiency.
Currently his company includes himself and an estimator/installer. They’ve erected two other vertical-access wind turbines in northern Missouri, and four more installations are in the works, including one at the Lake of the Ozarks.
The devices can cost $30,000 but can pay for themselves in about five years through energy savings, Malaker said. Still, he realizes wind power isn’t the total solution. He also sells solar hot water heaters and solar lights that track the sun to deliver plenty of illumination even when the sun is low in the sky during the winter. Such lights, Malaker said, would be a boon for factories and schools that must light large areas and often use expensive high-energy lights. The lights he proposes include batteries, which can store 10 hours worth of illumination.
The lights, Malaker said, would be perfect for illuminating the new high school being built. The lights don’t require any wiring and could operate free of electricity costs for 10 years.
Although none of these products is cheap, tax credits and rebates can help.
Nor does Malaker plan to ditch dentistry for his new alternative energy business. He said his wind and solar power company is his answer for himself and consumers to what he sees as unpredictable utility costs.
“It’s not a cash cow,” he said. “It’s a great idea, and I’m all for it, but it’s not the total solution.”

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