United Wind Drawing Investors With Wind Leasing Model (1)

Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) — United Wind Inc. is attracting
attention from investors seeking the wind-power equivalent of
the solar lease, said Chief Executive Officer Russell Tencer.

“Interest has certainly ramped up this year,” Tencer said
today in an interview. The Brooklyn, New York-based company
develops small wind-power systems and is “well positioned to
benefit from a trend started by SolarCity and Sunrun.”

United Wind said yesterday it’s receiving $10 million from
Pacific Rim Capital Inc. to install turbines in central and
western New York. The turbines will be owned by Pacific Rim and
maintained by United Wind.

United Wind last year received $25 million from GSG Energy
Finance to install turbines in rural areas in New York, Oregon,
Massachusetts and Maryland.

The company’s projects typically have 10 kilowatts to 50
kilowatts of capacity. Customers including farmers, rural
homeowners and schools pay little to nothing up front and sign
long-term contracts to buy electricity produced by United Wind
systems.

That’s similar to solar leases offered by companies such as
SolarCity Corp. and Sunrun Inc. The model has made residential
rooftops the fastest-growing U.S. solar market. Sunrun is
expecting installations to double this year and next.

United Wind’s systems are best suited for customers with at
least an acre of land, according to its website.

That may limit the company’s appeal, said Amy Grace, a New
York-based analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“It could be a new trend for distributed wind,” she said.
“But it will be mostly limited to rural applications in areas
with good wind resource and high electricity prices.”

To contact the reporter on this story:
Justin Doom in New York at
jdoom1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
landberg@bloomberg.net
Will Wade, Carlos Caminada

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