New Earth, Home Wind Maker Raising Cash

newearth1.jpgNew Earth makes the prettiest small-scale wind turbine on the market — its vertical-axis design uses a double helix to capture wind energy. And the San Diego-based startup is raising money to get its eye-catching product out there. New Earth CEO Ian Gardner tells us that the company is looking to raise a series A round “in the neighborhood of $3 million to $5 million.”

New Earth’s 2- and 5-kilowatt turbines, sold under the Savonious brand name, are small and designed for the urban and home environment. Think of them as the Mini Cooper of wind turbines. We first read about New Earth when EcoGeek wrote about how the turbine could halve a home’s energy bill.

New Earth’s systems are just reaching commercialization — the company “soft-launched” in September and its first turbine was only installed in July. But Gardner tells us that already the company has “a pipeline of orders approaching seven figures in revenue,” and they “should be delivering on that pipeline in early ’08.”

The official web site doesn’t list a price but, if you trust crowdsourcing, an informative Digg commenter claimed the systems range from $6,500 to $16,500.

There’s plenty of competition in the home wind power space. Southwest Wind Power, manufacturers of the Skystream turbines, has received investment from the likes of Denver’s Altira Group and Chevron’s (CVX) venture capital arm.

Home wind systems works well for off-grid, rural, and even suburban homes, but, despite a few rare exceptions, it’s difficult to find turbines installed in the urban settings in which most people live. The fact of the matter is that they are big and quite difficult to install.

Still, wind power is an important part of a future in which distributed energy is a major component of electricity generation. Finding a solution for wind power in urban settings is a good goal, and the first step is bringing turbines to market that have a form factor that can work for cities and the urban cohorts most likely to adopt the technologies.

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