With growing incentives announced by various governments and larger end-user awareness, the small-wind power market is expected to increase massively, from $609m in 2012 to $3 billion by 2020, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22%, says research and consulting firm GlobalData.

According to the company’s latest report, the global small-wind turbine cumulative installed capacity is also expected to witness a significant increase from 728.3 Megawatts (MW) in 2012 to 4,644.7 MW by 2020, at a CAGR of 26.1%.

Additionally, China, the US and UK contributed to more than 80% of the global small-wind power installed capacity in 2012, with 266 MW, 216 MW and 118 MW, respectively.

Prasad Tanikella, GlobalData’s Senior Analyst covering Power, says: “Small-wind power has huge potential in China, due to the large rural population and the requirement for distributed power systems. The country also has more than 80 small-wind turbine manufacturers, which produce the largest number of these turbines.

“Still, the UK was the fastest growing small-wind power player in 2012, installing more than 50 MW. Its market is expected to grow further due to financial incentives under the renewable obligation, the implementation of Feed-in Tariff policies, and streamlining of administrative procedures.”

Although the future for small wind looks promising, the market could face some obstacles in the form of economic slowdown, along with zoning and permitting challenges. Further hindrance could be caused by low public awareness, lack of net-metering programs and certification issues.

“Poor permitting practices and unnecessary restrictive regulations are the major market barriers discouraging customer interest and investment. Streamlining the permitting process will be crucial towards ensuring that the growth of wind installation is not hampered by administrative issues,” Tanikella concludes.