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Boardwalk wind turbines reinstalled after damage

(April 3, 2015) Installing wind-based energy production turbines on the roof of a Boardwalk condo is a daunting enough project without suspected vandalism.

But turbine business owner Scott Lebowitz is past all that, “We settled with the insurance company in December, from there it’s a matter for the insurance company and the OCPD.”

Lebowitz said that a few weeks after the initial turbine system was installed with some local fanfare in late 2013, it was discovered that it had been tampered with. That in itself is sort of extraordinary, considering that the workers now replacing the damaged units need a crane to maneuver the replacements into place.

Nevertheless, the investigation and settlement took almost one year to the day to get the ball (re)rolling.

“It’s not this anymore,” Lebowitz said, referring to the installation and construction process surrounding him, “My time has already gone into this — now it’s for everything after. I’m amazed this all started four years ago.”

Lebowitz’s company, Pure Energy LLC, will sell the turbines now, pointing to the Boardwalk condo as an example.

The turbines are a set of three barrel-shaped drums about 30 inches in diameter and about three or four feet long. They are oriented horizontally, with the broad side facing the ocean and are painted black to blend in with the roof of the structure.

Wire mesh envelops the turbines to protect birds and the gear from each other. They are a far cry from the traditional windmill-style turbines called to mind when visualizing wind power, and Lebowitz said that was a good thing.

“I’m expecting to generate 10 kilowatts per hour, which should cover the house during the summer,” he said, noting the new HVAC system and heavier demand during the summer months. The structure will remain vacant in winter, he said, but the turbines will keep turning, “metering back” all winter long.

Excess power generated will cause the electric meter to turn backwards, which can lead to financial gain.

“At the end of the calendar year you get a check for whatever you didn’t use, up to double what you actually did use, from the state,” Lebowitz said.

These benefits come with a significant up-front cost, Lebowitz said, despite significant rebates and tax incentives. He estimated he had $100,000 invested at this point, notwithstanding the alleged vandalism or compensation for his time.

“There are all sorts of ingenious things you can do in structuring this,” he said, “like putting the entire house into a Limited Liability Corporation and writing off everything — the corporate benefits outweigh the individual ones.”

Absorbing the write-offs is an altogether different matter, and may not be for every potential customer. If outright ownership is not an option, Lebowitz said leasing is available.


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