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05/09/13

Photos of Southwest Windpower Wind Turbines by Paul Gipe

Southwest Windpower was begun by two young (at the time they seemed young to us) entrepreneurs: Dave Calley and Andy Kruse. Calley was the experimenter, and designer; Kruse, the marketing director.

Both had been in the business earlier with a micro wind turbine. Control of the turbine was wrested from them in a messy as well as murky process in the 1990s.

The two resurfaced years later as Southwest Windpower in Flagstaff, Arizona where they introduced the “Air” brand of micro wind turbine.

Subsequently, Southwest Windpower bought the rights to the Whisper line of mini wind turbines from Elliott Bayly at World Power Technologies in Duluth Minnesota.

In the mid 2000s Southwest Windpower developed a downwind, permanent-magnet, direct-drive wind turbine the Skystream. In doing so, the company moved from a micro turbine to a household-size wind turbine much larger than their previous machines.

Calley was known for his creative designs that lent themselves to the marketing of “sexy” products. The Air had a sweeping fish-like shape that’s been widely imitated. He followed that with the scimitar-like blades on the Skystream design. These design characteristics made Southwest Windpower turbines easily identifiable in the field.

By the time the company locked its doors in 2012, they had sold 8,000 of the Skystream product.

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