by Casey Cappello

If you’ve looked up at the corner of Germantown and Highland avenues, you’ve likely seen the large wind turbine that appeared on the roof of Kilian Hardware, 8450 Germantown Ave., in late December.

The turbine has been operational since Jan. 20, and with its installation, Kilian Hardware joins an increasingly large group of small businesses and homeowners throughout the United States that are turning to wind power as a means of deferring utility costs.

The turbine, manufactured by WindTronics, is 6 feet in diameter and weighs about 241 pounds. Kilian’s Hardware hired local contractors to install the equipment. The total cost of the turbine, including installation, was about $15,000.

According to Kilian’s owner Russell Goudy Jr., the elevation on the shop’s roof is within 10 feet of the Chestnut Hill ridgeline that runs across Summit Avenue – one of the highest points in Philadelphia. Also, there are no significant tall trees or buildings surrounding the store, which makes Kilian Hardware one of the best locations in Philadelphia for a wind turbine.

The location made it attractive for a wind turbine installation, but the practical considerations were not the primary reason for installing the turbine.

“I view it as more of a novelty and as an advertising agent than as something motivated by reducing overhead,” Goudy said.

That is not to say that the hardware store does not expect the turbine to eventually pay for itself as an energy supplement.

“I’m not thinking it will pay for itself too soon,” Goudy said. “It will probably be close to 15 or 20 years. The maximum amount of cost deferment we could hope to achieve in any given year is about $500.”

The turbine is expected to produce roughly 275 kilowatt-hours a month. The management is still in the process of calculating how the wind energy will be distributed across the store’s circuit.

“We’re still looking for the optimal load for the circuit,” Goudy said. “I hope to add a few more things to the circuit in the next few weeks. It will still be a while before we will see what the real benefits are going to be.”