Falling industry costs, hefty tax credits, and financing options for homeowners continue to drive a nationwide boom in rooftop solar panel installations — and a legion of service companies that support that.  But at an average total outlay of $25,000-$40,000 per install, that’s still out of reach for many consumers.

Small wonder, then, why a new, and more affordable clean-electricity option is gaining a foothold on more rooftops around the country: vertical axis wind turbines, starting at about $4,000, that can be installed in less than an hour. That was the somewhat hyperbolic gist of Urban Green Energy’s unveiling last week of the “Eddy,” a 4-foot-tall turbine that cranks 600 watts via wind from any direction.  That’s not mind-blowing output of course — 600 watts is enough to run a refrigerator or washing machine — but given the friendly price point, it’s a compelling value extended over 10 or 20 years, the expected life span of the turbine.

The New York-based Urban Green Energy already sells larger units to commercial and agricultural customers, so there’s reason to believe it can scale down a product efficiently for residential use.  One added plug-and-play benefit: homeowners who already own a solar unit can install an Eddy and wire it into their system, bringing additional output online.  Something for solar service companies to consider as demand ramps up.