Fred Huffman watched the growth of the wind industry as he piloted big name musical tour buses across the country. After Huffman retired, he couldn’t shake the power of wind off his mind. He researched the market and saw a demand for mid-sized wind turbines. Four years later, Huffman established His Wind Turbines.
His Wind Turbines, an Ocala-based company, is about to ship their first 50-kilwat turbine to Italy for the company’s first big test. If the unit performs, Altair, the client, has a 40 ore contract waiting for His Wind. Although the turbine has not had a test run and has not yet been assembled, Huffman is confident in the company’s product and expects it to pass the make or break test. The 50-kilowatt turbine sells for $350,000 including installation.
The company currently has about 10 “in-and-out” workers, including Huffman’s son who is studying wind-power in college. If the first turbine is successful, Huffman says the company will need 50 to 70 full-time workers early on, and that number could even reach 100 full-time workers after. His Wind Turbines will require welders, laborers, assemblers, electricians and electrical and mechanical engineers.
Siemens, the German engineering and electronics conglomerate, is the company’s only buyer of the 50-kilowatt size. Siemens once tried to build 50-kilowatt turbines but thought the niche was to small and moved to 5,000-kilowatt turbines. Although it is Huffman’s design, Siemens required their own approval on everything. The partnership allows His Wind to use Siemens’ name in promotional materials, but Siemens is not a financial backer of His Wind. The product includes many selling points including a yaw mechanism to position the unit to the wind, capability to feather the blades to reduce stress and a three layered fail safe braking system.