GE hopes to increase power output at existing wind turbines by offering free upgrades–you just pay if the upgrades work.
GE had a problem. Its researchers were inventing a lot of interesting ways to eke out more power from already installed wind turbines—a software adjustment, adding a vortex-inducing strip of metal, and so on—but customers weren’t buying. Nevermind that GE carefully analyzed how much more their customers could make, and how fast they could pay off the investment.
Getting people to buy into little improvements is not GE’s problem alone. Startups that offer modest improvements to the incumbent technology struggle to get attention. There’s a similar problem when it comes to efficiency gains. A little upfront investment by homeowners and businesses in insulation, light sensors, and other equipment can quickly pay for itself. But those investments often don’t get made.