Sales of small wind turbines in the United States grew 78 percent in 2008 compared to the previous year, the American Wind Energy Association reported on Thursday.

The wind turbines – which must have a capacity of 100 kilowatts or less - are big enough to provide power for a single home or office building. The number of turbines installed is about 1,000 units totaling a capacity of 17.3 megawatts.

The industry projects it will grow 30 times its current size within as little as five years, the AWEA said. Despite a global recession, U.S. installed capacity will grow to 1,700 MW by the end of 2013. The Association attributed much of this estimated growth to the new eight-year 30 percent federal tax credit passed by Congress in October 2008 and augmented in February 2009.

At least 219 companies worldwide manufacture small wind systems. Thirty-five percent of those are based in the U.S. while national manufacturers' sales account for half the global market, the AWEA noted.