Some assembly required.

Some assembly required.


Fortunately, Bill Smalley has assembled his share of wind turbines in the past few years, and after opening the box holding the Skystream turbine, he set the thick instruction manual aside.


Smalley, along with Westar employees Mike Nolan and David Stevens, took about three hours Monday to assemble the turbine, mount the blades and erect the 45-foot steel pole just north of Smoky Valley High School.


Smalley, who owns Topeka-based Smalley Heating and Cooling, has begun specializing in installing wind and solar energy systems. He said he donates his time to help install turbines at schools, along with members of Westar's "Green Team" employees, who lend their expertise and the company's equipment to the effort.


Nolan said the turbine, which generates 1.8 kilowatts, would cost about $15,000 installed, but is being provided through Kansas State University's Wind for Schools program, which encourages schools to incorporate wind energy into the science curriculum.


"It's strictly educational," Nolan said, explaining that the turbine generates enough power to run the lights in the school's bus maintenance shop -- and that's about it.