Total Energy Ventures (TEV), the venture capital arm of Total that invests in start-ups, has acquired an interest in United Wind, a company leasing small wind turbines (10 to 100 kW) to rural businesses and homes in the US.

Formed in 2013 in New York, United Wind installs, operates and maintains wind turbines under a leasing scheme involving no upfront cost.

The power generated by the turbines is either used by the customers themselves or sold to the grid. Customers therefore pay less for use of renewable energy than electricity provided by utility companies.

United Wind started out in New York State and is now expanding into the Midwest, notably in Colorado, Kansas and Minnesota.

Total sustainable development & environment executive vice president Jérôme Schmitt said: "This latest investment strengthens TEV's participation in the distribution of renewable energy. It allows us to explore the interest in small-scale renewable energy solutions which can be connected to the grid and how these can be financed.

"United Wind makes wind power accessible to customers and small businesses who become energy producers and consumers at the same time."

The funding round is intended to finance United Wind’s expansion. TEV will sit on the company’s Board of Directors as an observer.