Backwoods Home Magazine

This independent energy dealer says he’s a ‘conservative’s conservative’

This independent energy dealer says he’s a ‘conservative’s conservative’

BHM Staff Report


Issue #71 • September/October, 2001

Since 1996 Roy Butler has been the owner of Four Winds Renewable Energy Company, a family owned and operated independent energy company located on a windy 70-acre hilltop site in the Southern Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

In 1997 Butler took both his home and business off the grid, choosing to generate all of his electricity with a hybrid wind, solar, genset power system.

“We quickly learned the value of every watt,” he said. “By combining the use of energy efficient appliances with a conservation-oriented lifestyle, we were able to reduce our daily power usage from 33 kilowatt hours to 6. That’s key to the successful use of alternative energy.

Denis Oliver, Dave Cain, and Roy Butler in front of 1280-watt solar array next to a home in Georgia. Four Winds designed and installed the system.

By reducing our reliance on electricity, we were able to live quite comfortably with a much smaller power system than we originally thought possible. We’ve recently added a 512-watt UniSolar solar array and are nearing our goal: to completely eliminate the need for our generator.”

Butler started his business because of the independence it allowed him, plus he was “…tired of paying someone else for my energy and decided to take control of it.” He said, “Most of my customers are of the same mindset: very independent people who want to take back some control of their lives.”

Four Winds is involved in the sale of and installation of all sorts of alternative energy products for wind, solar, and hydropower generation as well as backup generator systems, and Butler goes all over the country to install systems. Whenever possible, he supports “sweat equity,” i.e., he encourages his customers to actively participate in both the planning and installation process.

“This not only reduces the installation costs, but helps the owner better understand the systems’ installation and operation.”

Butler calls himself a “conservative’s conservative” and is a firm believer in the Constitution, particularly the 2nd Amendment. He believes the biggest reason for the loss of independence in this country is apathy—people willing to let someone else do things for them.

He says he recently voted for Bush. It was the first time he had voted since voting for Ford in 1976. He said he had to vote for Bush because he “couldn’t stand having anything to do with any of the Clinton-Gore regime. I dislike voting for the lesser of two evils but that was basically what I was doing.”

Four Winds offers many levels of service, from the design and installation of complete turnkey power systems to providing the do-it-yourselfer with the proper components.

You can write for a free literature package at 8902 Rt. 46, Arkport, NY 14807 or call 607-324-9747. Their website, which Roy calls a work in progress, can be found at, and he can be reached by e-mail: