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Small Wind Certification Council: An ASES Small Wind Division Webinar

Small Wind Certification Council: An ASES Small Wind Division Webinar

Date: 7/13/2010

Contact: Arielle Wolfe, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Phone: (303) 384-6925

Audio and text versions of the Webinar are available (WMV 12.8 MB) Download Windows Media Player. Time: 00:59:56. Text Version.

The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) Small Wind Division bi-monthly Webinar series continued with an overview and status update on the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC). The Webinar was presented by SWCC's Executive Director Larry Sherwood.

Interested buyers of wind turbines for home, farm, and small business use are faced with choosing from more than 450 product choices from nearly 200 suppliers. Most of these systems have neither been tested nor independently evaluated, essentially leaving early customers to serve as beta or prototype testers. The resulting safety concerns and disappointed customers have thwarted the small wind market.

A new effort to filter the large number of small wind turbines that are "commercially available" across North America through testing organizations and independent certification, the SWCC has recently opened its doors and started reviewing applications for independent certification and turbine labels that will help protect consumers from poor products and allow easier comparison shopping. Many turbines are just entering the early stages of testing, and SWCC certification is expected to take approximately 2-4 months once test reports and complete applications are received.

SWCC will soon be announcing an initial list of turbine models with the status of "Application Pending" prior to becoming certified, and expects to release its first easy-to-understand consumer labels this fall. The labels will confirm performance and sound ratings as well as durability and safety compliance with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard. SWCC's website will include detailed data for each model certified.

Massachusetts, New York, and Wisconsin have established certification by the SWCC or similar certification bodies as a pathway to eligibility or qualification for consumer incentives. Oregon has indicated that SWCC certification will become the preferred method for qualifying wind turbines and estimating annual energy output. Numerous other incentive programs have indicated they plan to require certification or evidence of intent to achieve certification for small wind turbines to be eligible for funding, including California, Minnesota, Maryland, Maine, Ohio, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, and Iowa.

This information was last updated on July 15, 2010