The urgent need for certification of distributed wind turbines has been clear:
- California suspended its incentive program because an applicant requested rebate amount was close or equal to the total installed cost of the system. As a result consumers and installers may have had no interest in verifying that the wind energy systems would generate enough electricity to provide benefit. The program suspension caused hardship for manufacturers. With certified power ratings, this problem would not have happened. SWCC is working with the California Public Utilities Commission to develop a certification requirement for the current program.
- Oregon, New York, and Wisconsin programs set deadlines for turbines to be certified to be eligible for incentives.
- SWCC is working with USDA, Massachusetts, New Jersey and other states to transition incentive programs to require certified turbines.
Where We Are Now
Several wind turbine models have now achieved full and partial SWCC certification, some achieving SWCC Conditional Temporary Certification based on their status under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme in the UK, and numerous others have either started or completed testing representing a significant share of the North American distributed wind market.
SWCC has received more than 40 initial Notices of Intent to Apply for Certification and has active agreements confirming plans for testing and analysis for about two-thirds of the applicant turbine models. SWCC has performed more than 6 test site evaluations and has compiled a list of more than two dozen test organizations interested in participating in field testing for wind turbine certification.
In order to provide more disclosure and transparency in the certification process, the SWCC has updated its policy on optional publication of Application Status for reporting the following key milestones:
- “Under Contract” indicates that the Applicant has executed a Certification Agreement with the SWCC;
- “Under Test” indicates that the wind turbine has been installed at the test site, commissioned, instrumented and is collecting data;
- “Reports Submitted” indicates that the Applicant has submitted a complete Test and Analysis Report to the SWCC with a Certification Application; and
- “Conditional Temporary Certification” indicates that SWCC has granted a time-limited certification with labels, certificates, and summary reports pending for a wind turbine tested and analyzed according to the IEC 61400 series of Standards or the BWEA Standard (certain requirements of the AWEA Standard have not yet been met).
Progress toward issuing consumer labels and widely disseminating public results has been somewhat slower than anticipated due to manufacturer challenges and delays related to testing.
In March 2012, the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) accredited SWCC to certify small wind turbines to the AWEA Standard. SWCC policies were based on ISO/IEC Guide 65. SWCC’s accreditation certificate and details are available here.