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Certification Helps Consumers Choose Satisfactory Small Wind Turbines

Certification Helps Consumers Choose Satisfactory Small Wind Turbines

Date: 3/18/2014

Source: Seanica Otterby, National Association of Farm Broadcasters

Audio with Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) Executive Director Larry Sherwood. (MP3 2.8 MB). Download Windows Media Player. Time: 00:03:07.

Small wind turbine certification is hitting its stride. The Small Wind Certification Council was created in 2006 to provide the certification service everyone in the marketplace identified as necessary. The U.S. Department of Energy provided start-up funding to get the SWCC started.

SWCC Executive Director Larry Sherwood says certification provides information to consumers about the power and sound performance of the turbine while also providing assurance the turbine has been tested for safety and durability. Sherwood says anyone in rural America interested in installing a wind turbine should care about certification.

"Before certification came into being, there were a lot of turbines on the market, and there were a lot of turbines that were really high quality and manufactured by good manufacturers, and there were a lot of poor quality turbines and turbines that hadn't been made very much or that didn't have any real quality assessment of the turbines that were built."

Sherwood says the certification assures consumers the turbine they purchase is a higher-quality turbine and will properly perform. As part of the certification process, he says a label with three numbers is created for each turbine.

"One is the rated power of the turbine. One is the rated annual energy production of the turbine, and the third is the rated sound of the turbine. You can use those numbers to compare one turbine to the other and to see whether it matches a consumer's needs. We also have tables and charts in the more detailed report. So, if you know the specific wind characteristics where you are, you can use that information to compare turbines in your specific location."

State incentive programs provide funding for small wind turbine installation. In the same way consumers want assurance turbines will perform the way they expect, Sherwood says states helping finance small wind turbines want that assurance. That's why the Interstate Turbine Advisory Council has created a Unified List to provide a list of all turbines that have been certified along with extra requirements beyond certification requirements.

'They add some business features of the companies that are manufacturing the turbines, primarily related to warranties and service claims and that type of aspect. But that would be the list of all the turbines that have been certified in the United States by any organization and that meet these additional screens that they have."

For more information about certified turbines, visit smallwindcertification.org

This information was last updated on March 18, 2014