You are here

Small Wind Turbine Certifications Signal Maturing Industry

January 6, 2014 - 10:00am


A 5-kW wind turbine with a lattice tower is silhouetted against a blue sky.

This is an excerpt from the Fourth Quarter 2013 edition of the Wind Program R&D Newsletter.

According to the 2012 Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications published by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2013, by the end of 2012, 32 small wind turbine suppliers reported sales of 57 models of wind turbines in the United States. While this market growth is providing U.S. consumers with a wide variety of small wind turbine models to choose from, until recently, they had no systematic way to verify the performance, sound level, safety functions, or structural design of a particular model of wind turbine.

In response to this need, the DOE Wind Program supported the development of technical standards that can be used to test small wind turbines and launched an independent small wind testing program conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at the National Wind Technology Center in Colorado. The program also supported the creation of four small wind turbine regional testing centers (RTCs) located in Utah, Texas, Kansas, and New York, and the establishment of the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC). The SWCC provides accredited third-party verification of the test results in accordance with internationally adopted technical standards for testing. These organizations provide wind turbine buyers with reliable safety, acoustic, and performance data and provide wind turbine sellers with the capacity to demonstrate compliance with regulatory and incentive program requirements.

Since the standards and test centers were established, 13 small wind turbine models have been certified to the U.S. industry standard by accredited certification bodies. This progress signals a maturing industry and that the DOE Wind Program is on track to reach its goal of certifying 40 turbine models by 2020. The SWCC has also issued active provisional certifications for two more models, and three models tested and analyzed in the United Kingdom (UK) have applied for SWCC certification. In addition, Intertek completed testing of two additional turbine models to the American Wind Energy Association standard and has issued certificates for the UK Microgeneration Certification Scheme for three others.

Small Wind Turbine Certification Ratings Issued as of October 2013
Applicant Turbine Rated Annual Energy1 @ 5 m/s Rated Sound Level2 Rated Power3 @ 11 m/s
Bergey Windpower Excel 6 9,920 kWh 47.2 dB(A) 5.5 kW
Bergey Windpower Excel 10 13,800 kWh 42.9 dB(A) 8.9 kW
Endurance Wind Power Inc. Endurance S-343 8,910 kWh 46.6 dB(A) 5.4 kW
Evance Wind Turbines Ltd. Evance R9000 9,160 kWh 45.6 dB(A) 4.7 kW
Eveready Diversified Products Ltd. Kestrel e400nb 3,930 kWh 55.6 dB(A) 2.5 kW
Kingspan Environmental KW6 8,950 kWh 43.1 dB(A) 5.2 kW
Osiris Technologies Osiris 10 23,700 kWh 49.4 dB(A) 9.8 kW
Sonkyo Energy Windspot 3.5 4,820 kWh 39.1 dB(A) 3.2 kW
Sumec Hardware & Tools Co., LTD PWB01-30-48 2,920 kWh 41.1 dB(A) 1.2 kW
Sumec Hardware & Tools Co., LTD PWB01-40-48 4,660 kWh 36.9 dB(A) 1.7 kW
Sumec Hardware & Tools Co., LTD PWA03-44-250 6,400 kWh 40.9 dB(A) 3.2 KW
Sumec Hardware & Tools Co., LTD PWA05-50-280 9,240 kWh 42.0 dB(A) 5.0 kW
Xzeres Wind Corporation Skystream 3.7 3,420 kWh 41.2 dB(A) 2.1 kW

1Estimated annual energy production on assuming an annual average wind speed of 5 m/s (11.2 mph), a Rayleigh wind speed distribution, sea-level air density, and 100% availability. Actual production will vary depending on site conditions.
2The sound level that will not be exceeded 95% of the time, assuming an annual average wind speed of 5 m/s, a Rayleigh wind speed distribution, sea-level air density, 100% availability and an observer location on 60 m from the rotor center.
3The wind turbine power output at 11 m/s (24.6 mph) at standard sea-level conditions.