Energy Department Helps Manufacturers of Small and Mid-Size Wind Turbines Meet Certification Requirements

May 11, 2016

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NREL has awarded four subcontracts to manufacturers of small and mid-size wind turbines to improve their turbine design and manufacturing processes while reducing costs and improving efficiency as they work toward certification.  

Photo of a small wind turbine.
These subcontracts are funded through the Energy Department's Distributed Wind Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP), sponsored by the Wind and Water Power Program as part of its multifaceted wind energy research portfolio to help the U.S. wind industry develop competitive, high-performance technologies for domestic and global energy markets. This is the fourth round of funding through CIP, which has now awarded 16 subcontracts. NREL implements all CIP awards, provides technical oversight of awards, and supplies technical assistance to CIP awardees during the technology advancement or certification process.

The awardees will complete their projects within an 18-month period of performance.

Certification Testing

Two awardees were selected in the Certification Testing category, which is dedicated to turbines with a rotor-swept area less than 200 square meters. Primus Wind Power of Lakewood, Colorado, will receive $150,000 to conduct certification testing on its 400-Watt AIR30 model turbine. Bergey Windpower of Norman, Oklahoma, received an award for $152,558 to conduct certification testing of the Bergey Excel 15 turbine.

Certification for these turbines is important because it demonstrates to consumers that the turbines meet performance and safety requirements. Conducted to either the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard or the American Wind Energy Association Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard, these certifications include power performance, acoustic emissions, safety, function, and duration tests. A design review of the structural components is also conducted.

Type Certification

Two awardees were selected in the Type Certification category, which is dedicated to turbines with rotor-swept areas between 200 and 1,000 square meters. Northern Power Systems of Barre, Vermont, will receive $447,000 to conduct type certification testing on its NPS100-24/37m IEC Class IIIA model wind turbine. The second awardee, Endurance Wind Power of Seattle, Washington, will receive $450,000 to conduct type certification testing on its model X35 225-kilowatt wind turbine.

Type certification for wind turbines in this category is conducted to the IEC standard. This certification begins with a rigorous design review and then issuance of a design certificate. Type testing and component tests are also required for the issuing of type certification and include a safety and function test, power performance test, load measurements, an acoustic noise test, and a blade test. 

Learn more about CIP.