In 2006, a group of individuals and government entities, all with an interest in the development of a North American small wind market, recognized the need for a body which would independently verify the performance of small wind turbines. As a result that group subsequently established the Small Wind Certification Committee Working Group, which consisted of more than 60 entities including the major small wind turbine manufacturers, representatives from a number of US states and Canada, as well as universities and key individuals.
A poll of small wind turbine manufacturers, state agencies and utilities conducted in September 2006 reinforced the pressing need for small wind turbine certification and its role in building consumer confidence, finding that:
- 89% of manufacturers said certification is important to their business, with 33% indicating certification is critical, essential or required to reach the mainstream.
- 27 suppliers targeting the North American market expect to submit up to 70 certification applications in the next two years.
- 11 states plan to require and 4 states may require certification for turbines to receive state funding.
- 7 states said certification could help expand their small wind incentives.
- Out of 23 states and utilities with existing requirements for small wind turbines, 12 indicated they expect to use certification to supplement or replace these procedures.
Through 2006 and 2007 the Working Group compiled a comprehensive organization plan for the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC). This contained the market research that demonstrated the need, the mission statement, along with a description of services to be provided, the Board structure, staff and their functions, funding and marketing plans, timelines and other information.
In early 2008, SWCC moved on to the next stage of its development when it incorporated as a new non-profit organization, elected its first Board and began to hire staff. Through 2009, SWCC developed the policies and procedures that govern the certification process. SWCC began to accept certification applications in February 2010.