IRS Issues New Guidance for Small Wind Turbines to Qualify for 30% Tax Credit

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued Notice 2015-4 providing new performance and quality standards that require certification of small wind turbines – defined as having a nameplate capacity of up to 100 kW – in order to qualify for the 30% federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

“Certification helps consumers distinguish between the good, the bad, and the untested wind turbines on the market and helps consumers accurately compare the wide variety of products available,” explained SWCC Executive Director Larry Sherwood. Certification requirements are helping government agencies ensure that public funds spent on distributed wind installations are spent on safe, quality systems, a means of consumer protection against untested technologies, unverified claims about turbine performance, and equipment failures.

Effective for small wind turbines acquired or placed in service after January 26, 2015, the guidance requires that qualifying small wind manufacturers provide certification to either: (1) American Wind Energy Association Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard 9.1-2009 (AWEA); or (2) International Electrotechnical Commission 61400-1, 61400-12, and 61400-11 (IEC). The certification must be issued by an eligible certifier, defined as a third party that is accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation or other similar accreditation body. Documentation establishing that the turbine meets the new requirements must be provided to taxpayers in order to claim the credit. SWCC certifications help manufacturers meet these new requirements.

The addition of performance and quality assurance requirements at the Federal level indicates that certification is now a trusted and useful tool in protecting consumers and helping to ensure the successful implementation of distributed wind projects in the U.S. This step is a positive move that fits into the overall strategy the distributed wind industry as a whole has been pursuing for many years to strengthen the sector’s credibility and reliability.

An April 2014 memorandum from José Zayas, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office, also encourages that the use of public funds be provided only for wind turbines that have been tested and certified for safety, function, performance, and durability.

Many suppliers of distributed wind turbines have been actively pursuing certification since 2010. More than a dozen models have completed the process and several others are actively under way. These companies are well positioned to comply with the new IRS requirements. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) maintains a list of ratings of fully certified turbines for the U.S. market.

Notice 2015-4 is posted at: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-15-04.pdf. The notice reminds manufacturers that an erroneous certification may result in penalties: (a) Under section 7206 for fraud and making false statements; and (b) Under section 6701 for aiding and abetting an understatement of tax liability ($1,000 per return on which a credit is claimed in reliance on the certification). To help manufacturers and taxpayers understand the new IRS requirements, SWCC will develop and publish a set of FAQs on its website.

About SWCC: SWCC certifies wind turbine models that meet or exceed the requirements of specified Standards as an independent confirmation that wind turbine designs are tested and evaluated according to industry standards for performance and safety. Designed to promote consumer confidence and mainstream acceptance of small and medium wind technology, SWCC certification standardizes North American reporting turbine energy and sound performance. Certificates, ratings, and summary reports for SWCC certified turbine models, including tabulated power curves, acoustic data, and tower design requirements, along with a complete list of SWCC pending applicant turbine models, are available at www.smallwindcertification.org/for-consumer. SWCC updates its certified turbines tables and application status table on its website as milestones are reached.

SWCC maintains an image gallery of certified models: http://smallwindcertification.org/image-gallery/

A2LA Accredits Small Wind Certification Council, Again

Clifton Park NY — Signifying its successful completion of a thorough organizational assessment, the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) has obtained a 2-year renewal of its accreditation by American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) to certify small and medium-sized wind turbine models, now according to the new ISO/IEC 17065 international standard for product certification bodies.

The renewal and update follows SWCC’s recent expansion of scope providing certification of power and acoustic performance for medium wind turbines – defined as newly manufactured, electricity-producing wind turbines with a swept area greater than 200 square meters (about 50 kW) – in accordance with IEC 61400-12-1 (Power) and IEC 61400-11 (Acoustics).

SWCC first obtained ISO/IEC Guide 65:1996 accreditation from A2LA in 2012 to certify small wind turbines to AWEA Standard 9.1-2009. Guide 65 has since been updated to ISO/IEC 17065, and the SWCC certification system has been updated to reflect changes to this standard.

Accreditation to ISO/IEC 17065 allows the universal recognition of SWCC turbine certifications worldwide, while ensuring that certification activities are conducted impartially, systematically and in a uniform manner. The accreditation confirms that resulting product certifications are consistent with international product certification standards and based on objective testing and evaluation.

“We are pleased that A2LA has recognized our quality system and re-confirmed SWCC’s technical competence for our full scope and updated quality management system’s operation as an accredited certification body serving the distributed wind market,” noted SWCC Executive Director Larry Sherwood.

SWCC’s renewed A2LA accreditation certificate, valid through June 30, 2016, and updated accreditation scope are available at www.a2la.org/scopepdf/3299-01.pdf.

In Related News: The U.S. Department of Energy has issued a 4-page guidance memorandum on “Quality Assurance through Wind Turbine Certification Requirements” to 17 federal agencies recommending that public funds be provided only for certified wind turbines and that local planning officials, utilities, banks, state energy offices and federal agencies adopt certification requirements as a means of protection against untested technologies, unverified claims about turbine performance, and equipment failures. As a follow-up, the Distributed Wind Energy Association has updated its recommended certification criteria specifying that certification reports should be publicly released by organizations accredited to ISO/IEC 17065.

SWCC’s Accreditation Extended to IEC Certifications

Clifton Park NY — Reflecting its increased organizational scope, the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) has obtained accreditation by American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) to certify medium-sized wind turbine models, defined as newly manufactured, electricity-producing wind turbines with a swept area greater than 200 square meters (about 50 kW).

A2LA’s extension grants accreditation for SWCC’s recently expanded Wind Turbine Performance Certification program that provides certified power and acoustic performance for medium wind turbines in accordance with IEC 61400-12-1 (Power) and IEC 61400-11 (Acoustics). In 2012, the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) obtained ISO Guide 65:1996 accreditation from A2LA to certify small wind turbines to AWEA Standard 9.1-2009.

In Related News: SWCC recently granted its first Wind Turbine Power Performance Certification for a medium wind turbine under IEC 61400-12-1 to the Endurance Wind Power E-3120, announced in the December SWCC Newsletter.

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SWCC Certification Ranks: Nine Models and Growing, Medium Turbines Now Eligible

Clifton Park, NY – The Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) has recently issued its fifth and sixth full certifications, with nine turbine models now SWCC-certified. With an additional final report submitted for SWCC certification review, six others under test, and three new applicants, more full certifications are expected soon, further advancing consumer protection against fraudulent claims and faulty equipment and helping to build the industry’s reputation.

Reflecting global momentum in wind turbine certification, SWCC has increased its services and now offers certification for power performance and acoustic performance based on requirements identified in IEC 61400-12-1 and IEC 61400-11 for turbines with rotor swept areas larger than 200 m2 designated “medium” sized. “With more agencies requiring certification for eligibility for state and federal incentives, it’s a big boost for the distributed wind industry to see a critical mass of leading turbine models certified,” SWCC Executive Director Larry Sherwood said. “In the upcoming year, we expect to confirm certification milestones and grant certification for even more small and medium turbine models.”  Read more here

Two More Turbines Join Certified Ranks

Evance R9000, Eveready Kestrel e400nb join Skystream 3.7 and Bergey Excel 10 in reaching full SWCC certification, four others provisionally certified

Clifton Park, NY – The Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) has issued two new full certifications and consumer labels to the Evance R9000 and the Kestrel e400nb. Along with recent certification renewals of the Southwest Windpower Skystream 3.7 and the Bergey Excel 10, four turbine models are now fully certified through SWCC to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard.

“With more agencies requiring certification for eligibility for state and federal incentives, it’s a big boost for the small wind industry to see two more turbine models reach full certification,” SWCC Executive Director Larry Sherwood said. “In the upcoming year, we expect to confirm certification milestones and grant certification for even more small and medium turbine models.”  Read more here

Additional Wind Turbines Provisionally Certified

The SWCC has issued its first Limited Power Performance (LPP) certification to the Endurance Wind Power S-343, and its sixth Conditional Temporary Certification (CTC) to the Eveready Kestrel e400nb 250, increasing the tally of turbine models partially or fully SWCC-certified.

SWCC issued its first two full certifications and consumer labels in late 2011 to the Bergey Windpower Excel 10 and the Southwest Windpower Skystream 3.7. The consumer labels show the Rated Annual Energy, the Rated Sound Level and Rated Power, and SWCC Summary Reports provide each turbine’s respective tabulated power curve and acoustic data, tower design requirements, and confirm that each meets all the AWEA Standard’s requirements on durability, mechanical strength, safety and function.

SWCC has also awarded conditional certification to the Evance R9000, the Evoco 10 kW, the Kingspan KW6, the Gaia Wind GW 133 – 11kW, and the Xzeres-442SR. Before SWCC releases consumer labels for limited and conditionally certified turbine models, these applicants must meet a few additional requirements of the AWEA Standard and submit a full application package, including acoustics data analysis, to SWCC for evaluation.

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A2LA Accredits Small Wind Certification Council

Allows International Recognition of SWCC Ratings

The Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) has obtained ISO Guide 65 accreditation from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) to certify small wind turbines to AWEA Standard 9.1-2009.

Accreditation to ISO Guide 65 ensures the universal recognition of SWCC turbine certifications worldwide, while ensuring that certification activities are conducted impartially, systematically and in a uniform manner. Guide 65 ensures that the resulting product certifications are consistent with international standards and based on objective testing.

A2LA’s accreditation of SWCC “demonstrates technical competence for a defined scope and the operation of a quality management system,” according to A2LA President & CEO Peter Unger.  Download the full press release

SWCC Issues First Two Full Certifications

Bergey Excel and Skystream Issued First Small Wind Consumer Labels

The Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) has issued its first two full certifications and consumer labels to the Bergey Windpower Excel 10 and the Southwest Windpower Skystream 3.7.

“The full certification of two turbine models is a major leap forward in establishing consistent consumer ratings and aiding incentive programs with determining eligibility,” noted SWCC Executive Director Larry Sherwood. “Our labels allow easier comparison shopping and will help small wind turbines gain mainstream acceptance.”

SWCC expects to issue more full certifications in the coming months, as more incentive programs initiate certification requirements. Sixteen of the remaining 27 turbine models under contract to pursue SWCC certification have either started or completed testing. Three turbine models have been granted Conditional Temporary Certification based on certification from the UK’s Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). To be granted full SWCC certification, Conditional Temporary Certified turbines must meet the full requirements of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard and complete the SWCC review process.    Download the full press release.

SWCC Announces First 3 Conditional Temporary Certifications

6 Pending Applicants Are “Under Test,” 16 Others Are “Under Contract”
The SWCC is pleased to grant its first Conditional Temporary Certifications to three small wind turbines certified under the UK’s Microgeneration Certification Scheme: Evance R9000, Evoco 10kW, and Skystream 3.7. With a few recent additions, 25 turbine models currently have pending applications for SWCC certification; 5 of these are certified under the UK’s Microgeneration Scheme (MCS) and 4 others are “Under Test” toward SWCC certification. Download full release

Certification Poised to Drive Small Wind Growth

22 Turbines Now In Queue; Incentive Programs Requiring Certification
As the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) consumer labeling process for moves forward, the need for certification is becoming more pressing to qualify for incentives. With several recent new additions, 22 turbine models currently have pending applications for SWCC certification. Energy Trust of Oregon is leading the way in requiring certification for turbines to qualify for incentives beginning January 1, 2012. Download full release