Small Wind Turbine Field Testing Options

SWCC review utilizes two data streams en route to certification: structural analysis and field-testing results. Field testing takes by far the longest time to complete as testing must be performed in “free air.” Consequently, SWCC makes several field testing options available to expedite the process for applicants.

SWCC applicants may choose to use an accredited or non-accredited laboratory, or to conduct the testing themselves. Accredited testing organizations include the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO, and a handful of other labs in Canada, United Kingdom, and Germany. Non-accredited organizations undergo SWCC evaluation and approval and include the NREL Regional Test Centers (in KS, NY, TX, UT) as well as several organizations across North America.

Some testing organizations are accredited to ISO/IEC Standard 17025 to perform power performance, duration and acoustic testing to recognized standards and some are not. Test reports from accredited organizations, such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), require the minimum level of scrutiny from SWCC. Test reports from non-accredited organizations require a higher level of scrutiny to independently verify the test setup complies with the standard, the competence of the organization, and the quality of the test reports. SWCC will audit all non-accredited test organizations.

Non-accredited testing organizations or self-testing requires signing a testing agreement with the SWCC, agreeing to the test plans and SWCC test site evaluation. All testing must comply with the AWEA Standard and SWCC Policies. All testing costs are the responsibility of the certification applicant.

Details about field testing requirements are provided in the SWCC Certification Policy. You can also download a list of potential test organizations that intend to test small wind turbines for the North American market.