What’s the difference between testing and certification?
When a manufacturer gets a product tested by a test laboratory, it’s a one-time activity. The test lab will test samples of the product and check that they conform to the requirements of a standard or other specification. When it is completed, the manufacturer receives a test report that indicates whether the product complied with the requirements - at the time the testing was done. Having a product evaluated by a Certification Body (CB) goes much further. It involves evaluation of both the product itself AND the production (manufacturing) process to the requirements of a Certification Scheme. Certification Schemes are based on regional, national or international standards together with any other criteria deemed necessary by the scheme owner. Many times, the CB will utilize results of third-party testing by an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory as part of the product evaluation. For example, SRCC manages a Certification Scheme for solar water thermal collectors used in North America. It is based in part on the ANSI standard ICC 901/SRCC 100, which is required by building codes. Collectors must be tested by an approved ISO 17025 accredited lab as specified in the ICC 901/SRCC 100 standard. SRCC uses the test report as part of its evaluation of the product. Under the OG-100 certification scheme, SRCC also determines performance ratings of the collectors. If the the product evaluation is completed successfully, the ongoing factory evaluation includes an audit of the quality management system (QMS). This ensures that the products that are manufactured and sold can be produced to the same, consistent quality level and performance as the tested product, time after time. The QMS is re-evaluated annually by SRCC to ensure continued compliance with the requirements of the OG-100 certification scheme. Successful applicants for certification are usually granted a Certificate of Conformity and the right to use of a Certification Mark to apply to the product. The Certification Mark allows manufacturers to demonstrate that their product continues to meet the quality and safety standards required by the scheme. The differences are summarized below. Test Laboratory
- Tests product only
- Tests for conformity with any requirements, which could be the manufacturer’s own specification, product standard or other
- Issues a test report
- One-off process, no follow-up.
- Any subsequent changes to the product are not covered
- Accreditation to ISO 17025 for Testing Laboratories
- Evaluates both the product and production process
- Tests for compliance with the requirements outlined in a Certification Scheme which is based on national, regional or international standards, together with any other requirements deemed necessary by the Scheme Owner
- If successful, issues a Certificate of Conformity and grants permission to use a Certification Mark
- Ongoing process to demonstrate continued conformity with the scheme’s requirements
- Accreditation to ISO 17065 for Certification Bodies
Does ICC-SWCC test wind turbines?
ICC-SWCC does not conduct tests, but verifies and certifies test results submitted by approved testing organizations. Applicants should obtain ICC-SWCC approval for the use of a testing facility before commencing work to ensure that the resulting test report can be used for ICC-SWCC certification.
Does ICC-SWCC develop the standards used for its wind turbine certifications?
No, ICC-SWCC is not a Standard Development Organization (SDO). The AWEA 9.1 standard used for small wind turbines is developed by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) under their ANSI-approved standard development procedures. The IEC 61400 standards used for medium wind turbines are developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) under Technical Committee TC 88. Through active ongoing participation in technical committees for the AWEA Standard, and the IEC Standards, ICC-SWCC is playing a key role in helping to update and achieve international harmonization of standards, testing and certification. ICC-SWCC is working diligently with other wind certification programs in Europe, Asia and North America to minimize the differences between country-specific requirements in order to address a well-recognized market barrier.
What is the difference between the AWEA Rated Power and a Nominal Power listing for a certified turbine?
Small wind turbines certified to the AWEA 9.1 Standard are required to publish the AWEA Rated Power in their specifications. This rating is the wind turbine’s power output at 11 m/s (24.6 mph) per its certified power curve. Manufacturers may still describe or name their turbine using Nominal Power. Nominal Power is designated by the manufacturer for descriptive marketing purposes.
What happens to a turbine certification if the manufacturer goes out of business?
Wind turbine certifications are valid so long as the certification renewal conditions listed in the ICC-SWCC certification policies are met. Certification must be renewed annually. Therefore, if the manufacturer goes out of business, the certification would not be renewed upon expiration and the certification would be withdrawn. Alternately, if the manufacturer is purchased by another organization, the certification can be transfer to the new owner (provided no changes are made to the design).
What sized turbines are eligible for ICC-SWCC’s small and medium wind certification programs?
Small Wind Turbine: Electricity-producing wind turbines with a swept area up to 200 m2 are certified to the AWEA 9.1 standard. Medium Wind Turbine: Electricity-producing wind turbines with a swept area greater than 200 m2 and less than 1,000 m2 are certified to the IEC 61400 standards.