CONSUMER FAQs

FAQs | APPLICANT FAQs

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
Certification Body
  • 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
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  Notice 2015-4 requires that small and medium wind turbines, with a nameplate capacity of 100 kW and less, be certified in order to qualify for the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), currently set at 26%.  The guidance requires that qualifying wind turbine manufacturers maintain certification to either:

(1) American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard 9.1-2009; or

(2) International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61400-1, 61400-12, and 61400-11.

According to the IRS Notice, 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. ICC-SWCC certifications help manufacturers meet these requirements. An April 2014 memorandum from the 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. 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). Disclaimer: All opinions and other postings, are offered for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. You should consult directly with an attorney or accountant for individual advice regarding your particular situation.
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.
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).
Small wind turbines certified to the AWEA 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.