Small Wind Guidebook/Things to Consider When Purchasing a Small Wind Turbine

From Open Energy Information


How Do I Find a Certified Small Wind Turbine?

To justify your investment in a small wind turbine, you will want assurances that your turbine model has been evaluated for safety, performance, and functionality.[1] The following resources will help you.

Photo from Chris Brooks, NREL 16743

  • The Small Wind Certification Council provides independent, accredited certification of small wind turbines and consumer information, and you should familiarize yourself with this material.
  • The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) National Wind Technology Center provides information about NREL's small wind turbine testing and development. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NREL have selected four partners (Intertek Testing Services NA, Inc. in New York, Kansas State University, The Alternative Energy Institute at West Texas A&M University, and Windward Engineering, LLC in Utah) to establish small wind Regional Test Centers to conduct tests on small wind turbines to meet national and international standards. Reports from these Regional Test Centers are available for consumers.
  • The Interstate Turbine Advisory Council (ITAC) compiles a national unified list of small and mid-size wind turbines eligible for incentive funding from ITAC state and utility member programs. In addition to requiring certification for small wind turbines, ITAC reviews manufacturers’ consumer and dealer services, marketing consistency with third-party testing, turbine operational history, turbine warranty, and manufacturers’ response to technical problems, failures, and customer complaints. As a collaborative and common inventory of turbines, the unified list assures customers that tax- or rate-payer funding fully supports the installation of reliable and safe technology as well as enables improvements in program consistency, transparency, and benefits.[2]

Research small wind turbine companies to be sure they offer certified turbines and that parts and service will be available when you need them. Ask for references from past customers with installations similar to the one you are considering. Ask the system owners about performance, reliability, and maintenance and repair requirements, and whether the system is meeting their expectations. Also, find out how long the warranty lasts and what it includes.


  1.  "U.S. Department of Energy. Memorandum Re. Quality Assurance through Wind Turbine Certification Requirements. April 11, 2014."
  2.  "U.S. Department of Energy. 2012 Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications"