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Orkney turbine is top of the class

5 Jul 11 A wind turbine built to cope with the worst of Scotland's weather has been awarded the highest level of accreditation for the Government's green energy payments scheme after months of testing in Orkney.

The Eoltec Scirocco (corr), co-developed by Kirkwall company Bryan J Rendall Electrical (BJRE), is the first wind generator of its kind to meet Class 1 standards under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.

This means it is rated to withstand the extreme wind speeds experienced in exposed areas such as the north and west of Scotland.

The Scirocco is now the only Class 1 turbine eligible for Feed in Tariff (FiTs) payments.

It is also officially recognised as Britain's top performing small-scale wind turbine, after achieving the best performance results in its class.

The FiTs payments encourage householders, small businesses and community groups to invest in the technology needed to generate their own renewable energy - they receive 28p for every unit of electricity produced by a wind turbine.

The 6 kilowatt (kW) Scirocco has been certified as generating more than 10 per cent more electricity than its nearest rival.

"This is according to a true and independent measure of how much energy the turbine will produce each year," said BJRE's founder, Bryan Rendall.

"The Scirocco could produce up to 2,500 more units of electricity in 12 months than other

similar sized turbines in a high wind speed area like Orkney.

"Over the 20 year projected life span of the turbine, that could amount to 14,000 (pounds) in additional revenue.

"This shows why the Scirocco is the most popular in Orkney, with over 100 installed so far.

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"It is designed to be 'island proof' - capable of performing well in severe weather conditions - and we're delighted that this is now recognised in the awarding of this prestigious accreditation."

Mr Rendall said the certification process had been extremely challenging, and at times very frustrating. 

"We have achieved a Class 1 rating on what is effectively a shoe string budget," he said. "Other manufacturers have had multi millions of pounds in financial help and investment to carry out this testing.

"We have done it virtually all in house, with only 14,000 (pounds) of much appreciated funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

"But despite a comparatively minuscule budget, we have managed to bring to market a product with the highest class rating - that is also the highest certified power producer in its class."

The company had to stop marketing and selling the turbine until the certification was in place - just when the new FiTs payments created a big demand for small scale wind technology.

BJRE marking manager Tracey Jackson said: "This effectively cut off the supply to the market, at a time when sales and revenues were most important, and has been a particularly difficult to overcome. 

"With the market hugely stimulated, the certification process put an effective blockage on the supply chain. 

"This left us and our customers very frustrated.  However, that logjam is now unblocked, and all

the customers who have been very patient in this process will be able to take advantage of technology that will produce at least 10 per cent more energy for them."

* The standards the turbine meets were set by the International Electrotechnical Commission, the world's leading assessment body for electronic technology.

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