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Solar ABCs for Solar PV Installers

Posted by:
July 23, 2012
Rebekah Hren - PV Curriculum Developer & InstructorI readily admit I’m a code geek, there’s really no use arguing the point that I’m happiest when discussing minutaie of the National Electrical Code as it relates to photovoltaic systems. So it follows that one of my favorite organizations is the Solar America Board for Codes and Standards. There is such a wealth of free information on the web site that I’m surprised when PV system designers and installers don’t yet know about it. I have no affiliation with Solar ABCs,  but I’m a big supporter of their mission, which is to create a collaborative group working to remove barriers to adopting solar technology by centralizing development of building codes, product standards, and interconnection procedures.

Ok, yes, that does sound a little dry, but it really isn’t! Anyone who has tried to make their way through planning and zoning paperwork in a jurisdiction with no previous PV systems, or applied to get a system on the grid with a small utilty with no interconnection procedures should be able to appreciate why a little standardization is a great thing. There isn’t any reason to recreate the wheel in every jurisdiction in America, but without sharing information and easy access to good examples, that is how the process would go. And complying with codes doesn’t need to be a guessing game, there are best practices, investigations, and reports available that help installers and inspectors make wise decisions.

The latest free report from Solar ABCs, “Grounding PV Modules, Issues and Recommendations,” gets to the heart of what could be the most controversial subject in PV. From expediting permits to investigating ground-faults, I use their publications constantly, and rely on them when interacting with contractors, students, and AHJs (inspectors).

You can also follow the proposals and comments for the 2014 National Electrical Code changes on the site as well. Or if you are unhappy with the way the Code is written, Solar ABCs can help you can engage in the process to change it. The Department of Energy funds SolarABCs – yes, they make some good funding decisions too.

Rebekah Hren
PV Curriculum Developer & Instructor

NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installer™ 091209-85
IREC ISPQ Certified Affiliated Instructor/PV US-0087
Solar Energy International

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