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Solar Energy Codes and Standards

Jessica PirroAugust 1, 20195300

When it comes to getting a solar panel installation, there’s more to it than just looking into what solar panels you should get. There are Solar Energy Industries Association Codes & Standards Working Group, Solar Energy Industries Association monitors and participates in the developments of product standards as well as building codes on behalf of the solar power industry to create market-friendly, effective as well as efficient requirements, Solar Energy Industries Association routinely collaborates along with other stakeholders, which includes standards developers, code developers, firefighters and other organizations.

Building Codes

For the solar power industry to continue to rapidly grow, solar-friendly building and solar panel installation codes are very vital to the solar energy industry. The codes make sure that the solar panel installation is safe and the solar-powered systems are producing the maximum amount of solar energy that is possible for the solar panels.

The majority of United States related codes are developed by the International Code Council (ICC) through its public consensus process, after which they can be adopted, in full or potentially modified, by state regulatory bodies. The process of solar panels includes proposals and input put from various stakeholders, including the building code officials, product manufacturers, health and safety advocates, and the solar power industry representatives.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) also oversees a similar process for the National Electric Code. For the 2020 cycle, Solar Energy Industries Association, in leadership with a few other organizations, convenes several working groups to develop Public Input proposals to be submitted during this cycle’s triennial development process.

Beginning with the 2018 edition, Solar Energy Industries Association will contribute content and review to the International Solar Energy Provisions (ISEP) with Commentary, published by the ICC. This reference book assists building and inspection officials in the identification and the application of solar power-related provisions for use in the inspection of solar panel installation. The 2018 ISEP with Commentary with Solar Energy Industries Association’s logo in mid-2018.

Product Standards

In the solar power industry, the product standards serve to ensure the safety and reliability of all components of solar-powered systems. The product standards, plus conformity assessment procedures, ensuring all of the solar power products meet a minimum threshold of safety, performance, and reliability. The solar companies must abide by the solar panels product standards, to not only provide their customers with the best quality solar-powered systems as well as covering their backs making sure that their products are the most efficient as well as danger-free.

The Solar Energy Industries Association Codes & Standards Working Group and its members monitor relevant product standards. In the U.S., standardization activity is coordinated by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which accredits Standard Developing Organizations (SDOs) and Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs). Several accredited SDOs are developing product standards for the solar power industry, including UL and the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (ICC-SRCC/ICC-ES). Product standards are implemented either through federal, state regulation or building codes and/or municipal ordinances.

Solar Energy Industries Association Member Benefit: International Solar Energy Provisions (ISEP)

As brand partners, Solar Energy Industries Association and the International Code Council (ICC) are offering a complimentary PDF download code for the 2015 or 2018 version of the ISEP with Commentary. Members can purchase the 2015 version now or if interested in the 2018 version, this is going to be available in the late Spring / early Summer of 2018. The 2015 International Solar Energy Provisions (ISEP) and Commentary contain the complete solar energy provisions and referenced solar power standards from the 2015 International Codes as well as the NFPA 70:2014 NEC, National Electrical Code provisions related to solar energy in a single document. This publication is organized such that it provides the best and most comprehensives tool for the solar panels design, the solar panel installation and the administration of bother solar power thermal (or solar energy heating and cooling) and solar-powered systems.

Working Group Coordination

The Codes & Standards Working Group also convenes a Corrosion Protection Task Group, which is currently exploring subsurface, atmospheric and galvanic corrosion as well as corrosion inhibitors. The task group plans to develop and publish technical considerations for solar-powered systems equipment.

Similarly, the Codes & Standards Working Group provides input and guidance to the other Solar Energy Industries Association member forums such as the Quality Assurance Working Group, the Operations & Maintenance Working Group, and Solar Energy Industries Association division.

The Solar Energy Industries Association staff engages with other industry partners and national laboratories and entities to provide input as well as guidance into their specific work on behalf of the members. By making sure that solar panel installations follow all of the codes and standards from the beginning of the manufacturing of the solar panels to the solar panel installation, it ensures that the solar panel installation will be the best possible.

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