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Solar Permitting and Inspections

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Presentation on theme: "Solar Permitting and Inspections"— Presentation transcript:

1 Solar Permitting and Inspections
Photovoltaic Systems Solar Permitting and Inspections Building Codes and Regulations • Permitting • Inspection Arizona Solar Power Society

2 Product standards, installation codes, and code enforcement are separate but related functions that result in higher-quality and safer installations. Product safety standards, installation codes, and code enforcement are separate but related components of the electrical safety system. This system depends on a close working relationship among the organizations responsible for the development of product standards and installation codes and the electrical inspection community. All three components must be in place for the electrical safety system to be effective. See Figure 13-1.

3 The UL Listing Mark indicates if the product is listed for both the United States and Canada.
The UL Listing Mark is one of the most common UL marks. See Figure It signifies that UL has tested representative samples of the product in accordance with UL’s safety standards and that the manufacturer’s production facilities are routinely inspected by UL for compliance with the standards. Products may be listed to either Canadian or U.S. safety standards, or both. Canadian listing marks appear with a “C” on the left side of the mark, and U.S. listing marks appear with a “US” on the right side. The UL Listing Mark is accepted by the NEC® and the Canadian Electrical Code as evidence of approved equipment. The UL Listing Mark includes the UL symbol with the word “LISTED,” a control number, and a product name such as “Photovoltaic Module” or “Utility-Interactive Inverter.”

4 PV equipment may bear the marks of listing and certification organizations other than Underwriters Laboratories. The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is an OSHA-accredited NRTL that tests using similar processes and to the same industry standards as other NRTLs. The CSA also publishes the Canadian Electrical Code. CSA Marks are recognized and accepted throughout the United States by federal, state, and local authorities. A CSA Mark with the indicator “US” or “NRTL” means that the product is certified for the U.S. market to the applicable U.S. standards. See Figure 13-3.

5 Site drawings should be provided with permit applications indicating locations and providing descriptions of major components. A simple drawing of the site layout should indicate the locations of major PV system components including the array, inverter, and disconnects, and their relationships to electrical services, property lines, streets, and other features. See Figure A property survey or plot plan can be used as a starting point for marking the locations of PV equipment. Drawings prepared during the site survey and planning stages of the project may be used if they include all required information and the equipment locations are up to date.

6 Permit applications usually require either a one-line or a three-line electrical diagram. Additional electrical information may be included as a separate document. At a minimum, a PV permit application should include a one-line electrical diagram. See Figure Three-line electrical diagrams provide additional detail. These drawings should show all major system components and their interconnections with existing electrical equipment. The types, sizes, and ratings of the conductors, overcurrent protection devices, disconnects, and grounding equipment used throughout the PV system should also be provided on the diagrams or included with other permit submittals.

7 Specifications for PV modules, inverters, and other equipment are required for code calculations and compliance. Equipment specifications are available from the manufacturer’s equipment manuals, labels, or downloadable information sheets. The permit application should be accompanied by either a comprehensive list of equipment specifications or a collection of product literature. See Figure Summarized and key equipment specifications may also be included on the electrical diagrams in addition to the full set of specifications.

8 Descriptions and drawings of the array mounting design and materials are used to analyze the structural integrity of the structure and the array. Most permit applications for PV systems require descriptions and/or drawings of the array mounting design and materials to ensure that the roof or structure can support the additional weight of the PV array and that the array will be well secured. See Figure Roof information includes the age, composition, covering, pitch, and the size and spacing of structural members. Array information includes details about weight, attachment points, and weather sealing. Some AHJs require complete engineering reviews to verify that the structure and the attachment points have sufficient strength for the expected loads, particularly for large installations, unusual mounting schemes, or regions with high winds.

9 Building permits include information about the construction project and inspections, and must be posted in a conspicuous location on the job site. When the permit application is complete, the fees are paid, and the plans review (including any amendments to the design) is complete, the permit is issued. The permit may be in the form of a separate document, sometimes a brightly colored card, or may simply be a signed copy of the permit application form. See Figure The permit will often include information about each required inspection, such as the timing, sequencing, and elements covered, and a place for the inspector’s signature. The permit must then be posted in a conspicuous location on the job site premises for the duration of the project.

10 Quality workmanship results in a neat and efficient electrical installation.
The NEC® requires electrical equipment to be installed in a “neat and workmanlike manner.” The installation should include structurally adequate supports, plumb and level mountings, proper conduit bends, and other quality matters not otherwise covered by NEC® safety requirements. See Figure Since AHJs may interpret this requirement differently, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and industry partners publish standards to help define performance and workmanship expectations for electrical construction. One example is ANSI/NECA 1, Standard Practice of Good Workmanship in Electrical Contracting. These standards are often referenced in contract documents to establish installation quality expected by engineers, contractors, and customers.

11 Dedicated space is the clear space reserved around electrical equipment for the existing equipment and potential future additions. Dedicated space is the clear space reserved around electrical equipment for the existing equipment and potential future additions. For indoor installations, dedicated space for electrical equipment must be equal to the width and depth of the equipment and must extend from the floor to a height of 6′ above the equipment or to the structural ceiling, whichever is lower. No piping, ductwork, or other equipment not related to the electrical installation shall be located in this space. See Figure

12 Working space is the clear space reserved around electrical equipment so that workers can install, inspect, operate, and maintain the equipment safely and efficiently. For less than 150 V, the clear working space must be at least 3¢ deep. For equipment operating between 151 V and 600 V, 3¢ of depth is required if exposed live parts are on only one side, 3.5¢ of depth is required if grounded parts are located on the opposite side of the space, and 4¢ of depth is required if live parts exist on both sides of the space. See Figure With special permission from the AHJ, smaller working spaces may be permitted for equipment operating at no greater than 30 VAC or 60 VDC. This provision may apply, for example, to small stand-alone PV lighting systems with 12 VDC or 24 VDC loads. When equipment is not permitted to be serviced in an energized state, these requirements may not apply.

13 Rubber or plastic terminal covers are used to prevent shorts across battery terminals during maintenance. Battery terminals are exposed live parts that must be adequately protected to prevent accidental contact. This protection includes battery or terminal covers, or installing batteries in enclosures. See Figure

14 PV module labels must include terminal polarity information and ratings for voltage, current, and power. Module labels must include the terminal polarity, the maximum overcurrent protection device rating, and six module performance parameters: open-circuit voltage, maximum power (operating) voltage, maximum system voltage, maximum power (operating) current, short-circuit current, and maximum power. See Figure Additional, but not required, information may include allowable conductor types and sizes, temperature ratings, and terminal torque specifications.

15 A label indicating the operating current, operating voltage, maximum system voltage, and short-circuit current must be displayed at the DC disconnect of a PV array. The array (DC) disconnect must be clearly identified on a permanent and easily visible label. Since the array is a power source, its operating parameters must also be included on the disconnect labeling. The label must include the maximum power (operating) current, maximum power (operating) voltage, maximum system voltage, short-circuit current, and rated output for charge controllers (if installed). See Figure

16 Labels identifying the PV system as a power source and including its maximum output operating current must be posted at the AC disconnect of a PV system. AC disconnects must be clearly identified and include critical circuit information. A visible label must include the maximum AC output current and the operating AC voltage. See Figure This information is obtained from inverter specifications.

17 PV systems with batteries must have labels indicating the battery maximum operating voltage, equalization voltage, and polarity of the grounded circuit conductor. For PV systems with batteries or other forms of energy storage, system labels must indicate the maximum operating voltage, equalization voltage (if applicable), and the polarity of the grounded circuit conductor (typically the negative conductor). Additional information such as the nominal voltage or capacity may be included on this label. See Figure Additional warning labels about chemical safety are recommended.

18 Single 120 V supply panelboards must be marked to prohibit connection of multiwire or 240 V branch circuit loads. Stand-alone inverters with 120 V output are permitted to supply 120/240 V distribution panels, but no 240 V loads or multiwire branch circuits may be connected. The panelboard must be marked with the following label or equivalent: “WARNING—SINGLE 120-VOLT SUPPLY. DO NOT CONNECT MULTIWIRE BRANCH CIRCUITS.” See Figure

19 Maintenance or operation labels are recommended for detailing nominal equipment settings and adjustment procedures. Additional recommended labels include operating, maintenance, or extra safety information. See Figure Examples include charge controller and inverter setpoints and maintenance schedules, and the name and contact information of the system installer.


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