Solar Builder

MAY-JUN 2018

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

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SOLARBUILDERMAG.COM | 17 IREC updates Guide to improve solar plan reviews, inspection process The independent Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) just updated its guide- lines to help local jurisdictions improve the solar plan review and field inspection process. The checklists, which can be tailored for local and state code requirements while meeting national best practices, can then be used by plan reviewers, inspectors and installers. Previously identified by code officials as a top five solar resource, IREC's expanded "Plan Review and Inspection Guidelines: Model Inspection Checklists for Rooftop PV" now includes solar specific code requirements updat- ed to the 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC) and the most current international building, residential and fire codes, as well as additional insight on safety and new technologies. "The more we can 'connect the dots' between solar installers and the local municipalities with whom they partner, the more effective and rou- tine solar inspections can become," said IREC Workforce Director Laure-Jeanne Davignon. "All parties involved will benefit from a solar permitting plan containing the right elements the first time, which is why we advise installers to ensure they know in advance what AHJs are looking for." Solar installers can save time and resources by using an updated inspection checklist, including to address concerns prior to inspection. One way to ensure this is to have both parties working from the same, or similar 'checklists' or guiding documents. AHJs can also help by being up front with installers about what would help contribute to the most efficient inspection. "In areas where solar has taken off, resources like these tend to be used more often," Davignon said. "For instance, there is a general trend in jurisdictions and/or states who have a high vol- ume of solar installations, like California and New York, toward a consistent permitting pro- cess, more uniformity between what municipali- ties require, and how they conduct inspections. Certainly, the more efficient an AHJ can be, the less barriers there will be for installers and ulti- mately consumers." Specific updates to the guidelines A main difference in this version is the addi- tion of what to look at when reviewing a plan prior to field inspection. Encouraging code officials to do a thorough plan review in the office can save time in the field and allow more choice to the field inspector. Also, the requirements referenced in the code have been updated to reflect the most current electrical and international build- ing codes. Finally, IREC tried to place requirements in a logical order according to how the most seasoned solar inspectors tell us they address the review process. NEWS IN THE

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