“Our colleagues in the allied industries are key players in ensuring safe, sustainable market growth, and in reducing solar costs that are ultimately passed along to energy consumers.”
Laure-Jeanne Davignon, IREC Vice President-Workforce Program
With no standardized permitting process in the country, and some 25,000 jurisdictions, improving the inspection and permitting process to incorporate solar and other clean energy technologies is a huge challenge. Although PV systems can be as straightforward as many of the electrical systems code officials review or inspect, the technology is advancing at lightning speed, with new related electrical codes, and constantly evolving best practices.
Keeping up is critical, as is improving the plan review process to help authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) complete a solar plan review as effectively and efficiently as other plans.
IREC’s Learning Online website features video-based interactive solar training targeted specifically for code officials, including a Solar Permitting Plan Review Course. It provides a practical process for consistent plan review, with an emphasis on how to catch the most frequent installation errors. Taught by a national expert in solar plan review, the course walks through the review of a complete permit plan application to ensure compliance with building, fire and electrical codes relevant to a particular jurisdiction. IAEI, International Code Council and NABCEP offer continuing education units.
IREC and industry partners IAEI (International Association of Electrical Inspectors) and the International Code Council’s Solar Rating & Certification Corporation (ICC-SRCC) developed the latest in-person and online solar training in 2016 for electrical inspectors, installers and designers. Funding for this initiative came from the U.S. Department of Energy.
“One of the things most valuable for a contractor is building confidence with an inspector so they feel you know and follow the applicable codes and standards.
Don Hughes, 20+ year code official with Santa Clara County, Calif.